6 Scariest Japanese Urban Legends

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6 Scariest Japanese Urban Legends


In terms of myths and horror, Japan is probably your number one source of scary stories to tell. Not only are these stories a part of their history and culture, but their fascination with supernatural elements, such as yokai (or the strange and supernatural creatures from Japanese folklore,) has always been apparent and has existed throughout the history of the country spanning several generations. 

Even though most of these are just urban legends and unlikely to happen especially in these modern times, they can still send a shiver down anyone's spine. Listed below are some of Japan's scariest urban legends.


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1. Kiyotaki Tunnel

The Kiyotaki Tunnel is one of the most infamous places in Japan and where several odd occurrences take place, many of which usually involve ghost sightings and other things related to the supernatural. From pedestrians to drivers, a number of people have reported that they have witnessed strange ghosts at the end of the tunnel or even at the backseat of their own cars. 

Some say that several drivers crash their cars due to being frightened by a supposed "ghost sighting." Even though it has yet to be confirmed where these ghosts come from, locals believe that they are the ghosts of ancient feudal Japanese soldiers while others claim that the said tunnel is haunted by the ghosts of the construction workers who died while working there. However, there are also speculations that the tunnel serves as a "spiritual gateway" from heaven to hell, which would explain the "ghost sightings" as they are spirits who are trying to cross to the other side.


Photo Credit: Medium


2. Teke-Teke ghost

The Teke-Teke ghost is based on an urban legend about a young woman who was pushed in front of an oncoming train, with the impact slicing her in half and instantly killing her. Legend says that this has caused her to become a vengeful spirit and kills anyone she encounters. 

The word "teke-teke" is a Japanese onomatopoeia for scratching, as the locals say that she crawls around only using her hands and elbows—and the scratching comes from the scythe she carries around. Even though the teke-teke ghost may not have legs, there are rumors saying that she can out-handrun a car and if she catches you at night, it will be almost difficult to escape from her. 

The tale usually differs once she catches you. She will cut you in half either to make you look like her or just steal your legs. 


Photo Credit: Vocal.media


3. Kuchisake-Onna

The tale of the Kuchisake-Onna or the slit-mouthed woman came from several reports in Japan during the 1970s, after reports were made of a woman wearing a mask and asking various kinds of strange questions to children. Eventually, a story had been formed. Some say the Kuchisake-Onna was the wife of a samurai and cheated on her husband. As revenge, the samurai cut open a Glasgow smile on her, which prompted her to commit suicide shortly after. 

The story goes that a woman wearing a mask will randomly ask you if you think she's beautiful. If you say no, she'll simply kill you. If you say yes, she'll reveal her face, letting you see her slit-open mouth. Afterward, she'll ask you again, if you still think she's beautiful. If you answer yes, she will cut a similar scar on your face and leave you with a slit mouth. Saying no will just lead her to slice you in half. 

There are very few (and somewhat strange) ways to escape her. According to locals, one way to escape her is by telling her that she looks "average" or "so-so" since this will confuse her, giving you enough time to escape. You can also throw fruit at her feet, which will prompt her to pick it up, giving you time to escape. Lastly, if you tell her that you are running late to meet your wife/husband, legends say that she will apologize and walk away—classic Japanese courtesy. 


Photo by: Double Brain via Shutterstock


4. Red Room

This urban legend is extremely frightening because it can happen to every internet-using individual. It usually starts off with a pop-up window, wherein you will have trouble getting rid of. If you do attempt to exit the program, you will see a bunch of names running across the screen—the victims of the Red Room.

Afterward, you will be attacked by an unseen entity and the computer will go black. Victims usually end up committing suicide or ripped open by a demon. Either way, the room will be painted red with the person's blood, hence the "Red Room."


Photo Credit: Medium


5. Hanako-san

Considered as the Japanese version of "Bloody Mary," the legend of Hanako-san or Torie no Hanako-san (Hanako of the toilet) starts off explaining that there was a former student who had been bullied so badly that she committed suicide, which resulted in her ghost haunting the girls' bathroom in an elementary school. There are many versions to the tale of Hanako, with the most popular one calling upon her spirit as a rite of passage for several elementary-aged children. 

To summon her spirit, all you have to do is stand in front of the third bathroom stall on the third floor, and knock on the door three times before asking: "Are you there, Hanako-san?" She will answer to confirm and if you choose to enter, you'll see a small girl with melancholic eyes wearing a red skirt. 


Photo Credit: Medium


6. The Fatal Fare

The Fatal Fare's story goes with a taxi driver picking up a male passenger in the middle of the night. Although the man gives him several directions, he doesn't really tell the driver an exact destination. By the time the taxi driver realizes that something is wrong, it's too late. If he looks back in the passenger seat, he'll see that the man is gone and his taxi is falling off a cliff.