Promotional efforts for Japanese towns, particularly rural ones, often depend on some outside-the-box thinking--like making a pop idol unit out of 60 miner mannequins or documenting a traveling monkey in his quest for romance. One of the latest efforts, this time by the village of Kosuge in Yamanashi prefecture, seeks to outdo even Japan's most terrifying abandoned hospital haunted house. In order to revitalize tourism and promote their local festival, Kosuge will be turning into a town overrun by zombies--and they need help saving the victims.

Like all good Japanese obake-yashiki (haunted house) events, the zombie outbreak has a backstory to it, and one that both ties into regional history and customs, as well as promotes an upcoming Autumn festival. During the preparations of the 20th annual "Blessing of the Earth" festival, the villagers have some sort of accident, with an eerie siren sounding off and a mysterious gas flooding the village. To make matters worse, nearby in Yamanashi is Oiran Buchi, sight to one of the more gruesome incidents in Japanese history. 55 prostitutes had been brought in for miners in the area, but fearful that the prostitutes had learned the location of their gold, the ruling Takeda family had them slaughtered on the spot. Since then, the area has been closed off to the public and many claim the area to be haunted.

Now Kosuge, a mountain town with a population of 700 known for its natural beauty and hot springs, faces not only an outbreak of zombies apparently unleashed by an Umbrella-like corporation, but supernatural occurrences led by vengeful spirits. So on November 11th, Kosuge is making a call to visitors, particularly those who haven't visited before, to come brave the wave of terror and rescue guests, who are facing grotesque zombies such as these.

There will be two separate rounds--one a family friendly version held during the daytime (1:00 PM-6:00 PM), and one with a "supernatural scale" that runs from the mountain forest to the town's hot spring (6:30-9:00). To finish off the combined Halloween and Blessing of the Earth festival, there will be a post-zombie apocalypse nighttime bar event. Kosuge will be using this allure of thrill and terror to also sell regional crafts and foods to visitors.

Professional makeup artists (zombie nurses) will also be on hand to help visitors ghoul up their faces should they wish.

Foreigners are more than welcome to participate, although you'll need Japanese ability to navigate the ticket reservation site. The event's theme website can be found here, and access information here.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.