Maybe you noticed that I put this entry under my Places I recommend category, but I did that just because I don’t have a Places that will give you nightmares one. If you’d rather watch 10 hours of Dancing with The Stars than one horror movie, sleep with a light on, wouldn’t go to a haunted house in an amusement park even if someone handed you a suitcase full of money — I have bad news. I definitely do not recommend a trip to the place I am going to show you today. However! If you passionately watched Goosebumps or Are you afraid of the dark? as a kid, Paranormal Activity is like a bedtime story and you think Sadako (Samara) would actually look no different than a regular teenager if she trimmed her bangs a bit — hop on Seibu Ikebukuro or Seibu Shinjuku Line and go visit Tokorozawa!
The Grudge House
One of my students made this map for me and it was actually the only source of information I used to get to the destination. I found two blogs with more detailed directions, but somehow I liked the idea of following the map, it felt like some sort of treasure hunt, that whole sense of adventure stuff.
Before going on your Grudge-ghost hunting adventure, it’s a good idea to fill your belly with something delicious. My friend and I found a rather shady looking restaurant and didn’t expect much, but OH MY GAWD WAS IT DELICIOUS! It was hands down some of the best ramen I’ve had in Japan!
Back to the spookiness…
It was my first time to wander around Tokorozawa. I don’t want to scare you or discourage you from visiting this place, but it was one of the most eerie looking towns I’ve ever been to. Once I left the bright commercial street full of people, I found myself surrounded by all these scary looking houses, with dark windows, rusty gates and rooftops with a thick blanket of ivy covering them tightly, as if no one had lived there for at least a couple of years.
(This super creepy house was used in the movie too!)
There it is! One of the scariest houses in the history of Japanese cinema!
I’d like to congratulate the movie makers of The Grudge. The location they chose was just perfect — I mean, just look at this sinister looking neighbourhood. When I was there, I felt shivers down my spine… even now just looking at these pictures is giving me goosebumps!
What’s there? Just a normal looking house one could say. It did look quiet innocent, but to be honest I just couldn’t look at the windows for more than 2 seconds. I might look super brave in these photos, but don’t let your eyes deceive you. I was terrified! My heart was pounding and every unidentified sound made me flee in total panic!
This is it! The haunted Grudge House! Is there really something going on? I checked it for any potential haunting, and it seemed ‘clean’. And how exactly did I check it? Caution, creepy things are coming.
So, as we read on Wikipedia:
The Grudge describes a curse that is born when someone dies in the grip of a powerful rage or extreme sorrow. The curse is an entity created where the person died.”
The Japanese really do believe these things. Ever heard of jiko butsuken? Let me explain it shortly. Jiko butsuken apartments have little to no chance of being rented despite super low rent. Basically they are houses where the previous residents died of some unnatural reasons: murder, suicide, drowning etc. There’s a whole website dedicated to these kind of apartments → Oshimateru (English version). I checked out this place and apparently it doesn’t carry any creepy history, but who knows…
The fact that the curtains were left open and there were live chickens (or some other birds) in that cage you see in the bushes was really weird. Seeing garden furniture and various objects randomly placed all over the backyard made it look as if there wasn’t a living soul there. But it definitely looked like there was a soul of some other kind.. Would I go inside? Oh hell no! Nope, nope, NOPE!
CAUTION! There are infrared cameras set up by the entrance to the house. Apparently 4 daredevils got into the house and snooped around. One question: why would anyone try to go in there? Why would anyone go there at night??? (Infrared camera suggests there might have been attempts like that)
And here’s another spot used in the movie — DUDUDUMMMMM…. The bridge!
It was just a regular bridge, but I found it somewhat spine-chilling to be sitting in the exact same spot, where we could see Kayako with bloody stains splattered around her.
Have you watched any of The Grudge series? I remember I watched it with my roommates at a summer camp when I was 16. There was a curfew and we were supposed to be sleeping by 10 pm, but watching a horror movie at midnight seemed so rebellious, I’m sure you know what I mean. Little did I know that nearly 10 years later, I would see the place with my own two eyes! Whacky!
Would you go visit the house? Would you go in if you could…?
Thanks for reading (and enjoy your Ju-on adventure!) ♥