List of legendary creatures of Japan

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In this article, we are going to have a list of demons, ghosts, yōkai, obake, yūrei and other legendary creatures that are notable in Japanese folklore and mythology. A complete list with a brief description of each creature from the legends of Japan.

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I hope you enjoy this list of over 306 monsters, creatures and ghosts from Japanese mythology. This article may be useful for those who wish to have a brief description or to know the name of a certain creature.

Note that this article has not been fully revised. It would take time to review the description of the 306 monsters that were translated from English. In my quick review I managed to get out a lot of incomprehensible stuff.

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List of Japan's Legendary Creatures

Yokais, Obake, Yurei, Japanese Ghosts and Demons

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Abumi-guchi A furry creature formed from the stirrup of a mounted military commander who worked for Yamata no Orochi.
Abura-akago  A childish ghost who licks oil from andon lamps.
Abura-sumashi  A spirit with a big head that lives in a mountain pass in Kumamoto Prefecture.
akabeko  A red cow involved in the construction of Enzō-ji in Yanaizu, Fukushima.
akaname  A spirit that licks up the dirt in messy bathrooms.
akashite  A creature that appears in a black cloud over a floodgate.
akateko  A red hand hanging from a tree.
akkorokamui  An Ainu monster resembling a fish or octopus.
akubozu Akubōzu, living in the ashes of fireplaces, are from Akita and Iwate.
Akurojin-no-hi  A ghostly fire from Mie Prefecture.
amabie  A Japanese mermaid yokai.
Amaburakosagi  A ritual-disciplinary demon of Shikoku.
Amamehagi  A ritual-disciplinary demon of Hokuriku.
Amanojaku  A little demon who incites people to evil.
amanozako  A monstrous goddess mentioned in the Kujiki.
amaterasu  A sun goddess.
amazake-babaa  An old woman who asks for sweet love and brings disease.
Amefurikozo  A boy spirit that plays in the rain.
amemasu  An Ainu creature resembling a fish or whale.
ameonna  A female spirit that makes it rain.
amikiri  A bird spirit, with a bird's head, a crustacean trap, and a snake's body.
Amoronagu  A Tennyo from the island of Amami Shima.
anmo  A ritual-disciplinary demon from Iwate Prefecture.
Aoandon  The demonic spirit that emerges from an andon lamp at the end of a Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai.
Aobozu  The blue monk who kidnaps children.
Aonyōbō  A ghost that lurks in an abandoned imperial palace.
Aosaginohi  A luminescent heron.
Arikura-no-baba  An old woman with magical powers.
Ashimagari  A spirit that envelops the legs of travelers.
Ashinagatenaga  A pair of characters, one with long legs and one with long arms.
Ayakashi (yōkai)  A phenomenon considered the funayurei.
Azukiarai (or Azukitogi)  A spirit that washes adzuki beans.
bake-kujira  A ghostly whale skeleton that floats along the coast of Shimane Prefecture.
bakeneko  A shape-shifting cat.
bakezori  A zōri sandal spirit.
Baku (spirit)  Supernatural beings that devour dreams and nightmares.
Basan  A large fire-breathing chicken monster.
bashonoseibanana tree spirit
Bebeto-san  Invisible spirit that follows people at night, producing the sound of footsteps.
binbōgami  The spirit of poverty.
Biwa-bokuboku  Animated biwa lute.
Buruburu  A spirit that clings to people who induce cowardice and shivers.
byakko  Japanese version of the Chinese white tiger.
ByōbunozokiTsukumogami who emerges from byōbu to spy on people.
chochinbi  Demonic flames that appear on the paths between the rice fields.
chochinobake  A possessed chochin lantern.
daidarabotchi  A giant responsible for creating the geographical features of Japan.
daitengu  The most powerful tengu, each of which lives on a separate mountain.
Danzaburou-danuki  a bake-danuki from Sado Island.
Datsue-ba  An old woman in the underworld who removes clothing (or skin, if unclothed) from the dead.
dodomeki  A hundred-eyed demon.
donotsura  A headless human yōkai with its face on its torso.
Enenra  A monster made of smoke.
Enkō  Kappa from Shikoku and Western Honshū.
Funayūrei  Ghosts of people who died at sea.
furaribi  A creature engulfed in flames that flies around aimlessly.
furu-utsubo  A beloved quiver of dead archers.
Furutsubaki-no-rei  A soul-sucking plant.
Futakuchi-onna  The two-mouthed woman.
Fūjin  The god of wind.
furi  A yokai monkey.
stutter  A demon that attacked young priests at the Gangō-ji temple.
Gaki  Hungry ghosts of especially greedy people.
Gashadokuro  A giant skeleton that is the spirit of the unburied dead. Also known as Gaikotsu.
Genbu  Japanese version of the Chinese black turtle.
Goryō  The vengeful spirits of the dead.
Gozu and Mezu  Underworld guards.
Guhin  Another name for tengu.
Gyūki  Another name for Ushi-oni.
Hachishaku-sama An 8 foot tall woman and famous for kidnapping children.
Hakanohi  A fire that kindles in graves.
Hakuja no Myojin  A white serpent God.
Hakutaku  A beast that imparted knowledge about harmful spirits.
Hanako-san  The spirit of a young WWII girl who inhabits and haunts school toilets.
Hannya  A noh mask representing a jealous demon.
Haradashi  A creature with a giant face in its stomach.
Harionago  A woman with a prickly barb at the end of each lock of her hair.
Hashihime  A woman-turned-spirit associated with the bridge at Uji.
Heikegani  Crabs with shells with human face. They are the spirits of the warriors killed in the Battle of Dan-no-ura.
hibagon  The Japanese version of Bigfoot or Yeti.
Hiderigami  The spirit of drought.
hihi  A baboon-like Chinese yokai.
Hikeshibaba  An old woman who puts out lanterns.
Hymn  The sunrise.
Hitodama  A fireball ghost that appears when someone dies, signifying the dead person's spirit.
hitotsume-kozō  A one-eyed childlike spirit.
Hitotsume-nyūdō  A one-eyed monk spirit.
Hiyoribō  The spirit that stops the rains.
Hoji  The wicked spirit of Tamamo-no-Mae.
Hone-onna  The Skeleton Woman.
Hoshi-no-Tama  A ball guarded by a Kitsune (fox) that can give whoever gains power to force Kitsune to help them. It is said to have some reserves of Kitsune power.
hotoke  A deceased person.
Hyakki Yako  The night parade of demons.
Hyōsube  A kind of hair-covered Kappa.
Hō-ō  China's legendary Fenghuang bird.
hōsōshi  A ritual exorcist.
Ibaraki-doji  Daughter of an oni.
Ichiren-Bozu  Animated prayer beads.
Ikiryō  Essentially a living ghost, as it is the soul of a person living outside their body.
Ikuchi  A sea serpent that travels over boats in an arc while dripping oil.
Inugami Gyoubu  A type of bake-danuki.
inugami  A dog spirit created, worshiped, and employed by a family through sorcery.
isonade  A fish-like sea monster with a tail covered in barbs.
issie  A lake monster.
Itsumade  A fire-breathing bird monster.
Ittan-momen  A possessed cotton roll that tries to suffocate people by wrapping itself around their faces.
Iyaya  A woman whose face is reflected as an old man.
jami A wicked mountain spirit.
Janjanbi  A soul in the form of a fireball, named for the sound it makes.
jatai  Animated folding screen cloth.
Jibakurei  A spirit that protects a specific place.
jikininki  Ghosts that eat human corpses.
Jinmenju  A tree with fruits with a human face.
Jishin-namazu  The giant catfish that causes earthquakes and tsunami. He was blamed during the Ansei earthquake and tsunami.
Jorogumo  A spider woman.
Jubokko  A vampire tree.
Kahaku (河伯 Another name for a Kappa.
Kamaitachi  The sickle-clawed weasel that haunts the mountains.
Kambarinyūdō  A monk spirit that spies on people who use the toilet.
Kameosa  A bottle of possessed sake.
Kanedama  A spirit that carries money.
kappa  A famous aquatic monster with a head full of water and a love for cucumbers.
Karasu-tengu  Crow Demon.
karura  Anthropomorphic eagle similar to the Hindu Garuda.
Kasa-obake  A possessed paper umbrella monster.
Kasha  A cat-like demon that descends from the sky and takes away corpses.
katawaguruma  A type of Wanyudo, with an anguished woman instead of a monk's head on a burning wheel.
Kawaakago  A river spirit that pretends to be a crying baby.
Kawauso  River otters.
kechibi  Fireballs with human faces inside.
Keneo  An old man sitting in the underworld who weighs the clothes Datsue-ba gave him.
Keukegen  A small dog-like creature, covered entirely in long hair.
Kijimuna  A tree sprite from Okinawa.
Kirin  The Japanese version of China's Qilin, which is part dragon and part deer with antlers, fish scales and an ox tail. Said to be a protective creature and guardian of the metal element.
kitsune no yomeiri Ghost of Light
kitsune  A fox spirit.
kitsunebi  Flames created by Kitsune.
Kiyohime  A woman who turned into a serpent demon out of the rage of unrequited love.
Kodama  A spirit that lives in a tree.
Kokakucho  The Ubume bird.
Komainu  The pair of lion dogs that guard the temple entrances.
Konaki-jiji  This yokai disguises himself as an abandoned baby and then cries until someone catches him.
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 ancient battlefields.
Kosode-no-te  A possessed kosode.
kubikajiri  Feminine spirit of the cemetery that chews the corpse.
kuchisake-onna  The woman with the slit mouth.
Kuda-gitsune  A small fox animal used in sorcery.
Kudan  A cow with a human face.
Kumo Yōkai  A Japanese spider demon.
Kyonshī  The Japanese version of the Chinese jumping vampire, known as "jiangshi".
Kyōkotsu  A skeletal figure emerging from a well.
Kyōrinrin  Rolls or papers owned.
Mekurabe  The multiplier skulls that threatened Taira no Kiyomori in her courtyard.
Miage-nyūdō  A spirit that grows as fast as you can look at it.
Mikaribaba  A one-eyed old woman.
Mikoshi-nyūdō  A bald goblin with an extended neck.
Misaki  High-ranking divine spirits.
mizuchi  A dangerous water dragon.
Mokumokuren  A swarm of eyes appearing on a paper sliding door in an old building.
Momonji 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 bake-danuki kettle.
mujina  A shape-shifting badger.
Myōbu  A title sometimes given to a fox.
Mōryō  A general term for various corpse-eating water demons.
namahage  A ritual-disciplinary demon from the Oga Peninsula.
namazu  A giant catfish that causes earthquakes.
nekomata  A yokai cat.
Ningyo  A fish person or "mermaid".
Nobusuma  A flying squirrel monster (possibly inspired by the giant Indian flying squirrel).
Noderabō  Strange creatures that stand near a temple bell.
nogitsune  A dangerous kitsune.
Noppera-bō  A faceless ghost.
Nozuchi  A fat creature like a snake.
new  A monster with the head of a monkey, the body of a raccoon dog, the legs of a tiger, and a snake-headed tail. He plagued the emperor with nightmares in the Heike Monogatari.
Nukekubi  A cruel, human monster whose head detaches from its body, often mistaken for the Rokurokubi.
Nupeppo  An animated piece of decomposing human flesh.
Nurarihyon  A strange character who sneaks into houses on busy nights.
Nure-onna  A female snake monster that appears on the beach.
Nuribotoke  An animated corpse with blackened flesh and swaying eyes.
Nurikabe  A ghostly wall that traps a traveler at night.
Nyūdō-bōzu  A yokai that grows bigger the longer it looks up.
NyūnaisuzumeSparrows that flew from the mouth of the exiled poet Fujiwara-no Sanekata.
Obake (or Bakemono)  Shape-shifting spirits.
Oriyon  Yōkai, who rides over a human victim and becomes unbearably heavy.
Oboroguruma  An oxcart with a face on the carriage.
hiwa  The ghost of a woman with a distorted face who was murdered by her husband. One of the most famous onryō.
okku  The ghost of counting a maid's plate.
okuri-inu  A spectral dog that follows lone travelers, attacking them if they trip. Similar to the black dog of English folklore.
Oni of Rashomon
omni  The classic Japanese devil. It is an ogre-like creature that usually has horns.
omnibaba  The demonic witch of Adachigahara.
onibi  A demonic flame that can suck life if people get too close.
Onihitokuchi  One-eyed Oni that kills and eats humans.
Onikuma  yōkai bear.
onmoraki  A bird demon created from the spirits of freshly slain corpses.
onmyoji  A human who has powers like those of a yōkai.
onryo  A vengeful ghost formed by powerful feelings like anger or sadness.
Osakabe  An old yōkai residing in Himeji's castle who can read and manipulate hearts.
otoroshi  A furry creature that lands at torii gates to shrines and temples.
Raijin  The God of Thunder.
Raiju  An animal that falls to earth in lightning.
Rokurokubi  A person, usually female, whose neck can stretch indefinitely.
Ryuu The Japanese Dragon.
rojinbi  A ghostly fire that appears with an elderly person.
Sa Gojo  The water monster Sha Wujing from Journey to the West, often interpreted in Japan as a kappa.
Samebito  A shark from the Dragon Palace submarine.
Sankai  An amorphous postpartum spirit.
sansei  A humanoid with a single leg twisted backwards.
SarakazoeA type of onibi that appears as a counting board.
satori  An ape-like creature that can read your thoughts.
Sazae-oni  A turbaned snail that transforms into a woman.
seiryū  Japanese version of the Chinese Azure Dragon.
sesshō-seki  The poisonous “killing stones” that Tamamo-no-Mae has turned into.
shachihoko  A tiger-headed fish whose image is often used in architecture.
Shibaemon-tanuki  A danuki roast from Awaji Island.
shichinin misaki  A group of seven ghosts that sicken the living.
Shidaidaka  A humanoid yokai that appears above the roads.
Shikigami  A spirit summoned to bid for an Onmyōji.
Shikome  Wild women sent by Izanami to harm Izanagi.
Shinigami  The Japanese Reaper.
Shiranui  A mysterious flame seen over the seas in Kumamoto Prefecture.
Shirime An apparition in the form of a man with an eye for an anus.
Shiryō  The souls of the dead, the opposite of ikiryo.
Shironeri  Mosquito nets or dusty clothes.
Shisa  The Okinawan version of Shishi.
shishi  The paired lion dogs guarding temple entrances.
Shuten-doji  omni
Shojo  Redhead marine sprites who love alcohol.
Shokera  A creature that peers through the skylight of an old house.
Son Goku  Monkey King Sun Wukong from Journey to the West.
Suiko  Another name for kappa.
Sunakake Baba  A witch who uses sand.
Sunekosuri  A dog-like yokai that rubs people's legs when it rains.
suzaku  The Japanese version of the Chinese vermilion bird.
Suzuri-no-tamashii  Ink spirit.
sōjōbō  The famous Daitengu of Mount Kurama.
Taka-onna  A female monster that can stretch its waist to peer inside buildings.
Tamamo-no-Mae  An evil nine-tailed fox who appeared as a courtesan.
tanuki  A shape-shifting Japanese raccoon dog.
tell me  The ghost of a blind man with his eyes in his hands.
teke teke  The vengeful spirit of a school girl, with a mid-upper torso body, who goes around killing people by cutting them in half with a scythe, mimicking her own disfigurement.
have  A mischievous shape-shifting weasel.
tengu  A wise demon with two variants: a red man with a long nose or a bird-like demon.
Tenjokudari   A female yokai that crawls on the ceiling.
Tenka (kaika)  ghost lights
Tenko (fox)   divine beast
tennin  A heavenly being.
teratsutsuki   The onryō of a man who lived in the 6th century CE.
Tesso  A priest who was snubbed by the emperor and turned into a swarm of rats that destroyed a rival temple.
Tsuchigumo  A clan of spider yokai.
Tsuchinoko  A legendary serpentine monster. It is now a crypt that resembles a fat snake.
Tsukinowaguma A legendary bear. 
Tsukumogami An animated tea carrier that Matsunaga Hisahide used to negotiate a peace with Oda Nobunaga. It is now understood as any 100-year-old inanimate object that has come to life.
Tsukuyomi  A moon god.
Tsurube-otoshi  A monster that falls from the treetops.
Tofu-kozo  A yokai that appears as a boy carrying a plate of tofu.
ubume  The spirit of a woman who died in childbirth.
Uma-no-ashi  The leg of a horse that hangs from a tree and kicks passersby.
Umi-nyōbō  A female sea monster that steals fish.
Umibōzu  A giant monster appearing on the surface of the sea.
Ungaikyō  A possessed mirror.
Ushi-no-tokimairi A curse made at the time of the ox (between 1 and 3 am) by a black magic user, with various effects.
Ushi-oni  A name given to a variety of ox-headed monsters.
Ushi-onna  A woman dressed in a kimono with a cow's head.
Ushirogami   A one-eyed, footless spirit.
uwan  A spirit called by the sound that screams when it surprises people.
waira  A large animal that lurks in the mountains, about which little is known.
Wani  A water monster comparable to an alligator or crocodile. A related word was applied to the saltwater crocodile.
Wanyūdō  A flaming wheel with a man's head at the center, which sucks the soul out of anyone who sees it.
Yadōkai  Monks who have turned to mischief.
Yama-biko  Small creatures that create echoes.
yama-inu  A dog-like mountain spirit, which may appear to travelers on mountain roads; it can be friendly or it can attack and kill the traveler, depending on the story (see also the Japanese wolf).
Yama-uba  An ancient yōkai.
Yamajijii  An old man with one eye and one leg.
Yamako  An occasionally cannibal friendly creature that can read minds.
Yamaoroshi  A possessed vegetable grater, almost porcupine looking.
Yamata no Orochi  The eight-headed dragon/serpent monster slain by the god Susanoo.
Yashima no Hage-tanuki  A bake-danuki that protects the Taira clan.
Yatagarasu  Amaterasu's three-legged crow.
Yato-no-kami  Deadly serpent gods that infested a field.
Yobuko  A spirit of living in the mountains.
Yomotsu-shikome  The witches of the underworld.
Yosuzume  A mysterious bird that sings at night, sometimes indicating that the okuri-inu is nearby.
Yuki-onna  The Snow Woman.
Yurei  Ghosts in a more western sense.
Yōkai / Youkai  A class of supernatural monsters, spirits, and demons in Japanese folklore. They can also be called ayakashi (妖?), mononoke (物の怪?) or mamono (魔物?).
Yosei  The Japanese word for "fairy".
Zashiki-warashi  A protective childlike household spirit.
Zennyo Ryūō  A dragon that makes it rain.
zorigami  An animated clock.
Zuijin  A tutelary spirit.
Zunbera-bō  Another name for Noppera-bō.
Ōgama  A giant frog that breathes rainbow-like smoke and wields a giant spear against anyone who attacks it.
Ōkaburo  transvestite yōkai
Ōkami  A powerful wolf spirit that takes your life or protects you depending on the actions someone takes in your life.
Ōkubi The huge face of a woman that appears in the sky.
Ōmagatoki  Twilight.
Ōmukade  A giant human-eating centipede that lives in the mountains.
Ōnyūdō  Wastebasket taxon for all 'priestly' demons.

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