You’re it!

It’s once again summer in Japan, which is when people’s thoughts turn to ghouls and ghosts as a way to stay cool. I never quite felt especially cooler myself, but it’s still a good excuse to get a Halloween season that lasts around three months, so I’m not complaining.

Summer is also a particularly good time to check out haunted house attractions across the country and one of the leading purveyors in the country is Obaken, a studio responsible for some novel horror events like a zombie camp and entire haunted hotel. This time they’ve set up shop in the Osaka suburb of Higashiosaka and will fill an entire rugby stadium with horror for three days only.

The Hanazono Nightmare Hide and Seek (Hanazono Akumu no Kakurenbo) takes place in what’s often considered the most prestigious rugby stadium in the country and turns it into a blood-soaked playground for a game of hide and seek. The premise as described by Obaken is as follows:

“One restless summer day, you have a nightmare.
An empty locker room, empty shops, empty rows of seats…
What kind of stadium is this?
You wander around until you reach the field and see other people gathering.
‘These people have also wandered into the stadium…’
Just as you think that the large stadium screen turns on and a strange image appears.
‘Welcome to the nightmare. Let’s play for our lives.’
At that moment the entire stadium fills with something terrifying…”

From that point, it appears to become a free-for-all in which you and up to 79 other people in attendance have to evade waves of monsters while advancing to the exit. As the name suggests, hiding will be a key element of this adventure and participants must collect a series of keywords as well as a stamp in order to advance to the next section of the stadium.

They will also be wearing a “Life Taskui” which is a sash representing their lives. If their sash is broken then their life has been snuffed out and the game is over.

Each of the three sections is inhabited by a different kind of assailant. This first round pits people against a knife-wielding killer demon.

▼ Psycho killer? Qu’est-ce que c’est?

Those who survive will move on to the zombie-infested second stage.

▼ They never really mention how many of these opponents you’ll have to face at a time, but is there ever only a single zombie?

The final section will pit the few remaining humans against the devil woman.

▼ I have to say, devil woman is a refreshing change from the faceless long-hair woman we always see.

All participants will get a free sticker and anyone who makes it past all the stages will earn the title of “survivor” and also be given a free “special novelty” souvenir by the organizers. I personally have a debilitating fear of both monsters and sporting venues…but I am a sucker for novelty goods!

If you’re like me, you’ll probably want to check out Hanazono Nightmare Hide and Seek when it arrives at Hanazono Rugby Stadium on 12, 13, and 14 August. Adult admission is 3,670 yen ($25.50) in advance and 4,300 yen ($30) at the door and those who die can buy a same-day revenge ticket for only 2,500 yen ($17) if there’s space available.

Event information
Hanazono Nightmare Hide and Seek / 花園悪夢のかくれんぼ
Address: Higashiosaka Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka-fu, Higashiosaka-shi, Matsubaraminami 1-1-1
東大阪市花園ラグビー場 大阪府東大阪市松原南1丁目1-1
Dates: 12, 13, 14 August, 2023
Times: 2 p.m. / 3:30 p.m. / 5:00 p.m. / 6:30 p.m. / 8 p.m. (Each session is about 60 minutes if you survive)
Capacity: 80 people per session

Source, images: PR Times
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