Halloween is a purely commercial holiday these days in America with costumes, decorations, etc. filling the shelves in stores just after Labor Day weekend, if not earlier. In a country that is renowned for its love of cosplay, Halloween has found a permanent home in Japan as well. There are events and parades held throughout the country and the most elaborate and famous of these is the Kawasaki Halloween Parade. (http://lacittadella.co.jp/)
Kawasaki City located in the Kanagawa Prefecture, between Tokyo and Yokohama is the 9th most populated city in Japan. On Halloween or just a few days preceding it, over 100,000 spectators along with over 3,000 participants descend on the city to stage a parade along a 1 mile route in the vicinity of JR Kawasaki Station and the nearby La Citadella shopping center. The parade route is flanked by food stalls as with any other “matsuri” in Japan as well as shops decorated with the Halloween theme catering to both tourists and locals. In addition to the parade, La Citadella offers a two week long celebration of Halloween with a series of events!
The annual parade began in Kawasaki 18 years ago and draws hardcore cosplayers and lovers of Halloween of all ages. The creativity of the participants is truly amazing. You will find everything from famous movie themed costumes like Pinhead from Hellraiser and Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street to classic Japanese horror characters like Sadako from the Ring series. There are also funny costumes like a lady dressed as a hamburger and a couple who joined the parade as a pair of Glico snacks. People even dress up their pets!
The event runs from 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM and is free to enter. If you love Halloween you must make a point of seeing it celebrated in Japan. The participants really give it their all and a good time is guaranteed to be had by everyone!