12 Japanese Urban Legends and its Scary Creatures

March 28, 2022 6 min read 1 Comment

12 Japanese Urban Legends and its Scary Creatures

Ghosts, mysterious creatures, paranormal phenomena... Japanese urban legends are age-old stories that are spread in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Simple rumors, warnings, or real facts... these Japanese horror stories are absolutely terrifying. Dare you to read them?

🥶 1. Hachishakusama, the 8 feet tall woman


Credits: @Asher45567 on DeviantArt.com

Hachishakusama is a malefic entity that kidnaps children in Japan. She is recognizable by her giant size - 8 feet tall - and her long black hair. This yurei (Japanese ghost) announces its arrival by making a strange noise that sounds like "po po po". A young boy once had the bad luck to cross its path while playing quietly in his grandparents' garden.

As he heard a mysterious sound in the distance, he noticed the gigantic figure of Hachishakusama. The child rushed to his grand parents and told them what he had seen. His grandparents turned pale and shook their heads. Their grandson was the victim of an evil spirit. Frightened, they decided to consult a witch. The young boy had to stay locked in his room all night, holding a scroll against him, and never open the door to Hachishakusama. A little later, the boy heard the sound of "po po po po" again, followed by his grandfather's voice asking him to unlock the door. He understood that it was in fact the demon and kept the door closed until 7:00 am as he had been asked. But you don't get rid of Hachishakusama so easily... As the little boy was on the road accompanied by his grandparents and looked out the window, he saw the long silhouette of the demon once again.

🦵 2. Teke Teke, the legless woman

Teke Teke

Credits: @RavenDANIELS on DeviantArt.com

A young Japanese woman named Kashima Reiko was walking home at night. Sadly, she fell victim to a group of assailants. Beaten, raped and left for dead, the poor dying woman crawled on the ground to beg for help. Very weakened, she lost consciousness on a railroad track. This is when she was cut in two by a train. Since then, the spirit of the deceased haunts the train stations in search of her missing legs. Furthermore, "Teke teke" is the sound she makes while crawling before attacking her prey. The revenant is known for slicing off the lower limbs of its prey.

💆‍♀ 3. Rokurokubi, the long-necked creature 


Credits: @cinemamind on DeviantArt.com

Beware of appearances, because this creature, very seductive by day, turns into a horrible monster by night. Her neck gets longer and she becomes ruthless. The legends of rokurokubi are very present in Japanese folklore. Some of these creatures only scare humans while others devour them. Most of the time, these yokai of ordinary appearance are totally unnoticed in society. They have a job, a family and friends just like everyone else. It even happens that some of them think they are human and confuse their dreams with reality. Fortunately, these dangerous creatures can be unmasked by their little white marks on the neck.

🚽 4. Hanako San, the spirit of the toilets

Hanako San

Credits: @XxJokerxX on DeviantArt.com

Hanako San is a vengeful spirit who haunts the 3rd floor restrooms in schools. This black-haired girl that frightens children can be found in the 3rd toilet of the girls' bathroom. Hanako San is said to have died during a bombing raid in World War II. Another version claims that she was killed by a pervert. Finally, a last rumor says that she committed suicide. In any case, be careful not to pronounce her name three times if you don't want her to aspire you into hell.

🎯 5. Tomino's hell, the poem that kills

Tomino's hell

 Credits: @sasha-shaderski on DeviantArt.com

To all the fans of Japanese poetry, be aware of an urban legend that says that whoever reads these lines aloud will die. It is about a poem by Yomota Inuhiko called Tomino's Hell which evokes the condemnation of a young boy who committed atrocious acts. Somewhat creepy all of that! In brief, a murderous poem that is best left unspoken. The Japanese horror legend echoes Gloomy Sunday, a famous Japanese song that caused a wave of suicide in the 1930s.

🤐 6. Kuchisake Onna, the slit-mouthed woman

Kuchisake Onna

 Credits: @Matakoura on DeviantArt.com

This urban legend is very well known in Japan. It is about a very beautiful lady of the Edo period, who fell victim of her jealous husband. As he suspected his wife of being unfaithful to him, a samurai decided to slit her mouth in revenge. While mutilating his wife, he yelled at her "Who will think you are beautiful now?" and then murdered her. After her death, the disfigured deceased turned into an onryo (vengeful spirit). Driven by anger, she does not hesitate to kill young children or men according to the versions. It is said that she wanders in the forests at night, her face hidden under a surgical mask, asking passers-by "Am I beautiful?" If the answer is yes, she will remove her mask and retort, "Even like this?" No matter your answer, she will slit your mouth. However, you can still escape by returning the question to her. 

🏰 7. Hitobashira, the human sacrifice of Maruoka Castle


 Credits: @Guang-Yang on DeviantArt.com

Did you know that in Japan, human sacrifice was practiced until the 17th century in order to preserve buildings from natural disasters. People were buried alive or even walled up near bridges, temples or castles, as offerings to the kami. This rite was called Hitobashira (human pillar). Oshizu was unfortunately one of them. The Maruoka castle was built in the Sengoku period and was an important monument in Japan, however, the keep always collapsed. It was necessary to find a way to stabilize the foundations. That's when the idea of adding a human pillar came up. A woman named Oshizu agreed to be walled up alive in exchange for making her son a samurai... only the promise was not kept. Her tears have flooded the castle moat every year since.

👻 8. Kiyotaki, the legend of the cursed tunnel

Kiyotaki tunnel

Source : https://www.patreon.com/posts/haunted-kiyotaki-12927150

This horror story is a very popular one in Japan and is about a haunted tunnel. The underground passage connecting Arashiyama to Sagakiyotaki was founded in the early 19th century under atrocious conditions. Many workers are said to have died of accidents or exhaustion during its construction. It is therefore not surprising that lost souls are haunting the place. It is said that a white lady or other ghosts causing traffic accidents might be encountered in the tunnel. Moreover, the Kiyotaki tunnel is 444 meters long and, remember, the number 4 is cursed in the archipelago. So, if you happen to drive through this corridor of darkness, be careful while driving.

🧟‍♂ 9. Aka Manto, will you make the right choice?

Aka Manto

 Credits: @ShinySmeargle on DeviantArt.com

Decidedly, Japanese toilets are the subject of many urban legends. After the legend of Hanako San, the toilet girl, here is the story of Aka Manto, a young man with a red coat. He was regularly harassed by his classmates, and then he decided to end his life in the toilet. Since then, the deceased has been taking revenge on all those who go to relieve themselves. Rumors say that he asks users if they prefer red or blue paper. There is no right answer, if you choose the first he will kill you in a pool of blood and if you opt for the second you will be strangled.

🐮 10. Gozu or cow's head, the terrorizing story


 Credits: @RyuHoshi-DeadCrow on DeviantArt.com

If one does not exactly know the content of this story, it is better not to tell it at the risk of being condemned to die. Gozu is an evil spirit with the appearance of a cow head. During a school trip, a teacher, not knowing how to calm his dissipated students, had the bad idea of telling this horror legend. The demon then came and took possession of his body. By the time the teacher had finished telling the story, the bus had crashed and all the students were lying on the ground in agony. None of the survivors could remember the Japanese horror story that had caused this tragedy.

🏚 11. Inunaki village, a cursed place without faith or law


 Credits: @RyuHoshi-DeadCrow on DeviantArt.com

Ever heard of the legend of the ghost village in Fukuoka Prefecture, completely isolated from civilization? In Inunaki, no law is applied as the sign at the entrance can attest. Thus, in the midst of murders and barbarism, chaos reigns. There is also a rumor that electrical appliances do not work in this mysterious place. The urban legend of the Inunaki village has never been verified as no one ever returns from this cursed place. However, it is known that the village has gradually become depopulated due to urbanization.

🌳 12. Aokigahara, the suicide forest


Credits: @thatbruno on DeviantArt.com

Probably the most haunted place in Japan, Aokigahara is a vast forest located at the bottom of the famous Mount Fuji.... Set on a lava flow dating from the 9th century, it is populated by many conifers. It is known as "The Sea of Trees" or "Jukai" in Japanese. Very dark and dense, people say that whoever ventures into this mass of vegetation, does not come out. Indeed, it is easy to get lost, especially since the forest covers 35km2. Moreover, it is tragically reputed for its numerous suicides. Ribbons left by people to find their way back, objects and sometimes corpses are said to be found along the way. Aokigahara forest is really frightening.


Do you know other Japanese urban legends that will make our blood run cold? Share them with us in the comments.

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November 08, 2022


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