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List of legendary creatures from Japan

The following is a list of demons, ghosts, yōkai, obake, yūrei, and other legendary creatures that 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 – 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.
  • Kambarinyōdō – A monk spirit that spies on people using the toilet.
  • Kōtahi (コタヒ) - A Manawa Bradford, a spirit monkey that is very hairy and gets engulfed in rage. The "Kotahi" is also commonly referred to as "カノト"
  • 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.
  • Keseran Paseran – Creature from folklore that resembles a ball of fluff floating in the air.
  • 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.
  • Kodama Nezumi - A spherical Japanese dormouse, would swell up and explode at the approach of humans, the Matagi saw it as an omen and would not hunt that day if one was seen.
  • 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.
  • 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.




  • Obake (or Bakemono) – 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
  • 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 travellers, 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 they come too near.
  • Onihitokuchi – One-eyed oni that kill and eat humans.
  • Onikuma - Bear yokai.
  • 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 yokai's.
  • Osakabe


  • 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.


  • Shirime - A human-like creature with an eye in place of an anus.



  • 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.
  • Ushi-onna - A kimono-clad woman with a cow head.
  • 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.



See alsoEdit


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