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Chiba-ken or Chiba Prefecture is located in the Kanto region of Japan and is well-known for being the home of Tokyo Disneyland and the Narita Airport.
In the late 7th century, Japan used to be divided into provinces (Ryoseikoku) and Chiba Prefecture was also divided into Shimosa, Kazusa, and Awa.
In Chiba, many mythical stories and legends are related to temples and shrines that are still present throughout the area.
Many legends surround the region and between them, there are also tales of yokai and types of yokai specific to the region of Chiba.
What are Yokai (妖怪)?
Yokai are demons/spirits and monsters that belong to the Japanese Folklore. They are also known under the name of ayakashi, mamono, or Mononoke. Some of the most known yokai in Japan are kappa (rive-child), tengu (heavenly dog), that are equally considered to be Shinto gods(kami), and Oni (appearance of an ogre).
Types of Yokai and Mythical objects in Chiba Prefecture
Tengu no Ryobun（天狗の領分）
Tengu no Ryobun, literally translated as Tengu’s Territory is a stone, surrounded by a mysterious atmosphere that has been a myth in the Kimitsu area in Japan.
It is said that if you see this stone, the mountain to come will be an area where Tengu live in, so you should not go farther than that point.
Okori no Kami（瘧鬼）(in Sakura City)
Written with the kanji from “Malaria”, it was believed that this is the cause for the disease. If you caught the disease, people would believe that putting 100 shikimi (Japanese star anise) leaves into the river would help.
Onna no Kubi (女の首/Women’s neck) in Inzai
It is said that this yokai appears in front of people to surprise them and some legends say that the yokai also wears a kimono.
KuriTanuki (栗実狸) in Kururi
Kuritanuki is a raccoon dog type of yokai that is said to have been ruining the fields.
Yamankami is believed to live in the mountains, and it is said to be similar to Tengu. It has the appearance of a massive man with a bright red face similar to an ogre’s and it is also stated to be a mountain god.
Patapata (ぱたぱた) in Noda
I think Patapata is one of my favorites. Pata Pata represents the sound of someone running in sandals and it is believed that the Patapata yokai follows people from behind and makes this “Pata Pata Pata” (tap tap tap) sound with the straw sandals.
The legend has its origins in the Itsuki Village and even if you turn around, there is no one behind. Some say the foxes might be playing a prank on them, too.
Those are my top six yokai and mythical objects that can be found in Chiba Prefecture, but I assure you there’s a lot more to discover.
When you come to Japan, how about starting a journey in discovering other legends of the villages in Chiba and what Yokai can be found in their surroundings.