Top 10 Yokai Anime [Best Recommendations]

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Some of us are curious about the netherworld and spiritual beings but are too chicken to watch horror movies. A perfect alternative would be to watch yokai anime. This is because for some reason, animation really tones down the scariness level.

In fact, most of the yokai anime are not scary in the slightest that we can watch them at 3 am without feeling like there is someone, or something, behind us. For all you yokai anime lovers out there, here is a list of the 10 best yokai anime we have watched.

10. xxxHOLIC

  • Episodes: 24
  • Aired: Apr. 2006 – Sep. 2006

Nope, this is not a hentai genre. The “xxx” means [fill in the blank], so coupled with the suffix “holic”, it means that an individual is addicted to something, which depends on what the xxx is. Kimihiro Watanuki is cursed with the ability to see spirits. One day, he feels compelled to enter into a weird house. In the house, he meets Yuuko, whose job involves granting the wish of people. Yuuko tells Watanuki that she can get rid of Watanuki’s ability to see spirits on the condition that he works for her.

The lanky character design may take some getting used to, but if you can look past that, xxxHOLIC is pretty enjoyable to watch. If you are looking for a comedy type of yokai anime, this is not it. Aside from the spirit realm, the series explores various social phenomena and human behaviors which give the story a touch of seriousness.

9. Nurarihyon no Mago (Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan)

  • Episodes: 24
  • Aired: Jul. 2010 – Dec. 2010

Rikuo Nura seems like all the other middle school students. However, he lives in a house filled with yokai as his grandfather is the head of the yokai clan. Nura is expected to be the successor and take over the yokai clan one day, but he is simply not interested as he prefers to lead a normal life. There is also another side to Nura, which is that he can transform into a powerful being at night!

If you have an interest in the yakuza clan, you may be delighted to know that the characters of the yokai clan also portray a similar air of chivalry. In this series, not all yokai beings are bad, as some of them are as gentle as Casper the Friendly Ghost.

8. Kekkaishi

  • Episodes: 52
  • Aired: Oct. 2006 – Feb. 2008

Sugimura Yoshimura is a user of the kekkai which is a barrier used against demons. Users of kekkai are known as kekkaishi, and Yoshimori uses his kekkai to protect Karasumori High School, which boosts the ability of the demons that enter it. He isn’t so into fighting demons though, as he is more interested in baking cakes.

Kekkaishi is a shonen series which is action-filled, so it does not disappoint if that is what you are looking for in a yokai anime. Another of this series’ strength lies in its character developments and camaraderie among the characters.

7. Inuyasha

  • Episodes: 167
  • Aired: Oct. 2000 – Sep. 2004

Kagome Higurashi is dragged down in a well by a demon, but instead of dying or getting seriously injured for falling into the deep well, she finds herself 500 years in the past. Kagome has the Shikon Jewel that makes her a target of attack from a demon. With no other way to win against the demon, Kagome releases Inuyasha by removing an arrow from his body. Inuyasha manages to defeat the demon but the Shikon Jewel shatters into pieces.

Fighting against yokai is part of the adventure of Inuyasha and his friends, but it does not mean that the series has a serious tone to it all the time. There is a good mix of humor in it, and if you like the humor style evident in Ranma ½, you will love Inuyasha since it is a series by the same author! The series also explores the dilemma faced by Inuyasha for being half-human and half-yokai.

6. Youkai Watch (Yo-Kai Watch)

  • Episodes: Unknown
  • Aired: Jan 2014 - Current

Keita Amano seems like an ordinary and innocent elementary student, which he is, by the way. One day, while venturing deep into the forest, he stumbles upon a capsule which releases a yokai named Whisper. Thankful for the boy who releases the yokai after 190 years of imprisonment, Whisper vows to protect Keita from supernatural forces. Whisper also grants Keita a Yokai Watch which enables the user to see and interact with other yokai.

This series has been likened to be the next Pokemon or Digimon due to the smorgasbord of adorable yokai. Being granted with such an honor makes it seem like Youkai Watch is meant for kids, but older age groups can also enjoy this light-hearted and cute yokai series. The series mainly focuses on humor which really tickles the bone!

5. Gegege no Kitarou

  • Episodes: 65
  • Aired: Jan. 1968 – Mar. 1969

Gegege no Kitarou tells the story of a young ghost named Kitarou, who is born in a cemetery after his parents died. Kitarou spends his afterlife trying to help humans by protecting them against yokai that are up to no good. In the series, Kitarou faces a myriad of monsters from various countries, such as the Transylvanian Dracula IV and Chinese vampire, Yasha.

It is almost a sin to not include this series to the list. Gegege no Kitaro is the series which sparks the popularity of yokai manga and anime! The author of this series, Shigeru Mizuki, is also known as the father of yokai. The series is so popular that there is a road called Shigeru Mizuki Road, which is filled with statues of yokai from Gegege no Kitarou.

4. Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away)

  • Episodes: 1
  • Aired: Jul. 2001

Chihiro and her family bump into a deserted theme park while on their way home. Her parents investigate the park and eat the food left there, which angers the spirits that reside in the park. Therefore, the spirits transform Chihiro’s parents into pigs. Thus, Chihiro embarks on a quest to return her parents back to normal and go back home safely.

Spirited Away is the most successful film in the history of Japan. The film received various awards such as Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2003, and the Golden Bear at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival. If you want to find yourself immersed in an adventure in a strange world filled with yokai, then you should totally watch Spirited Away.

3. Natsume Yuujinchou (Natsume’s Book of Friends)

  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: Jul. 2008 – Sep. 2008

Takashi Natsume has the gift of being able to see spirits. It turns out that he was not the only one in the family who possesses the gift, as his grandmother could see spirits too. His deceased grandmother passes to him the Yuujinchou, or Book of Friends, which contains a list of spirits whom have been subdued by his grandmother. Following along Natsume’s adventure is a cute yokai cat, Madara, who is also fondly called Nyanko-sensei.

Watch this series if you want to know how Natsume tackles the world of yokai with the Book of Friends in his possession. The series also focuses on issues that humans can relate to, such as the loneliness of yokai and the desperation of yokai to be with their loved ones.

2. Hotarubi no Morie

  • Episodes: 1
  • Aired: Sep. 2011

Hotaru Takegawa is a 6-year-old girl who upon being curious about the tale of a mountain god, finds herself getting lost in an ancient forest which is inhabited by yokai and a mountain spirit. In the forest, she encounters a masked spirit named Gin, who tells Hotaru that he will disappear if any human touches him. Gin then leads Hotaru out of the forest safely. Since then, Hotaru regularly visits the forest until the two of them develop feelings for each other.

Hotarubi no Mori e is a story about the love between a human and a yokai that should not be with each other. It is a very touching story that will turn on the waterworks, so you will need to have some tissues on standby if you are going to watch this film!

1. Mushishi (Mushi-Shi)

  • Episodes: 26
  • Aired: Oct. 2005 – Jun. 2006

Mushishi is set in an imaginary time period which exists between the eras of Edo and Meiji. In the story, there are creatures known as Mushi, which exists everywhere. It is said that Mushi is the most primitive creatures of all. Nearly all humans cannot perceive Mushi but there are a few gifted individuals who can see those beings. One such individual who is bestowed with such capability is Ginko, a traveler who wants to learn more about Mushi and help others who suffer because of them.

There is only one main character in the series which is Ginko. If you are a lone ranger like Ginko, you may take pleasure in watching this series. We think Mushishi deserves the top spot as it has a highly original storyline which is very thought-provoking as well! It may not be as popular as some other series but we promise you that this is a top-notch anime.


We hope you enjoyed reading this list of Top 10 Yokai Anime! Truly, there are many great yokai anime within our considerations that did not manage to make it to the list, as we really want to choose the absolute best yokai anime to recommend to our readers. If there are any yokai anime which you think should be on the list, do recommend them to us, as we are also fans of yokai anime who want to watch more of them!



Author: IngoKnox

My ultimate dream is to be a pampered dog or a really cool anime character. Perhaps being an anime dog would work too.

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