the online database of Japanese folklore



Translation: cliff child
Alternate names: kakiwarō
Habitat: cliffs
Diet: omnivorous

Appearance: Takiwaro are child-sized mountain spirits found in Yamaguchi Prefecture and other parts of western Japan. They are small and hairy, with long, elastic arms and short legs. Overall they resemble monkeys.

Behavior: Takiwaro are found along seaside cliffs, from which they get their name. They are more frequently seen during the rainy season. They live as mountain spirits on top of the cliffs for three years, during which they are called takiwaro. Then they migrate into the seas and transform into kappa-like water spirits called enko. They live as enko for three years, and then climb back up the cliffs and become takiwaro once again.

Origin: Takiwaro are considered to be a species of kappa. In many regions, kappa (and their local variants) are said to migrate periodically from the water into the mountains, changing from amphibious water spirits into a monkey-like mountain spirits as they travel. How often this occurs and other details vary from place to place, but the large number of migrating kappa-like yokai adds weight to this theory. Hyōsube, shibaten, takiwaro, and yamawaro are examples of the mountain aspects of these yōkai, while kappa, kawa akago, kawa otoko, kenmun, enkō, garappa, and gankigozō are examples of their water aspects.

Alphabetical list of yōkai