Beautifully Frightening: Kyoto Aloha Shirt Marker Pagong’s Haunted House PR Coup

Why go to a haunted house in the summer? According to Japanese culture, there is a good reason. Recently a client from Walt Disney Imagineering was in town that is very interested in Japanese ghosts and haunted houses in general. He was in luck because there is a new haunted house in Kyoto. It is called Kyo Yuzen Obake Yashiki (京友禅おばけ屋敷) and it is a haunted house like none other. It could only have been created in Kyoto. The concept is to be beautifully frightening.

Kyoto Aloha Shirt Marker Pagong's Haunted House PR Coup パゴン京友禅おばけ屋敷

Haunted House Entrance and Exit -- and Pagong 'Ghost' Shirt

Kyoto Aloha Shirt Marker Pagong's Haunted House PR Coup パゴン京友禅おばけ屋敷

Pagong Honten (Main Store) Show Window

About the Name: Kyo Yuzen Obake Yashiki
京友禅 Kyo Yuzen (Kyoto Yuzen dyeing tradition)
おばけ obake (ghost)
屋敷 yashiki (house, mansion)

Kyo yuzen is the traditional dyeing technique for kimono fabric that was developed in Kyoto several hundred years ago. The venue for the haunted house is the unused portion of an old yuzen dyeing factory that now makes very popular Pagong brand aloha shirts with their original yuzen dyed fabric.

The haunted house is decorated with yuzen dyed fabric. While I am not very much into haunted houses I did like the Kyo Yuzen Haunted House very much. Also, there is another very interesting idea here at work that I completely missed. Please see the question at the end of the article, if you are the first person to answer it, we will send you an original Pagong yuzen dyed tenugui as a prize.

Pagong collaborated on the project with a wellknown noir film director from Kyoto on this project. The creative director of the haunted house is famed detective film director and screenwriter (and licensed detective and ‘detective bar’ owner) Professor Kaizo Hayashi, who directed the American version of Power Rangers for two seasons.

There are no photos allowed inside the haunted house and that would of course spoil the experience. The entrance is Heaven and you exit via Hell. The initial rooms are eerily beautiful and after rounding a corner the experience becomes decidedly Hellish.

The people that went in before us came out screaming, two ladies even ran back out the entrance after a very short time inside. Going through it with a Disney special effects designer takes the edge off of the ‘haunt’ but I must say that I was indeed a bit scared. The element of surprise was quite well done I thought. The special effects designer that I went through with thought that it was very, very good. And, he said that he has seen a whole lot of haunted houses in Los Angeles where he is based.

The haunted house was the idea of Pagong’s creative and perhaps somewhat eccentric owner and it turned out to be quite a PR coup, it has been featured in television, magazines and newspapers more than 25 times so far!

Kyoto Aloha Shirt Marker Pagong's Haunted House PR Coup パゴン京友禅おばけ屋敷

Japanese Ghosts Look Like This. The droopy hands are essential to scare Japanese.

Kyoto Aloha Shirt Marker Pagong's Haunted House PR Coup パゴン京友禅おばけ屋敷

Entrance to Haunted House

Kyoto Aloha Shirt Marker Pagong's Haunted House PR Coup パゴン京友禅おばけ屋敷

Kyo Yuzen Obake Yashiki (Haunted House) Mural, Kaizo Hayashi Director

Kyoto Aloha Shirt Marker Pagong's Haunted House PR Coup パゴン京友禅おばけ屋敷

Haunted House Entrance and Exit -- and Pagong 'Ghost' Shirt

Kyoto Aloha Shirt Marker Pagong's Haunted House PR Coup パゴン京友禅おばけ屋敷

Pagong Ghost Shirt and Tenugui

About Kyoto Yuzen Dyeing
Yuzen is the most common technique used to in the dyeing of fabric used to make Japanese kimono. Yuzen was invented in Edo period around 1700 by a fan painter in Kyoto named Yuzensai Miyazaki. He was a very talented designer and his patterns and color sense became very popular. The characteristic point of yuzen dyeing is to dye complicated patterns with many colors.

About the Venue
The venue for the Kyo Yuzen Haunted House is the factory were the Pagong brand of Kyo yuzen aloha shirts are made. The locations is just West of Nishioji Street on Gojo Street. Pagong has three locations in Kyoto and and one of these stores is located here. The other two Pagong stores are more conveniently located in central  Kyoto.

About Pagong
Pagong is the original brand of yuzen dyed and printed clothing made by Kameda Tomisen, Inc. Kameda Tomisen has been in the yuzen dyeing business since 1919. The current owner wanted to utilize and preserve the yuzen dyeing techniques of his company and the very skilled craftsmen that he employees so in 2001 he changed the direction of the company from subcontract yuzen dyeing for kimono makers to making original aloha shirts that utilize the techniques and patterns and motifs of his company. Pagong is a runaway success and has three stores in Kyoto. Pagong’s products are available at Isetan Department Store in Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

Win a Prize: Why Visit a Haunted House in Summer?
If you can correctly guess why Japanese visit a haunted house in the summer, OpenKyoto will send you a prize! One tenugui cloth seen below. Just leave your guess in the comment section of this article. I didn’t realize the reason.

Play fair: If you are Japanese, please don’t give away the answer. Let other non-Japanese visitors guess. If you have any Japanese friends, don’t ask them for the answer. Just think about it yourself!

Kyoto Aloha Shirt Marker Pagong's Haunted House PR Coup パゴン京友禅おばけ屋敷

Win This: Haunted House Commemorative Tenugui Hand Cloth- detail

Kyoto Aloha Shirt Marker Pagong's Haunted House PR Coup パゴン京友禅おばけ屋敷

Pagong Honten (Main Store) Storefront

Kyoto Aloha Shirt Marker Pagong's Haunted House PR Coup パゴン京友禅おばけ屋敷

Pagong Honten (Main Store) Entrance

SHARE! Kyoto Support Topic: Shopping, Souvenirs and Kyoto Meibutsu

Tweet: Find out what’s going on in Kyoto right now, follow me on Twitter.

Pagong Kyo Yuzen Haunted House – Reservation Required
Reservation Required: Kyo Yuzen Obake Yashiki is a members only venue. If you are not a member of the Pagong Member Club, you can still qualify by making a purchase at the store. Shirts are fairly expensive but a ghost theme yuzen dyed handkerchief or tenugui can be purchased for 900 to 1,500 yen, respectively. A reservation is required.

English: Pagong wasn’t expecting non-Japanese speakers but if you can speak a little Japanese or you have a Japanese friend or guide you can try to make a reservation by telephone.

admission fee: free

telephone: 075-322-2391
address: Kyoto-shi, Ukyo-ku, Saiin, Nishimizosaki-cho 17 (京都市右京区西院西溝崎町17)

Map to Pagong Honten (Main Store)

View OpenKyoto/KyotoFoodie Map in a larger map

Article Links and Reference

Pagong Corporate Website
(Japanese only)
Pagong Haunted House Webpage (Japanese only)
Yuzen Dye Wikipedia Article
Tenugui Wikipedia Article

5 Responses to “Beautifully Frightening: Kyoto Aloha Shirt Marker Pagong’s Haunted House PR Coup”

  1. Dylan says:

    Do they visit haunted houses in the summer because of the Obon festival – when the ancestors are said to pay everyone a visit?

  2. Paula says:

    I’ve heard/read about this before… Apparently, the Japanese believe ghost stories etc. have a cooling effect (chills down the spine?), so visiting a haunted house would help battling the summer heat.

  3. If I already know the reason can I still participate? It wouldn’t really be a guess…

  4. [OK] Michael says:

    Well, well, well. We have winner already. I waited a few days to approve the comments giving other people a chance to guess.

    Dylan, A rather morbid take on Obon, don’t you think? No, not quite.

    Paula, You are the winner! Yes, to send chills down the spine thereby cooling you off. I am not sure that I buy it, but that is the reason that Japanese go.

    Michael Lambe, Come on, don’t you think that is unsportsmanlike conduct? Don’t you live just down the street from the Pagong Haunted House?

  5. Gemma Ising says:

    ..` I am very thankful to this topic because it really gives great information “~.

Leave a Reply

ContactCopyright © OpenKyoto, All Rights Reserved.