List of legendary creatures from Japan

In this article, we will 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 more than 306 monsters, creatures and ghosts from Japanese mythology. This article can be useful for those who wish to have a brief description or to know the name of a certain creature.

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List of legendary creatures from japan

Yokais, Obake, Yurei, Japanese Ghosts and Demons

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Abumi-guchi A hairy creature formed from the stirrups of a mounted military commander who worked for Yamata no Orochi.
Abura-akago  A childlike ghost that licks the oil from the andon lamps.
Abura-sumashi  A spirit with a big head that lives on 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 dirt in untidy bathrooms.
Akashita  A creature that appears in a black cloud over a floodgate.
Akateko  A red hand hanging from a tree.
Akkorokamui  An Ainu monster that looks like a fish or octopus.
Akubōzu Akubōzu, live in the ashes of the fireplaces, are from Akita and Iwate.
Akurojin-no-hi  A ghostly fire from Mie Prefecture.
Amabie  A Japanese yokai mermaid.
Amaburakosagi  A ritual-disciplinary demon from Shikoku.
Amamehagi  A ritual-disciplinary demon from Hokuriku.
Amanojaku  A little demon that instigates people to evil.
Amanozako  A monstrous goddess mentioned in Kujiki.
Amaterasu  A sun goddess.
Amazake-babaa  An old woman who asks for sweet love and brings diseases.
Amefurikozō  A boyish spirit that plays in the rain.
Amemasu  An Ainu creature similar to a fish or whale.
Ameonna  A feminine spirit that makes it rain.
Amikiri  A bird spirit, with a bird’s head, crustacean trap and snake body.
Amorōnagu  A Tennyo from the island of Amami Shima.
Anmo  A ritual-disciplinary demon from Iwate Prefecture.
Aoandon  The demonic spirit that arises from an andon lamp at the end of a Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai.
Aobōzu  The blue monk who kidnaps children.
Aonyōbō  A ghost lurking in an abandoned imperial palace.
Aosaginohi  A luminescent heron.
Arikura-no-baba  An old woman with magical powers.
Ashimagari  A spirit that envelops travelers’ legs.
Ashinagatenaga  A pair of characters, one with long legs and the other with long arms.
Ayakashi (yōkai)  A phenomenon considered funayurei.
Azukiarai (or Azukitogi)  A spirit that washes azuki beans.
Bake-kujira  A ghostly whale skeleton that floats along the coast of Shimane province.
Bakeneko  A cat that changes shape.
Bakezōri  A zōri sandal spirit.
Baku (spirit)  Supernatural beings that devour dreams and nightmares.
Basan  A big fire-breathing hen monster.
BashōnoseiSpirit of the banana tree
Betobeto-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 chills.
Byakko  Japanese version of the Chinese white tiger.
ByōbunozokiTsukumogami that emerges from byōbu to spy on people.
Chōchinbi  Demonic flames that appear on the trails between the rice fields.
Chōchinobake  A possessed chōchin lantern.
Daidarabotchi  A giant responsible for creating the geographical characteristics of Japan.
Daitengu  The most powerful tengu, each of whom lives on a separate mountain.
Danzaburou-danuki  a bake-danuki from Sado Island.
Datsue-ba  An old woman in the underworld who removes the clothes (or the skin, if she has no clothes) from the dead.
Dodomeki  A demon with a hundred eyes.
Donotsura  A headless human yōkai with his face on his torso.
Enenra  A monster made of smoke.
Enkō  Kapik of Shikoku and western Honshū.
Funayūrei  Ghosts of people who died at sea.
Furaribi  A creature engulfed in flames that fly aimlessly.
Furu-utsubo  A quiver loved by dead archers.
Furutsubaki-in-the-king  A soul-sucking plant.
Futakuchi-onna  The two-mouthed woman.
Fūjin  The god of the wind.
Fūri  A yokai monkey.
Gagoze  A demon who 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 famous for kidnapping children.
Hakanohi  A fire that lights up in graves.
Hakuja no Myojin  A white serpent God.
Hakutaku  A beast that transmitted knowledge about harmful spirits.
Hanako-san  The spirit of a young World War II girl who inhabits and haunts the bathrooms of schools.
Hannya  A noh mask representing a jealous demon.
Haradashi  A creature with a giant face in its stomach.
Harionago  A woman with a prickly splinter at the end of each strand of hair.
Hashihime  A woman who became spirit associated with the bridge in Uji.
Heikegani  Crabs with shells with a 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 Chinese yokai that looks like a baboon.
Hikeshibaba  An old woman who turns off flashlights.
Hinode  The sunrise.
Hitodama  A fireball ghost that appears when someone dies, meaning the spirit of the dead person.
Hitotsume-kozō  A childlike spirit in one eye.
Hitotsume-nyūdō  One-eyed monk spirit.
Hiyoribō  The spirit that prevents rain.
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 anyone who gets power to force Kitsune to help them. It is said to have some reserves of the Kitsune's power.
Hotoke  A deceased person.
Hyakki Yakō  The night parade of demons.
Hyōsube  A kind of Kappa covered with hair.
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 his body.
Ikuchi  A sea serpent that travels on boats in an arch while dripping oil.
Inugami Gyoubu  A type of bake-danuki.
Inugami  A dog spirit created, adored and employed by a family through witchcraft.
Isonade  A fish-like sea monster with a splintered tail.
Issie  A lake monster.
Itsumade  A fire-breathing bird monster.
Ittan-momen  A possessed cotton roll that tries to suffocate people by wrapping themselves around their faces.
Iyaya  A woman whose face is reflected like an old man.
Jami A wicked mountain spirit.
Janjanbi  A soul in the shape 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 of human face.
Jishin-namazu  The giant catfish that causes earthquakes and tsunami. He was held responsible during the Ansei earthquake and tsunami.
Jorōgumo  A spider woman.
Jubokko  A vampire tree.
Kahaku (河伯 Another name for a Kappa.
Kamaitachi  The scythe clawed ferret that haunts the mountains.
Kambarinyūdō  A monk spirit that spies on people who use the bathroom.
Kameosa  A possessed sake bottle.
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 corpses.
Katawaguruma  A type of Wanyudo, with an anguished woman instead of the head of a monk in a burning wheel.
Kawaakago  A river spirit that pretends to be a crying baby.
Kawauso  River otters.
Kechibi  Fireballs with human faces inside.
Keneō  An old man sitting in the underworld who weighs the clothes that Datsue-ba gave him.
Keukegen  A small doglike creature, covered entirely with long hair.
Kijimuna  An Okinawa tree sprite.
Kirin  The Japanese version of China's Qilin, which is part dragon and part deer with antlers, fish scales and ox tails. 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 because of the anger of unrequited love.
Kodama  A spirit that lives in a tree.
Kokakuchō  The Ubume bird.
Komainu  The pair of lion dogs guarding the entrances to the temples.
Konaki-jiji  This yokai disguises itself as an abandoned baby and then cries until someone catches it.
Konoha-tengu  A bird-like Tengu.
Koromodako  A Yokai that looks like an octopus that lives in the waters bordering Kyoto and Fukui.
Koropokkuru  A small person from the folklore of Ainu.
Kosenjōbi  Fireballs floating over old battlefields.
Kosode-us  A kosode owned.
Kubikajiri  Graveyard female spirit chewing on the corpse.
Kuchisake-onna  The woman with the cut mouth.
Kuda-gitsune  A small fox animal used in witchcraft.
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 that emerges from a well.
Kyōrinrin  Owned rolls or papers.
Mekurabe  The multiplier skulls that threatened Taira no Kiyomori in his courtyard.
Miage-nyūdō  A spirit that grows as fast as you can look at it.
Mikaribaba  An old woman with one eye.
Mikoshi-nyūdō  A bald goblin with an extended neck.
Misaki  High-ranking divine spirits.
Mizuchi  A dangerous water dragon.
Mokumokuren  A swarm of eyes that appear on a sliding paper door in an old building.
Momonjī An old man who is waiting for travelers at every fork in the road.
Mononoke  Any mischievous and problematic creature / entity of uncertain origin.
Morinji-no-kama  Another name for Bunbuku Chagama, the bake-danuki kettle.
Mujina  A badger that changes shape.
Myōbu  A title sometimes given to a fox.
Mōryō  A general term for several water demons that eat corpses.
Namahage  A ritual-disciplinary demon from the Oga Peninsula.
Namazu  A giant catfish that causes earthquakes.
Nekomata  A yokai cat.
Ningyo  A fish or “mermaid” person.
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 creature as fat as a snake.
Nue  A monster with the head of a monkey, the body of a raccoon dog, the legs of a tiger and a tail with a snake's head. He tormented the emperor with nightmares on the Heike Monogatari.
Nukekubi  A cruel and human monster whose head comes off its body, often mistaken for the Rokurokubi.
Nuppeppo  An animated piece of decaying 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 swinging eyes.
Nurikabe  A ghostly wall that holds a traveler at night.
Nyūdō-bōzu  A yokai that grows bigger the more it looks up.
NyūnaisuzumeSparrows that flew from the mouth of the exiled poet Fujiwara-no Sanekata.
Obake (or Bakemono)  Spirits that change form.
Obariyon  Yōkai, who rides on a human victim and becomes unbearably heavy.
Oboroguruma  An ox cart with a face in the carriage.
Oiwa  The ghost of a woman with a distorted face who was murdered by her husband. One of the most famous onryō.
Okiku  The ghost of counting a maid's plaque.
Okuri-inu  A spectral dog that follows lone travelers, attacking them if they stumble. Similar to the black dog of English folklore.
Oni of Rashomon
Oni  The classic Japanese demon. It is an ogre-like creature that usually has horns.
Onibaba  The demonic witch of Adachigahara.
Onibi  A demonic flame that can suck life if people get too close.
Onihitokuchi  Oni of an eye that kills and eats humans.
Onikuma  Yōkai bear.
Onmoraki  A demon-bird created from the spirits of freshly dead corpses.
Onmyoji  A human who has powers like a yōkai.
Onryō  A vengeful ghost formed by powerful feelings like anger or sadness.
Osakabe  An old yōkai who resides in Himeji's castle and can read and manipulate hearts.
Otoroshi  A hairy creature that lands at the torii gates for shrines and temples.
Raijin  The God of Thunder.
Raijū  An animal that falls to the earth in lightning.
Rokurokubi  A person, usually female, whose neck can stretch indefinitely.
Ryuu The Japanese dragon.
Rōjinbi  A ghostly fire that appears with an elderly person.
Sa Gojō  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 back.
SarakazoeA type of onibi that appears as a counting plate.
Satori  A monkey-like creature that can read your thoughts.
Sazae-oni  A turban snail that turns into a woman.
Seiryū  Japanese version of the Chinese Azure dragon.
Sesshō-seki  The poisonous "killing stones" that Tamamo-no-Mae has become.
Shachihoko  A tiger-headed fish whose image is often used in architecture.
Shibaemon-tanuki  A roast-danuki from Awaji Island.
Shichinin Misaki  A group of seven ghosts that make the living sick.
Shidaidaka  A yokai humanoid that appears above the roads.
Shikigami  A spirit summoned to bid on 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 appearance in the form of a man with an eye instead of the anus.
Shiryō  The souls of the dead, the opposite of ikiryo.
Shirōneri  Mosquito nets or dusty clothing.
Shisa  The Okinawa version of Shishi.
Shishi  The paired lion dogs guarding the entrances to the temples.
Shuten-doji  Oni
Shōjō  Red-haired marine sprites who love alcohol.
Shōkera  A creature that peers through the skylight of an old house.
Son Gokū  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  Spirit of ink.
Sōjōbō  The famous Daitengu of Mount Kurama.
Taka-onna  A female monster that can stretch its waist to peek inside buildings.
Tamamo-no-Mae  An evil fox with nine tails that appeared as a courtesan.
Tanuki  A Japanese raccoon dog that changes shape.
Te-me  The ghost of a blind man with his eyes in his hands.
Teke Teke  The vengeful spirit of a school girl, with a body half at the top of her torso, who kills people by cutting them in half with a scythe, imitating her own disfigurement.
Ten  A mischievous weasel that changes shape.
Tengu  A wise demon with two variants: a red man with a long nose or a birdlike demon.
Tenjōkudari   Uma yokai fêmea que se arrasta no teto.
Tenka (kaika)  Ghost lights
Tenko (fox)   Divine beast
Tennin  A heavenly being.
Teratsutsuki   The onryō of a man who lived in the 6th century AD.
Tesso  A priest who was snubbed by the emperor and became a swarm of mice 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 inanimate 100-year-old object that came to life.
Tsukuyomi  A moon god.
Tsurube-otoshi  A monster that falls from the treetops.
Tōfu-kozō  A yokai who 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 passers-by.
Umi-nyōbō  A female sea monster that steals fish.
Umibōzu  A giant monster appearing on the surface of the sea.
Ungaikyō  A mirror owned.
Ushi-no-tokimairi A curse made at the time of the ox (between 1 and 3 in the morning) by a user of black magic, 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   One-eyed and footless spirit.
Uwan  A spirit called by the sound that screams when it surprises people.
Waira  A large animal lurking in the mountains, about which little is known.
Wani  An aquatic monster comparable to an alligator or crocodile. A related word was applied to the saltwater crocodile.
Wanyūdō  A flaming wheel with the head of a man in the center, which sucks the soul of the beholder.
Yadōkai  Monks who turned to mischief.
Yama-biko  Small creatures that create echoes.
Yama-inu  A mountain spirit resembling a dog, which can 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 an eye and a leg.
Yamako  An occasional cannibal friendly creature who can read minds.
Yamaoroshi  A possessed vegetable grater, almost like porcupine.
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 underworld witches.
Yosuzume  A mysterious bird that sings at night, sometimes indicating that the okuri-inu is near.
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?).
Yōsei  The Japanese word for "fairy".
Zashiki-warashi  A childlike protective domestic 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 its attacker.
Ōkaburo  Shemale yōkai
Ōkami  A powerful wolf spirit that takes your life or protects you, depending on the actions someone does in your life.
Ōkubi The huge face of a woman who 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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