Japan Opens a Drive-In Haunted House to Keep Social Distancing

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One of Tokyo’s newest attractions is battling the summer heat and COVID-19 through a haunted house drive-in.

Kowagarasetai, a haunted house and horror event production company, created the drive-in as a response to the ongoing COVID-19 safety and social distancing measures.

Japan holds a long-standing custom where summer is thought to be the season of “kaidan” or ghost stories. Magazines, broadcast stations and horror movies shift gears to tell stories and “cool off with spine-tingling tales,” according to Kokugakuin University.

As the company’s motto states, “Create a horrifying event, a horrible mansion in any space,and that is exactly what they did.

According to SoraNews24, it’s located in a garage in the Higashi Azabu district, with each session measuring around 20 minutes.

In keeping with the drive-in’s haunted background, Kowagarasetai states This is a garage where a horrible incident occurred long ago. Now people say that if you park your car inside and honk your horn three times, something will happen.”

Guests must stay in their cars to prevent viral spread in regards to the pandemic and the threat of zombie infection. Ghosts, ghouls, and variations of the undead are ready to bombard its windows, and if permitted, to repaint its exterior.

According to AFP via Straits Times, producer Kenta Iwana explained that the experience may be even more horrifying than the usual, due to the lack of movement and confinement into the car: “so they can’t escape the horror until the end.”

The idea for the summer attraction happened after Kowagarasetai’s traditional haunted house experiences were canceled one after the other due to COVID-19 fears, and they lost about 80% of their current clients. Japan adopted a “three Cs” outlook to combat the spread of the virus, calling for citizens to avoid “closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings.”

The addition to the horror world was met with mass popularity, having sold out tickets within the same day the attraction was announced last Friday.

— 株式会社怖がらせ隊@お化け屋敷制作 Japanese haunted house company (@kowagarasetai) June 19, 2020

It costs 8,000 yen (about $75) for one car, including everyone inside. For guests who want to borrow a car for the experience, they will be charged 1,000 yen (about $9) per car, which will be meticulously sanitized between each new session.  Reservations can be made on their website, and the event is slated to run on July 4 and July 5.

Compared to Tokyo Disneyland’s guidelines asking guests to not scream within the park grounds, guests at the Kowagarasetai drive-in are encouraged to scream their hearts out and let loose in the comforts of their own cars or in a borrowed one.

Feature Images via @kowagarasetai

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