Tucked away in the quiet suburb of Musashino on the west side of Tokyo is a tiny bar where ghosts can feel right at home.
Japan is a nation with a rich body of folklore and mythology, especially when it comes to stories about things that go bump in the night. Even Japanese horror movies are renowned for their subtle eeriness and elaborate psychological horror, as opposed to the more immediate scares and gore of most horror flicks in the West. But there’s nothing subtle about Yurei Izakaya, a little bar in Kichijoji that boasts an elaborately decorated interior made up of skulls, skeletons, and even agony-filled faces of the damned adorning the walls.
The bar is named for ghosts known as yurei, and its decor, menu, and staff blend Japanese folklore with plenty of haunted house kitsch. The food and drinks are made to look like bloody eyeballs, impaled bodies, and various yokai (mythological monsters). Most reviewers rate their meals—which are standard izakaya fare—as average, so those looking for a taste experience beyond the morbid presentation should temper their expectations.
The highlight of visiting Yurei is the “wasabi roulette” in which the guests eat an order of dumplings or kushikatsu and whoever gets the one filled with wasabi “dies.” The unlucky soul is then dressed in a white kimono and laid in a coffin in the middle of the bar. The waiter then chants a traditional Buddhist prayer, thus completing the mock funeral.
Know Before You Go
Take the Chuo line from Shinjuku station to Kichijoji station, the bar is roughly a 10-minute walk from the station.