Japan’s most terrifying ghouls, monsters and demons come out to frighten the public on a street believed to border the spirit world.

There’s a rich custom of folklore and storytelling relating to “yokai” in Japan. These quintessentially Japanese ghosts, spirits, and demons appear in tales that have been sending shivers up the spines of locals for centuries, and in one area of Kyoto they’re believed to be so common a parade is held every year to stop them from wreaking havoc on the town.


Called Hyakki Yagyo, or “Night Parade of 100 Demons“, this festival takes place in northern Kyoto at the Taishogun Shopping Street, which is also known as “Ichijo Yokai Street”. The street is so-called as it’s believed to be the boundary line between the human world and the spirit world, and legend has it that a Hyakki Yagyo with real yokai occurred here during the Heian Period (794-1185), when residents abandoned old antiques on the side of the road after a big cleanup. 

It’s said that these old antiques were angry at their humans for abandoning them, transforming into yokai spirits to seek revenge on people in the middle of the night.

Now, the Hyakki Yagyo is recreated every year on the third Saturday of October, making it perfectly timed for the Halloween season. And while it’s not officially a Halloween event, it has all the ghouls, ghosts, and devils you’d expect to see at this time of the year, only with next-level costumes and characters that bring the original 100 yokai back to life..

▼ These yokai all make an appearance at the parade.

This year’s parade drew crowds of tourists to the area when it was held on Saturday, and this video, filmed by Twitter user @kahiya, went viral following the event.

The clip above shows some of the best characters from the parade, including shapeshifting animals like frogs, foxes and cats.


▼ There were also skeletons…

▼ She-Devils…

▼ And long-necked demons that stood out above the crowd…

▼ The yokai parade looked eerie as it passed by in the shadows.

The characters moved with such unique gaits that videos of the event made it look like they really had crossed over from the spirit world.


However, behind the masks are actually students from Saga Art College, who create the costumes and promote yokai events like these in the area.


There were a number of comments from spectators saying the yokai looked so real that children could be seen crying in fear at the event. Not all children were afraid of the monsters, though, as one child was brave enough to pose for a happy snap with a kappa.

▼ Doesn’t this child know that kappa love to suck the souls of humans out of their anuses?


The horde of supernatural creatures returned from where they came at the end of the evening, and hopefully their night out on the town keeps them satisfied for the rest of the year until their next scheduled appearance on 17 October 2020.

Until then, we’ll be catching up with their ghoulish brethren on Kyoto’s Yokai Train during Obon, Japan’s traditional holiday dedicated to the spirit world. And we’ll be keeping an eye out for them at Shibuya during Halloween, to make sure they behave themselves and stay sober to avoid the chaos that occurred there last year.

Festival Information
Hyakki Yagyo / 百鬼夜行
Address: Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Kamigyo-ku, Ichijo Street
Times: Annually on the third Saturday of October, from 6-7 p.m.

Source: Hachima Kikou
Featured image: Twitter/@kahiya
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