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Tokyo Ghost Story

Written by Sei Mou. Published on December 5, 2011.

I wouldn’t know whether urban ghost hunting should be part of urban exploration, surely many people would be doubtful about the existence of ghosts from the start. Couple days ago, purely by chance, we ran into a group of Tokyo ghost hunters. Never would miss any chance of interesting exploration, we joined and shared the story of the day.

Oiwa-Inari Tamiya Shrine

Oiwa-Inari Tamiya Shrine.

The Oiwa Ghost Story

Time is back in Edo period and place was Yotsuya (where we are standing right now). By then there was a lovely couple lived a moderate life. The wife, Oiwa was as gentile as a Japanese wife should be and loved her husband very much, despite his lack of money and fame. And She was happily expecting a baby. The husband Iemon, however, was more of an ambitious creature. He was not satisfied at all with what he has. As a cliché to all love stories, there was another woman. The third woman Oume, who was much younger and richer, fell in love desperately with Iemon. Iemon, having discovered the possibility of a wealthy and successful life, made up his mind quietly.

Oiwa-Inari Tamiya Shrine

Oiwa-Inari Tamiya Shrine.

Currently we are turning into a small road, the story is getting into its main part, and there was cat crying not far away. “Be careful”, the story teller said, ”the ghost of the story always cry like a cat”. The story then went on. Iemon had thought of a cunning plan; he slowly poisoned his wife, thus to free himself for the union with Oume. It took a painfully long time and in the end he had to push her down a cliff because the poison did not work as planned. But he got rid of her determinedly, then it came the night before his wedding with Oume. Now we are in front of our destination, the Oiwa-Inari Tamiya Shrine, built for calming Oiwa’s ghost. So what exactly happened?

Oiwa-Inari Tamiya Shrine

Oiwa-Inari Tamiya Shrine.

Iemon must have been enjoying his victory when he saw the lamp in his room dimming. He went closer to have a look, but the lamp started to transform, turning into the ugly twisted face of Oiwa before she died. Frightened and annoyed, he took his sword and swung at the Oiwa. The face disappeared instantly, left only the lamp on the floor.  Now the hunters are listening more carefully, stepping into the small shrine dedicated to Oiwa. The story is reaching its climax.

Ghost Story - Kuniyoshi Oiwa

Kuniyoshi Oiwa.

Ghost Story - Oiwa Hokusai

Oiwa Hokusai.

After a good night sleep, Iemon has decided to forget about the illusion he saw last night and enjoy his great success. Everything went fine until the minute when he left the veil of Oume, it was Oiwa’s face instead. Scared and furious, he reacted with his sword again and cut off Oiwa’s head. But when the head landed, it was Oume instead. Iemon ran out of the room, trying to find a hiding place. But the laughter of Oiwa followed wherever he goes. He turned and swung his sword desperately, trying to get rid of Oiwa, only to found Oume’s grandfather dead under his sword.

Ghost Story - Oiwa Temple

The Oiwa Temple, in the most haunted street in Tokyo.

Chased violently by Oiwa, Iemon ended on the very same cliff where he pushed Oiwa to her death. People said they saw a woman pushing Iemon down the cliff, and jumped off afterwards with a creepy laughter all the way.

Ghost Story - Defaced Fox

A defaced fox in Oiwa Temple. Coincidence?

Ghost Story - Oiwa Article

Article about Oiwa.

Haunted Tokyo Tours

The Oiwa story thus ended but our Haunted Tokyo Tour has just begun. The leader of this tour, Lilly, is leading us to other haunted destinations now. Each of them has a shocking story behind.

Ghost Story - Oiwa Temple II

Front of Oiwa Temple.

As we walk along, we found another spot built to calm Oiwa’s spirit. Suppose she was really bothering the whole neighborhood of Yotsuya. Many protective charms were pasted to the wall. Let us hope Oiwa has got her peace finally and will not jump out to chase us today.

Ghost Story - Oiwa

Oiwa! Calm down!

Ghost Story - Haunted Tokyo Tour

The Haunted Tokyo Tour!

Not only ghosts, aliens are also part of the haunted Tokyo tour. In the picture below you are looking at a piece of meteorite. It was displayed in a shop together with many other weird collective objects. This shop is actually part of a sect aiming to contact aliens. The owner, apparently has experiences in talking to ex-terrestrials, is now sitting quietly in the shop with a sign of his sect on the neck, trying to sell us small pieces of meteorite.

Ghost Story - Meteorite

A meteorite for sale, for a few billions yens.

Going around in the most haunted area, you are sure to expect some abandoned places. And indeed we past couple haikyo houses on the way. The leader of the tour has known Tokyo through out during the 30 years of her residence, and impressed us with all sorts of curious places non-stop. The abandoned house shown in the following picture was well hidden under the ivy leaves. We took a peek inside through the glass door, and snapped a shot.

Ghost Story - Abandoned House

An abandoned shop somewhere in Shinjuku.

And here we are, at our final destination. The Tokyo Freak Show見せ物小屋! It is an event with a very long history, and this is the last one they will ever have. It seems to be run by a family of freaks. Judging from the old pictures of the show, the owner seems to have been a sexy girl in the past, doing a lot of weird stuff. One of her daughter ate a snake in front of us, and spit the rest of it at the audience. The other one put some string in her noise, got it back from her mouth, and then left a box with it. It seems it was hurting her like hell… but she did it anyways.

Ghost Tour - The Tokyo Freak Show

The Tokyo Freak Show!

Ghost Story - Tokyo Freak Show

Tokyo Freak Show.

It seems that in the past the show was even crazier. They used to show real freaks, some kind of “elephant man” I guess. Wohoo, after such an evening we felt like we are seeing ghosts everywhere, Tokyo started to look so different all at once!

Ghost Story - Electric Transformer

Tokyo's electric transformers are somewhat odd.

If you happen to be in Tokyo sometimes, you should give it a try. The tour is 3000Y / person and it’s really a fun experience. You can get more information on the Haunted Tokyo Tours website. We’ll join again, apparently they sometimes have ceremonies in Aoyama cemetery to communicate with the spirits…

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