Tokyo is known as a neon metropolis with a beautiful traditional culture preserved within it, but like any other place it has its share of ghost stories, traditional and modern. So where can you go to get a taste for haunted Tokyo?

Ghost Hunting in Tokyo

Yotsuya Ghost Story is a grisly tale based on a member of the Tamiya family in the 17th century named Oiwa. The Tamiya Inari shrine in Yotsuya is said to be where Oiwa herself worshipped and is even maintained by the Tamiya family to this day.

Entrance of Oiwa's Shrine Yotsuya, Source: (C) Grape Japan

Like any good ghost story, there's many different versions. Loosely, the story goes like this: Oiwa was poisoned by her husband Iemon, as he wanted to marry a younger woman from a rich family. Rather than dying straight away, the poison disfigured her and caused her to lose her hair. When the poison finally finished her off, Oiwa's spirit was driven by a strong desire for revenge, enabling her to return to the human realm and torment her traitorous husband.

Tamiya Inari Shrine's Horror Movie Links

The story gained popularity in Japan performed as a Kabuki play in 1825 (200 years after Oiwa actually lived) and was immortalised further in 1959, taking the form of a horror movie called Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan. Oiwa also appears in Japanese art in her terrifying spirit form, wearing a burial gown, with a disfigured face and missing bits of her long black hair.

By Kuniyoshi (English Wikipedia) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Setting the Yotsuya Ghost Story Straight

The story gained so much traction that the Tamiya Inari shrine is even known as Oiwa’s shrine. It’s easy to visit, just a 15 minute walk from Yotsuya station. Although upon visiting, I noticed a sign which sets the story straight…

Source: (C) Grape Japan

It seems Oiwa's marriage to Iemon was a happy one that didn't end in murder and paranormal activity. Despite the debunking of the story, fans of the paranormal or just retro Japanese horror films can still get a thrill from visiting a place the real Oiwa used to frequent. And hey, just because she wasn’t murdered, doesn’t necessarily mean she won’t return to her old haunts…

Address: 17 Samoncho, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0017

By - Jess.