Haunted Houses: The Lure of the Dark *RERUN
Haunted houses are a summer tradition in Japan. One step inside the haunted house, darkness envelops you. It's frightening, but it draws you in. Japanese haunted houses have their roots in Buddhist temples. Even today, in a world full of light, darkness continues to scare people. Some want to cling on to their loved ones, while some want to forget everything and simply scream... We travel around the country, experiencing the nation's haunted houses.

A Real Haunted House

A samurai drama film crew has created a popular ghost house in a theme park in Kyoto. Actors play the ghosts. This year's haunted house is based on a traditional tale about a curse. Set in Kyoto, the story tells of a woman who became a ghost after a betrayal. The woman reportedly threw herself down a well in this Kyoto alleyway. The actors try to express not just the vengefulness of the ghosts but also what lies in their hearts. This makes the haunted house even more scary...

A Mobile Haunted House

A mobile haunted house is set up in a park at Tsuruoka in Yamagata Prefecture before the Tenjin Festival. There is a maze inside decorated with real bamboo grass, which has a unique fear-inducing smell. The haunted house is a highlight of the festival, but the number of haunted houses touring Japan has dwindled. The owner says haunted houses can create important moments for people to spend together.

The Roots of Japanese Haunted Houses

At the temple of Seikyo-ji in Hyogo Prefecture, artwork showing traditional scenes of hell has been passed down the generations. People who have committed crimes suffer terrible tortures in hell after they die. Their suffering is repeated over and over. In medieval times, nuns and monks would travel around the country showing and describing images of heaven and hell. Eventually, this became a form of entertainment at the root of the Japanese haunted house.