List of legendary creatures from Japan





  • Daidarabotchi – A giant responsible for creating the geographical features of Japan.
  • Daitengu – The most powerful tengu, each of whom lives on a separate mountain.
  • Danzaburou-danuki – a tanuki from Sado Island.
  • Datsue-ba – An old woman in the Underworld who removes clothes (or skin if unclothed) of the dead.
  • Dodomeki – A hundred-eyed demon.
  • Dōnotsura – A headless humanlike yōkai with its face on its torso.





  • Hakanohi – A fire which lights on graves.
  • Hakuja no Myojin[1] – A white serpent God.
  • Hachishaku-sama – A woman that is 8 feet tall and famous by kidnapping children.
  • Hakutaku – A beast which handed down knowledge on harmful spirits.
  • Hanako-san – A spirit of a young World War II-era girl who inhabits and haunts school restrooms.
  • Hannya – A noh mask representing a jealous female demon.
  • Haradashi – A creature with a giant face on its stomach.
  • Harionago – A woman with a thorn-like barb on the tip of each strand of her hair.
  • Hashihime – A woman-turned-spirit associated with the bridge at Uji.
  • HeikeganiCrabs with human-faced shells. They are the spirits of the warriors killed in the Battle of Dan-no-ura.
  • Hibagon – The Japanese version of the Bigfoot or the Yeti.
  • Hiderigami – The spirit of drought.
  • Hihi – A baboon-like Chinese yokai.
  • Hikeshibaba – An old woman who extinguishes lanterns.
  • Hinode – The Sunrise.
  • Hitodama – A fireball ghost that appears when someone dies, signifying the dead person's spirit.
  • Hitotsume-kozō – A one-eyed child spirit.
  • Hitotsume-nyūdō – A one-eyed monk spirit.
  • Hiyoribō – The spirit which stops rainfall.
  • Hoji – The wicked spirit of Tamamo-no-Mae.
  • Hone-onna – The skeleton-woman.
  • Hō-ō – The legendary Fenghuang bird of China.
  • Hoshi-no-Tama – A ball guarded by a Kitsune (fox) which can give the one who obtains it power to force the Kitsune to help them. It is said to hold some reserves of the Kitsune's power.
  • Hōsōshi – A ritual exorcist.
  • Hotoke – A deceased person.
  • Hyakki Yakō – The demons' night parade.
  • Hyōsube – A kind of hair-covered Kappa.


  • Ibaraki-doji – Offspring of an oni.
  • Ichiren-Bozu – Animated prayer beads.
  • Ikiryō – Essentially a living ghost, as it is a living person's soul outside of their body.
  • Ikuchi – A sea-serpent that travels over boats in an arc while dripping oil.
  • Inugami – A dog-spirit created, worshipped, and employed by a family via sorcery.
  • Inugami Gyoubu – A type of tanuki.
  • Isonade – A fish-like sea monster with a barb-covered tail.
  • Issie – A lake monster.
  • Itsumade – A fire-breathing birdlike monster.
  • Ittan-momen – A possessed roll of cotton that attempts to smother people by wrapping itself around their faces.
  • Iyaya – A woman whose face is reflected as an old man.



  • Kahaku (河伯) – Another name for a Kappa.
  • Kakurezato
  • Kamaitachi – The slashing sickle-clawed weasel that haunts the mountains.
  • Kambarinyūdō – A monk spirit that spies on people using the toilet.
  • Kameosa – A possessed sake jar.
  • Kanedama – A spirit that carries money.
  • Kappa – A famous water monster with a water-filled head and a love of cucumbers.
  • Karasu-tengu – Crow demon.
  • Karura – Anthropomorphic eagle akin to the Hindu Garuda.
  • Kasa-obake – A possessed paper umbrella monster.
  • Kasha – A cat-like demon that descends from the sky and carries away corpses.
  • Katawaguruma – A type of Wanyudo, with an anguished woman instead of a monk's head in a burning wheel.
  • Kawauso – River otters.
  • Kawaakago – A river spirit that pretends to be a crying baby.
  • Kechibi – Fireballs with human faces inside.
  • Keneō – An old man seated in the underworld who weighs the clothes given to him by Datsue-ba.
  • Keukegen – A small dog-like creature covered entirely in long hair.
  • Kijimuna – A tree sprite from Okinawa.
  • Kirin – The Japanese version of the Qilin of China, which is part dragon and part deer with antlers, fish scales and an ox's tail. Said to be a protective creature and the guardian of the metal element.
  • Kitsune – A fox spirit.
  • Kitsunebi – Flames created by the Kitsune.
  • Kitsune no yomeiri - Ghost lights
  • Kiyohime – A woman who transformed into a serpent demon out of the rage of unrequited love.
  • Kodama – A spirit that lives in a tree.
  • Kokakuchō – The Ubume bird.
  • Komainu – The pair of lion-dogs that guard the entrances of temples.
  • Konaki-jiji – This yokai disguises itself as an abandoned baby then cries until someone picks it up.
  • Konoha-tengu – A bird-like Tengu.
  • Koromodako – An octopus-like Yokai that lives in the waters bordering Kyoto and Fukui.
  • Koropokkuru – A little person from Ainu folklore.
  • Kosenjōbi – Fireballs that float over former battlefields.
  • Kosode-no-te – A possessed kosode.
  • Kubikajiri – Female corpse-chewing graveyard spirit.
  • Kuchisake-onna – The slit-mouthed woman.
  • Kuda-gitsune – A small fox-like animal used in sorcery.
  • Kudan – A cow with a human face.
  • Kyonshī – The Japanese version of the Chinese hopping vampire, known as "jiangshi".
  • Kumo Yōkai – A Japanese spider demon.
  • Kyōkotsu – A skeletal figure that emerges from a well.
  • Kyōrinrin – Possessed scrolls or papers.


  • Mekurabe – The multiplying skulls that menaced Taira no Kiyomori in his courtyard.
  • Miage-nyūdō – A spirit that grows as fast as you can look up at it.
  • Mikaribaba – A one-eyed old woman.
  • Mikoshi-nyūdō – A bald goblin with an extending neck.
  • Misaki – High-ranking divine spirits.
  • Mizuchi – A dangerous water dragon.
  • Mokumokuren – A swarm of eyes that appear on a paper sliding door in an old building.
  • Momonjī - AN old-man who is waiting for travelers at every fork in the road.
  • Mononoke – Any mischievous and troublesome creature/entity of uncertain origin.
  • Morinji-no-kama – Another name for Bunbuku Chagama, the tanuki teakettle.
  • Mōryō – A general term for various water demons that eat corpses.
  • Mujina – A shapeshifting badger.
  • Mu-onna – The nothing woman.
  • Myōbu – A title sometimes given to a fox.



  • Obake (or Bakemono) – Shapeshifting spirits.
  • Obariyon – Yōkai which rides piggyback on a human victim and becomes unbearably heavy.
  • Oboroguruma – An oxen cart with a face in its carriage.
  • Oiwa – The ghost of a woman with a distorted face who was murdered by her husband. One of the most famous onryō.
  • Ōkaburo - Cross-dressing yōkai
  • Ōgama – A giant toad which breathes rainbow-like smoke and wields a giant spear against whoever attacks it.
  • Ōkami – A powerful wolf spirit that either takes your life or protects it depending on the actions one does in his or her life.
  • Okiku – The plate-counting ghost of a servant girl.
  • Ōkubi – The huge face of a woman which appears in the sky.
  • Okuri-inu – A spectral dog which follows lone travelers, attacking them if they trip. Similar to the Black dog of English folklore.
  • Ōmagatoki – Dusk.
  • Ōmukade – A giant, human-eating centipede that lives in the mountains.
  • Oni – The classic Japanese demon. It is an ogre-like creature which often has horns.
  • Onibaba – The demonic hag of Adachigahara.
  • Onibi – A demonic flame which can suck out life if people come too near.
  • Onihitokuchi – One-eyed oni that kills and eat humans.
  • Onikuma – Bear yōkai.
  • Onmoraki – A bird-demon created from the spirits of freshly dead corpses.
  • Ōnyūdō – Wastebasket taxon for all 'priestly' demons.
  • Onryō – A vengeful ghost formed from powerful feelings like rage or sorrow.
  • Otoroshi – A hairy creature that perches on the torii gates to shrines and temples.
  • Onmyoji – A human who has powers like a yōkai's.
  • Osakabe – An old woman yōkai which resides in Himeji Castle and who can read and manipulate hearts.


  • Raijin – The God of Thunder.
  • Raijū – A beast that falls to earth in a lightning bolt.
  • Rōjinbi – A ghostly fire that appears with an old person.
  • Rokurokubi – A person, usually female, whose neck can stretch indefinitely.
  • Ryuu – The Japanese dragon.



  • Taka-onna – A female monster that can stretch its waist to peer inside buildings.
  • Tamamo-no-Mae – A wicked nine-tailed fox who appeared as a courtesan.
  • Tanuki – A shape-shifting Japanese raccoon dog.
  • Teke Teke – A vengeful spirit of a school girl, with a half upper torso body, who goes around killing people by slicing them in half with a scythe, mimicking her own disfigurement.
  • Ten – A shapeshifting mischievous weasel.
  • Tengu – A wise demon with two variants: a red man with a long nose, or a bird-like demon.
  • Tenjōkudari - A female yokai that crawls on the ceiling.
  • Tenka (kaika) - Ghost lights
  • Tenko (fox) - Divine beast
  • Tennin – A heavenly being.
  • Te-no-me – A ghost of a blind man with his eyes on his hands.
  • Teratsutsuki - The onryō of a man who lived in the 6th century CE.
  • Tesso – A priest who was snubbed by the emperor and became a swarm of rats which laid waste to a rival temple.
  • Tōfu-kozō – A yokai that appears as a young boy carrying a plate of tofu.
  • Tsuchigumo – A clan of spider-like yokai.
  • Tsuchinoko – A legendary serpentine monster. It is now a cryptid resembling a fat snake.
  • Tsukinowaguma – A legendary bear.[2]
  • Tsukuyomi – A moon god.
  • Tsukumogami – An animated tea caddy that Matsunaga Hisahide used to bargain a peace with Oda Nobunaga. It is now understood to mean any 100-year-old inanimate object that has come to life.
  • Tsurube-otoshi – A monster that drops out of the tops of trees.


  • Ubume – The spirit of a woman who died in childbirth.
  • Uma-no-ashi – A horse's leg which dangles from a tree and kicks passersby.
  • Umibōzu – A giant monster appearing on the surface of the sea.
  • Umi-nyōbō – A female sea monster who steals fish.
  • Ungaikyō – A possessed mirror.
  • Ushi-no-tokimairi – A curse done at the ox hour (between 1 and 3 in the morning) by a black magic user, with various effects.
  • Ushi-oni – A name given to an assortment of ox-headed monsters.
  • Ushi-onna – A kimono-clad woman with a cow head.
  • Ushirogami - A one-eyed, footless spirit.
  • Uwan – A spirit named for the sound it shouts when surprising people.


  • Waira – A large beast that lurks in the mountains, about which little is known.
  • Wani – A water monster comparable to an alligator or crocodile. A related word has been applied to the saltwater crocodile.
  • Wanyūdō – A flaming wheel with a man's head in the center, that sucks out the soul of anyone who sees it.



See also


  1. "The Oriental Economic Review". Oriental Information Agency. 14 July 2018 via Google Books.
  2. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women who Run with the Wolves (1996), Ch. 12.
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