As many of my fellow expats and I are gearing up for Halloween here in Japan, Japan’s native season of ghosts, ghouls, and things that go bump in the night is in late summer, around Obon.
At the risk of oversimplifying it, Obon is the time of year when the dead return to the earth; many Japanese return to their family homes to clean the family graves and visit their relatives. This is also considered to be prime season for ghost stories and haunted houses at school festivals, but what about a haunted train?
Every August since 2007, the Randen (嵐電), Keifuku’s (京福） electric tram line in Kyoto hosts the Randen Yôkai Train (嵐電 妖怪電車) on the Arashiyama Line (嵐山線) that runs from Arashiyama（嵐山), home of a famous bamboo forest, to Shijo-omiya (四条大宮). For 200 yen for adults and 100 for children, passengers can make the terrifying 20-minute ride between the two terminal stations escorted by a host of obakemono (お化けもの), Japanese monsters and apparitions, on the last two weekends in August.
To read more about the Yôkai Train, check out the article “Summer Night Horror – Japan’s Creepy Yokai Monster Train” on Oddity Central, which includes a video. If this isn’t enough for you, see the video below for photos of the 2011 Randen Yôkai Train.