Hide and Seek at Ashibinaa sends chills down your spine
Haunted houses are a part of the landscape during midsummer in Japan when, according to tradition, the chills caused by scary experiences help to ward off the oppressive summer heat.
Outlet Mall Ashibinaa in Tomigusuku has a haunted house every summer that, in the best Japanese tradition, is guaranteed to give chills to anyone daring to walk in. Unlike haunted houses in the west, Japanese haunted houses are built around a story, usually involving a violent death or an abusive relationship resulting in ghosts that infest the house – ‘yurei’ in Japanese – that haunt those who dare to enter. Instead of serving a series of gory surprises, Japanese haunted houses involve the visitor in the story, making the haunted houses more creepy than gory.
This year, Okinawa Times Service Center is presenting a haunted house on the second floor of Ashibinaa Mall called “Hide and Seek.” The haunted house is open from Jul. 16 through Sep. 19. The house is open from 12:30 to 18:30 on weekdays, 11:30 to 19:00 on Saturdays and 10:30 to 19:30 on Sundays and national holidays.
Tickets to the haunted house cost ¥1,000 at door. Children of elementary school age and younger can enter only when accompanied by an adult. Tickets can also be purchased through FamilyMart Famiport terminals.
The Hide and Seek haunted house was a big success in Osaka in 2014 and toured Indonesia in 2015. The visitor has a mission to find a girl, Suzu-chan, who loves to play “Hide and Seek.”
One day, she was playing hide and seek with her friends, and although it was getting late, she did not want to stop playing, but kept insisting, “One more time… One more time!”
Finally, her friend named Sei-chan said, “OK, I will play with you as long as you want if you can hide until the wall clock sounds five times.”
So, Suzu-chan and the rest of the children went hiding in the house, and Sei-chan started seeking. On the second floor of the house, she saw Suzu’s key chain between an old suitcase in a closet. She was about to say, “I found you!” but there was no Suzu-chan, only her key chain.
Sei-chan continued seeking, and found everyone, except Suzu-chan. Then someone asked, “Why that suitcase is there?” Someone kicked it and it fell down the stairs.
Since that happened, strange things started happening in the house, and a child’s voice could be heard often at night calling, “I’m ready! I’m ready!”
Suzu-chan is still playing hide and seek by herself…