If You Visit Kyoto In October, Check Out This Spooky Parade

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While Halloween in Shibuya might get lots of attention because of the massive crowds (and chaos), Kyoto has an annual yokai parade that sure looks like spooky fun.

The parade, which was held this year on October 19, is called Ichijo Hyakki Yakou (Ichijo’s Night Parade of the Hundred Yokai). The street Ichijodori, one of the biggest in Kyoto, was said to separate the real world from the spirit one.

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Tales of yokai night parades date back over a thousand years. During the Heian Era (794-1185), samurai carried charms to avoid crossing paths with the yokai.

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There are various legends about Hyakki Yakou and there are other yokai parades held in Japan. However, in Kyoto, the story goes that unwanted household items were dumped in the vicinity. These household items got angry, and a deity turned them into yokai to seek their vengeance. The yokai then marched down the street, and the event is recreated in this annual parade in the Ichijodori’s Taishogun shopping section, which is now known as Yokai Street.

While the story of Hyakki Yakou dates back to at least the 9th century, the current parade has been revitalized since 2005.

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Throughout the year, the street is decorated with yokai.

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This certainly seems more enjoyable than the Halloween chaos in Shibuya!

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About the author

Brian Ashcraft

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored five books, including most recently, Japanese Whisky: The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Desirable Spirit.