The ghost is so called the monster. But the things figure in Japanese history is unscientific and extraordinary things that has special power and make abnormal phenomenon that people could not understand. In Japanese, it is called “Ayakashi”, “Mononoke”, “Mamono”. Today, we will introduce the ghosts that figure in Japanese history.

About the Japanese Ghost

Among the Japanese ghost, “Oni” that show up in Kabuki would be the famous one, and “Kappa” that is often show up in Japanese old stories and said to live in the river and swamp is also well known. Aside from these, “Zashikiwarashi” that is said to stay with us and bring the good luck, “Nue” that has monkey head, raccoon dog body, tiger limbs, snake tail, ”Nopperabo” that has nothing on the surface the face that there are no eyes, nose, and mouth. There are a number of kinds of ghost in Japan. Some ghosts are not only scary in appearance, but also cause bad things. If you search more, you could find your favorite.

3 famous ghosts that has long history in Japan.


Oni is the ghost originally from China. They are said to possess a person and force him to hang himself. In China, it is called “Iki”. There are descriptions on Chinese old books. People tend to have a stereotype that Oni is scary. But there are some good Oni in each part of Japan. For example, in Tottori, there is a story that Oni had protected the village, and people have worshiped Oni as a goodness. Also in Aomori, there is a custom that people Oni is worshiped as a god and something sacred thing, not just be frightened as a ghost.

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Kappa is the amphibian ghost. His height is almost same as 4 or 5-years-old child and have a hooked beak. He is usually said to live in the river and swamp, and loves cucumber. Among the Makizushi (sushi made rolled in nori seaweed with a core of filling), the one that used cucumber is named “Kappa Maki“ after this story. He has a shell on his back, the other parts of body are filled with the scale. He also has a plate that stands for worship of water on top of his head, and this plate is the source of his power. He has webbed limbs and good at swimming. Kappa has a history at almost all part in Japan, and the name varies depending on the location.

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“Tengu” is the monster that is generally inhabiting in the mountain and has a red-face and quite tall nose, wing to fly and makes people stray into evil world. There are 3 kinds of Tengu such as “O-Tengu”, “Karasu-Tengu”, “Konoha-Tengu”, it suppose that the strongest Tengu is O-Tengu. He has big body and long nose. Tengu is thought to be highly ranked among all kinds of ghost, he can change his body constitution into huge Oni and human being. The word “Tengu” means “shooting stars” in Chinese. In China, shooting stars has been thought to be a bad omen. So the stereotype that Tengu is bad existence has been established.

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Let’s join the Ghost Story tour in Asakusa where the myth still exists.

Tokyo Ghost Story Tour

In Tokyo’s old city, Asakusa, there are various ancient folklore. In such city, there is the ghost story tour that allow us to have the frighten experience. In the tour, we will visit ghost house and hear the Japanese ghost stories. Let’s join the tour if you want to enjoy more about Japanese ghost story.