Fantasmi e Spiriti del Giappone: Don’t Cross the Red Bridge*

Fantasmi e Spiriti del Giappone: Don’t Cross the Red Bridge

You know by now that I am very fond of Japanese culture, but what you probably don't know is that I'm also very fond of Japanese myths, legends, and folklore. And that's what I'm going to talk about today.

I was lucky enough to get free access (as press) to the exhibition "Fantasmi e Spiriti del Giappone – Don’t Cross the Red Bridge", an interactive experience from the wonderful creations of Benjamin Lacombe, inspired by his works “Storie di Fantasmi del Giappone” and “Spiriti e Creature del Giappone”, and in partnership with TENOHA MILANO and L'ippocampo Edizioni. 


In my opinion, they were highly organised, there was a very nice lady at the entrance who explained what the exhibition was about and what the tegata (手形, a certificate for people in the Edo period to prove that they were traveling with permission) I was given when I went to retrieve my ticket was for. 

I crossed the red bridge and ventured into the enrapturing–and a little bit scary–world of Benjamin Lacombe. The exhibition consisted of ten separate rooms, each exploring a different yōkai (妖怪, which means strange apparition), and it followed a set pattern. 

Sogno di un Giorno D'Estate

I walked through and discovered the many legends inspired by the written works of Lafcadio Hearn. It was easy to get lost in the charm of this interactive experience, so much so that at times I felt like I was truly inside the mesmerising world of Japanese folklore. I won't go into details because I don't want to spoil the exhibition for you, it is something that–without question–you must experience for yourself. 

Il Ragazzo che Dipingeva i Gatti

Luckily, the Kodama spirits located throughout the whole exhibition were there to guide me, so I safely made it back. 

I'm very happy to have seen Benjamin Lacombe's original sketches and tools–as well as the section dedicated to Lafcadio Hearnin a room at the end of the exhibition, I was completely in awe. (I'm also super grateful to the lady at the entrance for giving me the leaflet of the Lafcadio Hearn Museum in Japan, it will definitely be one of my stops when I visit there!)

The collection of Lacombe's original sketches and Hearn's tribute was truly terrific

Additionally, I spent quite a bit of time in the TENOHA MILANO shop, because you can't go to such a breathtaking experience and not get anything, right? I was set on just getting a couple of postcards, and maybe a button badge, however, I couldn't resist and I ended up getting the first book “Storie di Fantasmi del Giappone” as well.

You can't go to such a breathtaking experience and not get anything, right?

Like I mentioned earlier, this is undoubtedly an exhibition you can't miss if you're passionate about Japanese culture and folklore. If you happen to be in Milan, make sure you take the opportunity, as this interactive experience is only open to the public until April 23rd. You can book tickets directly from the TENOHA MILANO website

And if you were captivated by the beauty of Benjamin Lacombe's art just like I was, you will have another chance to see more of his stunning creations at the "Storie di Donne Samurai: Gate to the Hidden Sanctuary" exhibition, which will take place at TENOHA MILANO from May 27th to November 26th, 2023. 

Storie di Donne Samurai: Gate to the Hidden Sanctuary

Thank you once more to TENOHA MILANO for the opportunity, I had a magnificent time!

Are you a fan of Japanese macabre stories? Let me know in the comments!


  1. This looks like a fabulous exhibition!!!

    1. It was really good... and a tiny bit scary, haha, but I genuinely had a fabulous time, and I can't wait to see the Women Samurai one!

  2. What a beautiful and interesting exhibition, Fran! I really appreciate your article and not only the photos, but also the video you shared on TikTok, it really gave the perfect vibes! Unfortunately, I will have to miss this exhibition *sobs*, but I will definitely go to the one starting in May! 💜

    1. I wish you could've been there with me, you would have enjoyed it a lot. It was magical, entertaining, and macabre at the same time and I loved it. However, I'm really glad we'll be going to the Women Samurai one together!