List of legendary creatures from Japan

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










  • 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 - 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 bird-like 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.
  • Kambarinyōdō - 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.




  • Obake - Shapeshifting spirits.
  • Obariyon - Yokai 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
  • Okami A powerful wolf spirit. That either takes your life or protects it.
  • 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 travellers, attacking them if they trip. Similar to the Black dog of English folklore.
  • Ōmagatoki - Dusk.
  • Ōmukade - 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 they come too near.
  • Onihitokuchi - One-eyed oni that kill and eat humans.
  • Onmoraki - 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 yokai's.
  • Osakabe


  • Raijin - The God of Thunder.
  • Raijū - A beast that falls to earth in a lightning bolt.
  • Rokurokubi - A person, usually female, whose neck can stretch indefinitely.
  • Ryuu - The Japanese dragon.




  • 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.
  • Ungaikyo - A possessed mirror.
  • Ushi-no-tokimairi
  • Ushi-oni - A name given to an assortment of ox-headed monsters.
  • Ushirogami
  • 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.



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