The experience, which takes place in a covered parking garage in downtown Tokyo, follows social distancing guidelines — and provides plenty of scares

By Eric Todisco
August 17, 2020 03:00 PM
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Credit: Kowagarasetai

With the spooky season fast approaching, one company has ensured that haunted house-lovers can get their fair share of frights while staying safe and healthy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Kowagarasetai, a Japanese haunted house and horror event production company, has created the first-ever drive-in haunted house in downtown Tokyo that is filled with pure terror — and also follows social distancing guidelines.

Kenta Iwana, Kowagarasetai's founder, told CNN Travel that due to the pandemic, he knew a traditional haunted house was not an option this year.

"When I read that drive-through theaters were making a comeback, it was my 'aha' moment," Iwana said.

Credit: Kowagarasetai
Credit: Kowagarasetai

The drive-in haunted house, located in a covered parking garage in a non-descript building, gives visitors a 360-degree, front-row experience that simulates being stuck in a car during a zombie outbreak. Visitors are allowed to use their own car for the experience, which costs $75. If they don't own one, they can be provided a vehicle by Kowagarasetai for $85.

Once they arrive at the garage in their car, visitors turn off the engine and the garage shutter closes, sending the vehicle into total darkness. The drivers receive a set of Bluetooth speakers and the spooky tale begins, which says, "Around these parts, there's a legend that the ghosts attack humans. Honk your horn three times if you want to hear more."

Throughout the next 17 minutes, blood-soaked ghouls and zombies press up against the windows and rock the car.

Credit: Kowagarasetai
Credit: Kowagarasetai

As Tokyo continues to fight COVID-19, Kowagarasetai has taken numerous precautions to keep the drive-in haunted house safe for both the actors and customers.

According to Iwana, rental cars are lined in plastic, which is changed for every customer. Each car is wiped down with alcohol to minimize risks for the ghost actors, and the fake blood is wiped down after each show.

There is also a fine print on the website that says, "We cannot remove every drop of blood. It will be clean enough to drive on the road."

The drive-in haunted house initially started out as a summer-only attraction in July, with tickets selling out the day they went on sale. But due to its tremendous popularity — and a waiting list of more than 1,000 people — Iwana said that it will be returning in the fall.