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





  • Daidarabocchi - 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 who steals clothes from the souls of the dead
  • Dodomeki - the ghost of a pickpocket, her arms covered in eyes
  • Dorotabō - the ghost of an old man whose rice fields were neglected and sold







  • 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 flowers
  • Jinmenken - a human-faced dog appearing in recent urban legends
  • Jishin-namazu - the giant catfish that causes earthquakes
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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



  • 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
  • Myobu - a title sometimes given to a fox


  • Namahage - ritual disciplinary demon from the Oga Peninsula
  • 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, tiger-bodied, 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 monster who appears on the beach
  • 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, said to be the supreme commander of the yōkai
  • Nyūbachibō - a mortar spirit


  • 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
  • Ōmukade - a giant centipede
  • 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 Kyushu
  • 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
  • Shiro-bōzu - a white, faceless spirit
  • Shin 蜃 - a giant clam which creates mirages
  • Shinigami - the "god of death", the Japanese name for the Western Grim Reaper
  • 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
  • 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 passerbies
  • 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





  • 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
  • Yama-biko - a creature that creates echos
  • 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
  • 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


See also[edit]

External links[edit]