List of legendary creatures from Japan

List of legendary creatures from Japan

The following is a list of "yōkai", "obake", "yūrei" and other legendary creatures which are notable in Japanese folklore, mythology, literature and art.


* Abumi-guchi - a furry creature formed from the stirrup of a mounted military commander
* Abura-akago - an infant ghost who licks the oil out of "andon" lamps
* Abura-bō - a spook fire from Shiga Prefecture, in which the shape of a monk can often be seen
* Abura-sumashi - a spirit who lives on a mountain pass in Kumamoto Prefecture
* Akabeko - a red cow involved in the construction of Enzō-ji in Yanaizu, Fukushima
* Akamataa - a snake spirit from Okinawa
* Akaname - the spirit who licks the bathroom
* Akashita - a creature that looms in a black cloud over a floodgate
* Akateko - a red hand dangling out of a tree
* Akki - another name for a wicked "oni"
* Akkorokamui - an Ainu monster resembling a fish or octopus
* Akuma - an evil spirit
* Akurojin-no-hi - a ghostly fire from Mie Prefecture
* Amaburakosagi - ritual disciplinary demon from Shikoku
* Amamehagi - ritual disciplinary demon from Hokuriku
* Amanojaku - a small demon which instigates people into wickedness
* Amanozako - a monstrous goddess mentioned in the Kujiki
* Amazake-babaa - an old woman who asks for sweet sake and brings disease
* Amefurikozō - a little boy spirit who plays in the rain
* Amemasu - an Ainu creature resembling a fish or whale
* Ameonna - a female rain spirit
* Amikiri - the net-cutting spirit
* Amorōnagu - a "tennyo" from the island of Amami Ōshima
* Anmo - ritual disciplinary demon from Iwate Prefecture
* Aoandon - the spirit of the blue paper lantern
* Aobōzu - the blue monk who kidnaps children
* Aonyōbō - a female ghost who lurks in an abandoned imperial palace
* Aosaginohi - a luminescent heron
* Asobibi - a spook fire from Kōchi Prefecture
* Arikura-no-baba - an old woman with magical powers
* Ashiaraiyashiki(足洗邸) - the story of a huge demon which demands that its leg be washed
* Ashimagari - a spook which entangles the legs of travelers
* Ashinagatenaga - a pair of characters, one with long legs and the other with long arms
* Ato-oi-kozō - an invisible spirit that follows people
* Ayakashi - another name for the "ikuchi"
* Ayakashi-no-ayashibi - a spook fire from Ishikawa Prefecture
* Azukiarai - a spirit which makes the sound of azuki beans being washed
* Azukibabaa - "azukiarai's" more vicious cousin, a bean-grinding hag who devours people
* Azukitogi - another name for "azukiarai"


* Betobeto-san - an invisible spirit which follows people at night, making the sound of footsteps
* Bake-kujira - a ghost whale
* Bakeneko - a shapeshifting cat
* Bakezōri - a sandal spirit
* Baku - an auspicious beast who can devour nightmares
* Basan - a large fire-breathing chicken monster
* Binbōgami - the spirit of poverty
* Biwa-bokuboku - the spirit of a "biwa" lute
* Bunbuku Chagama - a famous story about a "tanuki" in the form of a teakettle
* Buruburu - a spirit which causes the shivers
* Byakko - the white tiger of the west


* Chōchinobake - a haunted paper lantern
* Cho Hakkai - Zhu Bajie, the pig spirit from "Journey to the West"


* Daidarabotchi - a giant responsible for creating many geographical features in Japan
* Daitengu - the most powerful "tengu", each of whom lives on a separate mountain
* Datsue-ba - an old woman seated in the underworld who steals clothes from the souls of the dead
* Dodomeki - the ghost of a pickpocket, her arms are covered in eyes
* Doji - a spirit with white wings, accounted in European mythology as being like an angel
* Dorotabō - the ghost of an old man whose rice fields were neglected and sold


* Enenra - a monster made of smoke
* Enkō - the "kappa" of Shikoku and western Honshū
* Eritate-goromo - the "tengu" Sōjōbō's enchanted clothes


* Fūjin - the god of wind
* Funayūrei - ghosts of people dead at sea
* Futakuchi-onna - the two-mouthed woman


* Gagoze - a demon who attacked young priests at Gangō-ji temple
* Gaki - the hungry ghosts of Buddhism
* Gangi-kozō - a fish-eating water-monster
* Garappa - a kind of "kappa" from Kyūshū
* Gashadokuro - a giant skeleton, the spirit of the unburied dead
* Genbu - the black tortoise of the north
* Goryō - vengeful spirits of the dead
* Guhin - another name for the "tengu"
* Gyūki - another name for the "ushi-oni", the ox demon


* Hakutaku - the wise Bai Ze beast of China, who reported on the attributes of demons
* Hakuzōsu - a fox who disguised himself as a trapper's uncle
* Hannya - a noh mask representing a jealous female demon
* Harionago - a female monster with deadly barbed hair
* Hayatarō - the dog that killed the "sarugami"
* Heikegani - crabs with human-faced shells, the spirits of the warriors killed in the Battle of Dan-no-ura
* Hibagon - the Japanese Bigfoot
* Hiderigami - the god of drought
* Hihi - a baboon monster
* Hitodama - a fireball-ghost that appears when someone dies
* Hitotsume-kozō - a one-eyed boy
* Hoji - the wicked spirit of Tamamo-no-Mae
* Hōkō - a dog-like tree spirit from China
* Hone-onna - a skeleton woman
* Hō-ō - the legendary Fenghuang bird of China
* Hotoke - a deceased person
* Hyakki Yakō - the demons' night parade
* Hyakume - a creature with a hundred eyes
* Hyōsube - a kind of hair-covered "kappa"
* Hyōtan-kozō - a gourd spirit


* Ibaraki-dōji - the "oni" of the Rashomon gate, Shuten-dōji's accomplice
* Ichimoku-nyūdō - a one-eyed "kappa" from Sado Island
* Ikazuchi-no-Kami - a thunder god
* Ikiryō - a living ghost
* 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
* Ippon-datara - a one-legged spirit of the mountains
* Isonade - a fish-like sea monster with a barb-covered tail
* Itsumaden - a monstrous bird that appeared over the capital in the "Taiheiki"
* Ittan-momen - a cloth-like monster which attempts to smother people by wrapping itself around their faces
* Iwana-bōzu - a char which appeared as a Buddhist monk


* Jakotsu-babaa - an old woman who guards a snake mound
* Jatai - an "obi" which has transformed into a snake
* Jibakurei 地縛霊, 自縛霊 - a ghost that is bound to a certain place
* Jikininki - ghosts that eat human corpses
* Jinmenju - a tree with human-faced fruits
* Jinmenken - a human-faced dog appearing in recent urban legends
* Jishin-namazu - the giant catfish that causes earthquakes and tsunami, blamed during the Ansei quake & tsunami. [] and []
* Jorōgumo - a spider woman
* Jubokko - a vampire tree


* Kage-onna - the shadow of a woman cast on the paper doors of a haunted house
* Kahaku 河伯 - another name for a "kappa"
* Kamaitachi - the slashing sickle-weasel that haunts the mountains
* Kamikiri - the hair-cutting spirit
* Kameosa - a bottle that never runs dry
* Kanbari-nyūdō - a bathroom spirit
* Kanedama - the spirit of money
* Kappa - a famous water monster with a water-filled head and a love of cucumbers
* Karasu-tengu - a "tengu" with a bird's bill
* Kasa-obake - a paper umbrella monster
* Kasha - a cat-like demon which descends from the sky and carries away corpses
* Kashanbo - "kappa" who climb into the mountains for the winter
* Katawa-guruma - a woman riding on a flaming wheel
* Katsura-otoko - a handsome man from the moon
* Kawa-akago - an infant monster that lurks near rivers and drowns people
* Kawa-uso - a supernatural river otter
* Kawa-zaru - a smelly, cowardly "kappa"-like creature
* Keneō - an old man seated in the underworld who weighs the clothes given to him by Datsue-ba
* Kerakera-onna - a giant cackling woman who appears in the sky
* Kesaran-pasaran - a mysterious white fluffy creature
* Keukegen - a creature made of hair
* Kijimunaa - a tree sprite from Okinawa
* Kijo - a witch or ogress
* Kirin - the Qilin of China, part dragon and part hoofed mammal, sometimes called the "Chinese unicorn"
* Kitsune - a supernatural fox
* Kitsune-Tsuki - fox possession
* 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
* Koma-inu - another name for the "shishi", the pair of lion-dogs that guard the entrances of temples
* Konaki-Jijii - an infant spirit that cries until it is picked up, then increases its weight and crushes its victim
* Konoha-tengu - a bird-like "tengu"
* Koropokkuru - a little person from Ainu folklore
* Kosode-no-te - a short-sleeved kimono with its own hands
* Kubikajiri - a ghost which eats heads
* Kuchisake-onna - the slit-mouthed woman
* Kuda-gitsune - a small fox-like animal used in sorcery
* Kudan - a human-faced calf which predicts a calamity and then dies
* Kurabokko - the guardian spirit of a warehouse
* Kurage-no-hinotama - a jellyfish which floats through the air as a fireball
* Kyōkotsu - the ghost of a corpse discarded in a well
* Kyūbi-no-kitsune - a fox with nine tails
* Kyūketsuki - a Japanese vampire



* Maikubi - the quarreling heads of three dead miscreants
* Makura-gaeshi - the pillow-moving spirit
* Mekurabe - the multiplying skulls that menaced Taira no Kiyomori in his courtyard
* Miage-nyūdō - a spirit which grows as fast as you can look up at it
* Mikoshi-nyūdō - another name for "miage-nyūdō"
* Mizuchi - a dangerous water-dragon
* Mokumokuren - a swarm of eyes that appear on a paper sliding door in an old building
* Momonjii - an old-man who is waiting for you at every fork in the road
* Morinji-no-kama - another name for "Bunbuku Chagama", the "tanuki" teakettle
* Mōryō - a long-eared, corpse-eating spirit
* Mujina - a shapeshifting badger
* Myōbu - a title sometimes given to a fox


* Namahage - ritual disciplinary demon from the Oga Peninsula
* Namazu - a giant catfish that causes earthquakes
* Nando-baba - an old-woman spirit who hides under the floor in abandoned storerooms
* Narikama - a kettle spirit whose ringing sound is a good omen
* Nebutori - a spook-disease which causes a woman to grow immensely fat and lethargic
* Nekomata - a "bakeneko" with a split tail
* Nekomusume - a cat in the form of a girl
* Nikusui - a monster which appears as a young woman and sucks all of the flesh off of its victim's body
* Ningyo - a fish person or "mermaid"
* Nobusuma - a supernatural wall, or a monstrous flying squirrel
* Noppera-bō - a faceless ghost
* Nozuchi - Another name for the "tsuchinoko" serpent
* Nue - a monkey-headed, raccoon dog-bodied, tiger-legged,snake-tailed monster which plagued the emperor with nightmares in the "Heike Monogatari"
* Nukekubi - a vicious human-like monster whose head detaches from its body, often confused with the "rokurokubi"
* Nuppefuhofu - an animated lump of decaying human flesh
* Nure-onna - a female snake-like monster who appears on the shore
* Nuribotoke - an animated corpse with blackened flesh and dangling eyeballs
* Nurikabe - a ghostly wall that traps a traveler at night
* Nurarihyon - a strange character who sneaks into houses on busy evenings
* Nyūbachibō - a mortar spirit


* Obariyon - a spook which rides piggyback on a human victim and becomes unbearably heavy.
* Oboro-guruma - a ghostly oxcart with the face of its driver
* Ohaguro-bettari - a female spook lacking all facial features save for a large, black-toothed smile
* Oiwa - the ghost of a woman with a distorted face who was murdered by her husband
* Okiku - the plate-counting ghost of a servant girl
* Ōkamuro - a giant face which appears at the door
* Ōkubi - the face of a huge woman which appears in the sky
* Okuri-inu - a dog or wolf that follows travelers at night, similar to the Black dog or Barghest of English folklore.
* Ōmukade - a giant human-eating centipede that lives in the mountains
* Oni - the classic Japanese demon, an ogre-like creature which often has horns
* Onibi - a spook fire
* Onikuma - a monster bear
* Onmoraki - a bird-demon created from the spirits of freshly-dead corpses
* Onryō - a vengeful ghost
* Otoroshi - a hairy creature that perches on the gates to shrines and temples




* Raijin - the god of thunder
* Raijū - a beast which falls to earth in a lightning bolt
* Rokurokubi - a person, usually female, whose neck can stretch indefinitely
* Ryū - the Japanese dragon

* Sakabashira - a haunted pillar, installed upside-down
* Sagari - a horse's head that dangles from trees on Kyūshū
* Sa Gojō - the water-monster Sha Wujing from "Journey to the West", often interpreted in Japan as a "kappa"
* Samebito - a shark-man from the undersea Dragon Palace
* Sarugami - a wicked monkey spirit which was defeated by a dog
* Satori - an ape-like creature that can read minds
* Sazae-oni - a turban snail which turns into a woman
* Seiryū - the azure dragon of the east
* Seko - a kind of "kappa", which can be heard making merry at night
* Senpoku-Kanpoku - a human-faced frog which guides the souls of the newly deceased to the graveyard
* Sesshō-seki - the poisonous "killing stones" which Tamamo-no-Mae transformed into
* Setotaishō - a warrior composed of discarded earthenware
* Shachihoko - a tiger-headed fish whose image is often used in architecture
* Shibaten - a kind of "kappa" from Shikoku.
* Shikigami - a spirit summoned to do the bidding of an Onmyōji
* Shiki-ōji - another name for a "shikigami"
* Shikome - wild women sent by Izanami to harm Izanagi
* Shin 蜃 - a giant clam that creates mirages
* Shinigami - the "god of death", the Japanese name for the Western Grim Reaper
* Shirime - (尻目) An apparition in the shape of a man having an eye in the place of his anus
* Shiro-bōzu - a white, faceless spirit
* Shiro-uneri - an old, rotten dishcloth appearing in the form of a dragon
* Shiryō - the spirit of a dead person
* Shisa - the Okinawan version of the "shishi"
* Shishi - the paired lion-dogs that guard the entrances of temples
* Shōjō - red-haired sea-sprites who love alcohol
* Shōkera - a creature that peers in through skylights
* Shōki - the fabled demon-queller Zhong Kui
* Shunoban - a red-faced ghoul that surprises people
* Shuten-dōji - an infamous princess-kidnapping, bloodthirsty "oni"
* Sodehiki-kozō - an invisible spirit which pulls on sleeves
* Sōjōbō - the famous "daitengu" of Mount Kurama
* Sōgenbi - the fiery ghost of an oil-stealing monk
* Son Gokū - the monkey king Sun Wukong from "Journey to the West"
* Soragami - a ritual disciplinary demon in the form of a "tengu"
* Soraki-gaeshi - the sound of trees being cut down, when later none seem to have been cut
* Sorobanbōzu - a ghost with an abacus
* Sōtangitsune - a famous fox from Kyoto
* Sunakake-baba - the sand-throwing hag
* Sunekosuri - a small dog- or cat-like creature that rubs against a person's legs at night
* Suppon-no-yūrei - a ghost with a face like a soft-shelled turtle
* Suzaku - the vermilion bird of the south


* Taimatsumaru - a "tengu" surrounded in demon fire
* Taka-onna - a female spirit which can stretch itself to peer into the second story of a building
* Tamamo-no-Mae - a wicked nine-tailed fox who appeared as a courtesan
* Tankororin - an unharvested persimmon which becomes a monster
* Tanuki - a shapeshifting raccoon dog
* Tatami-tataki - a poltergeist that hits the "tatami" mats at night
* Tengu - the infamous bird-man demon of the mountains
* Tenjōname - the ceiling-licking spirit
* Tennin - a heavenly being
* Te-no-me - the ghost of a blind man, with his eyes on his hands
* Tesso - the ghost of the priest Raigō, who transformed into a swarm of rats
* Tōfu-kozō - a spirit child carrying a block of tofu
* Toire-no-Hanakosan - a ghost who lurks in grade school restroom stalls
* Tōtetsu - the Taotie monster of China
* Tsurara-onna - an icicle woman
* Tsuchigumo - a giant spider which was defeated by Minamoto no Raikō
* Tsuchikorobi - a tumbling monster which rolls over travelers
* Tsuchinoko - a legendary serpentine monster, now a cryptid resembling a fat snake
* Tsukumogami - inanimate objects that come to life after a hundred years
* 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 mirror monster which can display assorted wonders in its surface
* Ushi-oni - a name given to an assortment of ox-headed monsters
* Uwan - a spirit named for the sound it shouts when surprising people



* Wani - a water monster comparable to an alligator or crocodile. A related word has been applied to the Indo-Pacific or Saltwater crocodile.
* Wanyūdō - a flaming wheel with a man's head in the center, which sucks out the soul of anyone who sees it.



* Yagyō-san - a demon who rides through the night on a headless horse
* Yakubyō-gami - spirits who bring plagues and other unfortunate events
* Yadōkai - monks who have turned to mischief
* Yamaarashi - a supernatural porcupine
* Yama-biko - a creature that creates echoes
* Yama-bito - the wild people who live in the mountains
* Yama-chichi - a mountain spirit resembling a monkey
* Yama-inu - the fearsome mountain dog
* Yama-otoko - the giant mountain man
* Yama-oroshi - a radish-grater spirit, a pun on a word for "mountain storm"
* Yamata-no-Orochi - the eight-headed serpent slain by the god Susanoo
* Yama-uba - the mountain hag
* Yama-waro - a hairy, one-eyed spirit, sometimes considered a "kappa" who has gone into the mountains for the winter.
* Yanari - poltergeists which cause strange noises
* Yatagarasu - the three-legged crow of Amaterasu
* Yato-no-kami - deadly snake-gods which infested a field
* Yobuko - Mountain dwelling spirit.
* Yomotsu-shikome - the hags of the underworld
* Yōsei - the Japanese word for "fairy"
* Yosuzume - a mysterious bird that sings at night, sometimes indicating that the "okuri-inu" is near
* Yukinko - a child-like snow-spirit
* Yuki-onna - the snow woman


* Zashiki-warashi - a protective child-like house spirit.
* Zennyo Ryūō - a rain-making dragon
* Zunbera-bō - another name for the "noppera-bō"

ee also

* Japanese mythology
* Toriyama Sekien
* Kaidan
* Lafcadio Hearn
* Shigeru Mizuki
* InuYasha Yokai List
* J-Horror

External links

* [ Photo Dictionary of Japanese Buddhist and Shinto Deities]
* [ Japanese Wikipedia's List of Yōkai]
* [ The Obakemono Project]

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