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Drive-in Tokyo haunted house tour looks to scare away the virus blues

This photo taken in Tokyo's Minato Ward on July 1, 2020, shows a drive-in haunted house where ghosts are seen clinging to the windscreens of cars. (Mainichi/Natsuki Nishi)

TOKYO -- A drive-in haunted house tour in Japan has been attracting attention as a summer activity that can be enjoyed while taking thorough prevention measures against the novel coronavirus.

While the coronavirus pandemic has had a severe impact and businesses in the entertainment industry, Kowagarasetai, a company that produces and hosts haunted house tours and horror events across Japan, planned this special program. The zombie show takes place in a "secret" garage located in Tokyo's Minato Ward. Once reservations are completed, details about the location are sent out.

On the day of the tour, a voice reading aloud a terrifying tale begins to play after the visitor stops the car in a dark garage. Shortly after, sounds of someone knocking on the car echo throughout the confined space, and ghosts covered in blood appear in front of the windshield. Throughout the approximately 20-minute show, frightened visitors can scream to their hearts' content without coming into contact with others, including the actors.

The number of events held by the haunted house company has plunged by around 80% compared to the previous year due to the coronavirus. After thinking about what sort of event could be held during summer, when the firm usually rakes in huge profits, it produced the drive-in show getting the idea from a drive-in music festival in Germany.

Producer Kenta Iwana, 25, commented, "I would like for visitors to scream to blow off steam and reduce stress that has accumulated amid the current atmosphere of refraining from outdoor activities."

The haunted house tour must be reserved in advance through the website http://kowagarasetai.com/covid19-drivein/ (in Japanese). The tour costs 8,000 yen (about $74.48) per car for those who bring their own vehicle, and 9,000 yen (about $83.79) for a group of up to four people that wish to borrow a car. Although tours for July are sold out, they are set to be held in August as well. The company is also currently discussing plans to visit nationwide locations to hold more drive-in shows.

(Japanese original by Natsuki Nishi, Photo Group)

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