Silent Hill indeed. An eerie road sign spotted in Izu City, Shizuoka Prefecture has sparked frightened reactions on social media.
The sign depicts an abstract interpretation of an elderly man and a generic warning statement. It is eye-catching for its unique image and stark design. Reactions compare the sign to a ghost or yokai. Some speculated that it might be part of an advertising campaign for an upcoming horror movie or television show.
The Sign is “Like a Ghost” or “From Another World”
The sign is pure white and features the sketchy black figure of a hunched-over humanoid. The drawing consists of thick, blurry lines against a white background. It looks vaguely like an elderly person walking with cane. Large text simply says “注意！！！” with several exclamation points. Chuui is typically translated as “Warning” or “Beware.”
The sign gained popularity on social media due to its bizarre appearance and frightening nature. Google Street View reveals that the sign is found throughout Izu City, although it is most prominent in the Nakaizu district.
Reactions on Twitter and other social media sites described the sign as “super scary” and “like a ghost.” Some speculate that the sign is haunted or cursed.
Others thought the sign depicted a yokai, a type of supernatural creature which is known to scare humans.  Yokai-themed road signs are not uncommon in Japan. Sometimes, signs warning passerby about dangerous areas will feature images of oni (demons) or kappa (water-dwelling tricksters thought to drown humans). However, the image on this sign does not match the design of any previously existing yokai.
Some users described seeing the sign as feeling like they had been “transported to another world” because it was so eerie and stood out so much against the surrounding streets and neighborhoods. Many speculated what the sign could be warning people about. Guesses included a haunted house, a local legend involving an elderly ghost, or a cursed road or neighborhood where yokai frequently appeared.
However, a small group of social media users spoke out in support of the sign, arguing that its design was actually quite cute, if in a rather unsettling way. One news outlet compared the creature on the sign to Myakumyaku-san, the many-eyed mascot of the upcoming 2025 World Expo, who has a similar “creepy-cute” aesthetic.
What Does the Sign Mean?
J-Cast News spoke with a member of the Yasutake Social Welfare Committee, a local organization responsible for creating the sign. They explained that members of the local community designed the sign, and that its appearance was indeed meant to invoke an elderly person.
The sign’s “frightening” appearance was deliberate, as they wanted the sign to be eye-catching and spark discussion. Its purpose is to encourage Izu City locals to drive more slowly and watch for elderly people who may be crossing the street.  The Committee proudly displays the sign on their Web site 
If you want to see this uniquely terrifying sign in person, you will need to travel to Izu City in Shizuoka Prefecture, as it has not yet spread to other towns and prefectures around Japan. Luckily, Izu City is a wonderful tourist destination. Visitors can experience Shuzenji Temple, which has a history dating back to the 800s, the Toi Gold Mine, which was once Japan’s second-most productive gold mine, and the “British Village” Niji-no-Sato. Just be careful, drive slowly, and watch out for people – or perhaps ghosts or yokai – crossing the street!
 MyNavi News. “伊豆で見つかった奇妙な絵の看板に、ネット「異世界に迷い込んだ感覚」” 2 August 2022. Link.
 Wikipedia Japan. “Myakumyaku.” Link.
 J-Cast News. “「怖すぎる…」不気味な絵が描かれた謎の看板 誰が何のために？管理団体に真相を聞いた” 6 August 2022. Link.
 Yasutake Social Welfare Committee Homepage. Link.