AttractionsSurf, sun, sand and... screams? Japanese-style horror awaits travellers on this bus turned haunted ride in Hawaii.

Do you dare to board this Ghost Bus in Hawaii?

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Customers of the Ghost Bus Hawaii watch a short movie that introduces the narrative before boarding.
Customers of the Ghost Bus Hawaii watch a short movie that introduces the narrative before boarding. Photo Credit: Ghost Bus Hawaii

Surf, sun, sand and... screams? A new attraction in Hawaii is looking to add a fourth "s" to the traditional trio visitors seek out in the Aloha State.

Ghost Bus Hawaii, a horror import from Japan, has rolled into Honolulu offering a new activity that promises to send heart rates soaring.

The Ghost Bus is a concept from Japanese horror creator Michaelty Yamaguchi, who has worked on haunted houses and in the film industry. The bus does not move during the experience, and guests remain seated. The bus is equipped with a variety of audiovisual and sensory effects and deploys a cast of actors to deliver frights and thrills.

"The Ghost Bus is an exciting experience that has been a favourite for people of all ages in Japan for many years," said Kenji Takahashi, general manager of Travel Plaza Transportation, a subsidiary of the company behind the new attraction, JTB Hawaii. 

"It has been a tough couple of years, and I think people are ready to travel and have fun. I want people to join us on the Ghost Bus and release their stress. We can see it. People are screaming on the bus, and after they leave the attraction, everybody is smiling."

The Ghost Bus initially launched just prior to Halloween 2021, but then it closed in December as the Covid-19 omicron variant sparked a surge in cases in Hawaii. Since 2 May, the bus will be parked at the Waikiki Beach Marriott through 31 October.

A pivot into haunted attractions

Created by Michaelty Yamaguchi, a renowned haunted house specialist from Japan, Ghost Bus is a "no need to walk" haunted house.
Created by Michaelty Yamaguchi, a renowned haunted house specialist from Japan, Ghost Bus is a "no need to walk" haunted house.

Haunted houses are a popular year-round activity in Japan, and Takahashi said they also see the Ghost Bus as another opportunity to share Japanese culture in the United States.

"American horror tends to be more monsters and zombies," Takahashi said. "While Japanese horror is a little bit different ... little girls are seen as scary."

Along those lines, the Ghost Bus narrative revolves around a young girl who must conquer her fears by confronting them. However, the programme has been adapted from the Japanese original to better appeal to a U.S. audience.

"The experience is in English, and the story has been changed," Takahashi said. "We adapted it to make it more Hollywood-style horror. It's still Japanese horror, but with a hint or twist of Hollywood. This version is more bloody than the Japanese one, and there are more monsters and that type of thing."

The Ghost Bus experience lasts 15 minutes and costs US$15, and the minimum age is 8 years old. Children between ages 8 and 13 must be accompanied by an adult.

Source: Travel Weekly

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