Hato Bus to beef up popular Tokyo ghost story tours

Kyodo

Tokyo sightseeing bus operator Hato Bus Co. said Wednesday it will offer more of its popular bus and boat tours to famous “haunted” places with a professional storyteller.

On July 18, aboard a boat stopped under Minato Bridge on the Nihonbashi River in downtown Tokyo’s Chuo Ward, professional storyteller Shunyo Kanda, 43, narrated “Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan” to some 30 people, including invited reporters.

It’s the story of a woman named Oiwa in the early Edo Period (1603-1868), who was killed by her husband, Iemon, and took revenge on him as a ghost.

In 1990, Hato Bus launched tours by bus to temples, which featured narrated ghost stories. It launched the bus-ship sightseeing service last year, with tours in August.

One tour will take guests to the Oiwa-Inari-Tamiya Shrine in the Yotsuya district in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, where the legendary figure of Oiwa is honored.

Another tour will take participants to a mound in Chiyoda Ward where the head of Taira-no-Masakado, a samurai in the Kanto region, was buried, according to folklore. The warrior was killed during the Heian Period (794-1185) after he rebelled against the Kyoto-based central government.

Five storytellers are scheduled to narrate ghost stories on different days, the tour operator said.

Hato Bus will offer tours on 11 days this August, between Aug. 5 and 9 and between Aug. 19 and 24. The cost is ¥9,980 per person, with up to 36 participants per tour.