The term Yokai in Japanese is derived from Yo, meaning sorcery, and Kai, meaning eerie manifestations.
Yokai are supernatural spirits deeply rooted in Japanese culture and folklore and they come in various types, ranging from malevolent entities to benevolent ones that bring good luck.
They can even take on humanoid forms, appear animal-like, or even manifest as monstrous demons.
Let’s explore the best anime with Yokai, allowing us to delve into the fascinating world of these mysterious creatures.
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20. Yo-kai Watch
Yokai Watch is the animated adaptation of the Nintendo DS video game of the same name, adding to the franchise’s offerings. It consists of multiple series, with the first one premiering in 2014.
The story follows a young boy named Keita, who stumbles upon a mysterious watch. Upon wearing it, he encounters Whisper, a ghostly butler, who reveals the watch’s power: it allows him to see yokai, supernatural creatures.
This discovery marks the beginning of Keita’s adventures, as he teams up with his newfound yokai friends to experience unimaginable journeys.
Yokai Watch is an excellent franchise centered around the world of yokai, but we’re not entirely convinced that the animated version is the best way to experience it.
We recommend trying to access it with the videogame, the original source, and turning to the anime only if it’s your only option.
Yo-kai Watch is also one of the best anime with ghosts and spirits that we recommended in the past due to its simplicity.
19. The Morose Mononokean
The Morose Mononokean is a school comedy with supernatural overtones. Released in 2016, it has 13 episodes.
Ashiya spent the first 7 days of his high school life in the infirmary because of a small evil yokai that latched onto him.
Desperate, he ends up asking for help from the owner of a small tea room called Mononokean, which carries a reputation for solving such problems.
We will follow a series of mysterious stories involving the grumpy owner of Mononokean as he guides the yokai, who wander this way, to the other world.
The Morose Mononokean is quite a classic spirit-related problem-solving anime, with the task of making them transcend to the other world.
But it all comes with an excellent light comic atmosphere that will keep you entertained from the first episode to the last.
18. The Eccentric Family
The Eccentric Family is an interesting and quite underrated series released in 2013 with 13 episodes.
Set in Kyoto, it follows the story of the Shimogamo family, consisting of 2 married parents, 4 children, and 2 grandparents. But what makes them a different family is a peculiar secret.
All the members of the family are Tanuki, the legendary raccoon dogs of Japanese folklore that can turn into whatever they want, which is how they pretend to be human.
The Eccentric Family is a little animation gem that encompasses a simple yet interesting story with quality animations and designs.
So if you are looking for an out-of-the-box series but still in the realm of supernatural anime with yokai and spirits, you can’t miss it for any reason.
Sarazanmai is an original anime series from 2019 consisting of 11 episodes that skillfully combines the world of yokai with elements of comedy, adventure, and fantasy.
Set in Asakusa, Tokyo, the story follows three middle school boys who encounter a yokai named Keppi, a Kappa who claims to be the ruler of his kingdom.
In an unexpected turn of events, Keppi transforms these three boys into Kappa as well, informing them that to regain their human forms, they must assist him.
But concurrently, two policemen are investigating their mysterious disappearances.
Sarazanmai offers a vibrant and enjoyable anime experience within the realm of yokai series.
It presents an over-the-top narrative filled with mystery and boasts excellent, vivid animation.
16. Girl Demon Zakuro
Girl Demon Zakuro is an interesting 2010 anime that combines spirits and yokai with a setting of ancient Japan.
The story is set in the Meiji Era, in a Japan where humans and demons coexist, although not always peacefully.
To address the frequent conflicts between the two races, the government established a Ministry of Spirit Affairs. This ministry is composed of a group of fox-eared yokai girls who are meant to collaborate with a delegation of young human soldiers.
We will follow the story of Zakuro, the sole member of the ministry who is half human and half demon, who possesses a strong demonic personality but also a deep human sensitivity.
Girl Demon Zakuro is a captivating series that you will love if you want to combine yokai and spirits with a well-crafted alternative historical setting.
All with several romantic subplots, making the series even more complete and worth a watch.
15. GeGeGe no Kintaro
GeGeGe no Kitaro is an iconic series in Japan, renowned for its role in popularizing yokai in modern culture.
Due to its immense popularity, an animated series has been adapted for each decade from the 1960s to 2018, totaling 6 series.
Each of these series presents the manga’s story in a different manner, except for the 2008 series, which delves into Kitaro’s origins.
This means that, apart from the 2008 series, you can choose which version to watch, as each offers a unique and distinct interpretation of the story.
What unites them all is the presence of Kitaro, a young yokai and the last survivor of his tribe, along with his father. His mission is to maintain peace between humans and yokai, a task that proves challenging at times.
GeGeGe no Kitaro is arguably the most iconic and well-known series in the realm of strictly yokai-themed anime.
So, given its significance, it’s an essential addition to your collection if you have an interest in this subgenre.
14. Hozuki’s Coolheadedness
Hozuki’s Coolheadedness is a comedy anime set in a fantasy and supernatural world, aired in 2014 with 13 episodes.
The story revolves around Hozuki, the right-hand man of Yama, the ruler of the underworld and judge of the afterlife.
Despite his compassionate appearance, Hozuki is incredibly sadistic as he deals with various problems in the spirit world.
Hozuki’s Coolheadedness is a lighthearted and humorous anime that combines the typical comedy anime atmosphere with a supernatural setting and some good animations.
13. Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan is a 2010 anime consisting of 26 episodes that you’ll love if you enjoy well-written stories involving Yokai.
The plot follows the story of Rikuo Nura, a boy who is part human and part demon, who lives in a yokai-filled house with his grandfather, the commander of all demons, the Nurarihyon.
The boy is destined to become the head of the clan after his grandfather’s death, but Rikuo isn’t interested in such a position.
For this sake, he tries to rebel against his demon part and his grandfather’s expectations to live the life he has always wanted and not the made-up one.
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan is a tale of growth, personal journey, and transformation, all in a setting full of different types of yokai, spirits and more.
You’ll become fond of Rikou as he discovers his role in the world and forges his own path, different from the one that was predestined for him.
RIN-NE is an anime that blends action, comedy, supernatural, and school life. It was released in 2015 and consists of 75 episodes, adapted from one of the most recent manga of the legendary Rumiko Takahashi.
The story follows Sakura Mamiya, a girl who has possessed the ability to see yokai since a young age.
She crosses paths with Rinne Rokudo, her classmate, who is actually a half-human and half-shinigami, with the duty to assist lost souls lingering on Earth in finding peace.
Their encounter leads to an unusual partnership that embarks on various adventures involving spirits.
RIN-NE is a series you shouldn’t miss if you’re seeking a dose of adorable and heartfelt romance with your yokai anime.
All while it boasts excellent character design, a trademark feature of works by Rumiko Takahashi.
11. Kakuriyo – Bed & Breakfast with Spirits
Kakuriyo -Bed & Breakfast for Spirits- is a 26-episode anime released in 2018 based on a light novel.
Aoi, a college student proud of her cooking skills, possesses the ability to see yokai inherited from her grandfather.
One fateful day, she is kidnapped by Ayakashi, the manager of the Heavenly Inn, who claims her as a bride to settle her grandfather’s debts.
Instead of accepting the proposal, Aoi decides to work at the inn to repay her grandfather’s debts. And as she becomes skilled in cooking and managing the inn, she gradually develops feelings for Ayakashi.
But the special feature of this particular inn is that it is full of yokai and spirits, so expect many adventures about it.
Kakuriyo is a fantastic choice if you are looking for a slice-of-life series with fantasy overtones full of yokai and other creatures, with plenty of comedy and cute moments.
10. Beyond the Boundary
Beyond the Boundary is an anime that has action, mystery, romance and supernatural, launched in 2013.
Akihito Kanbara is a half-human, half-yomu with the power to regenerate wounds. One day he runs into Mirai Kuriyama, a girl with special powers and a yomu hunter.
The two, despite being each other’s sworn enemies, decide to form an alliance to face the impending danger, which will develop into even deeper feelings as they discover their dark pasts.
As you may have already guessed, the Yomu in this one are obviously inspired by yokai, so the inclusion of this series in the list is totally apt.
Beyond the Boundary is an excellent anime if you are looking for a light, simple series with many tender scenes, but one that does not disdain the inclusion of many high-intensity action scenes.
It also features some excellent animation, so don’t underestimate it.
xxxHOLiC is a 2006 anime consisting of 24 episodes, rich in mystery, psychological, and supernatural themes.
Kimihiro Watanuki is a young student gifted with the ability to see yokai and creatures that are supposed to be invisible and for this, he also seems to have a strong attraction to them.
One day, he encounters Yuko, a mysterious woman who claims she can solve his supernatural problem in exchange for several favors.
That’s how the intriguing relationship between the two characters begins, leading them to become entangled in various mysteries and adventures involving spirits.
xxxHolic is a good show due to its combination of supernatural elements, mystery, and a slice-of-life plot structure, all packed in 24 episodes.
8. Yu Yu Hakusho
Yu Yu Hakusho is a fighting anime released in the 1990s in 112 episodes adapted from a manga by the same author of Hunter x Hunter.
The story centers around Yusuke Urameshi, a young delinquent with a compassionate heart, who sacrifices himself to save a child during an accident.
Impressed by his selfless act, the Spirit King offers him a chance to return to life as the detective of the spiritual world.
Yu Yu Hakusho is undeniably one of the most iconic and exceptional vintage fighting anime ever made, and it’s not even a debate.
And what’s fortunate for you is that it’s set within a fantastical and supernatural realm teeming with yokai, demons, and more, so it’s perfect for this list.
If these characteristics align with the type of anime you’re seeking and you haven’t experienced it yet, there’s absolutely no reason for you to overlook it.
7. A Letter to Momo
A Letter to Momo is a beautiful anime movie from the summer of 2011 that combines fantasy, spirits, and adventure.
Dear Momo. These were the only two words written in the last letter left by the girl’s recently dead father.
Even after moving with her mother to a small Japanese island, Momo can think of nothing else but what her father would have wanted to say to her before he died.
But one day an event happens that changes the girl’s life: Momo will find a book in her attic, and from there, a chain of strange supernatural events involving yokai and other strange stuff will begin.
A Letter to Momo is your choice if you are looking for a movie that brings together yokai, fantasy, adventure, and a touch of mystery.
All with a cute ending that will warm your heart as the truth finally comes out.
Noragami is a popular anime that merges action, comedy, and supernatural elements across two seasons by far.
The story follows the unusual duo of Yato, a minor deity, and Hiyori, an ordinary schoolgirl.
One day, Hiyori saves Yato from a car accident and takes the hit instead of him, causing her soul to become unstable and unable to return to her body.
Yato then sets out to save her by giving her body back, but a deep web of events is about to begin…
Noragami is a great choice if you’re into action anime with humor, set in a supernatural world filled with a lot of Yokai, gods and demons.
All of this, with a touch of romance, makes this series simply an excellent choice on this list.
5. Kamisama Kiss
Kamisama Kiss is a sweet romantic anime based on a shojo manga that came out in 2012.
The story centers around Nanami Momozono, the main protagonist, whose life takes a dramatic turn when her father disappears, leaving her burdened with a significant amount of debt and without a home.
In a twist of fate, Nanami comes to the aid of a mysterious traveler named Mikage, saving him from a rabid dog.
Grateful for her kindness, Mikage offers her a place to stay, which turns out to be a shrine inhabited by various spirits and yokai, including Tomoe, a fox-eared boy who becomes particularly intrigued by Nanami.
Kamisama Kiss is one of the top choices on this list if you want to blend the typical elements of a supernatural and Yokai anime with a compelling romance plot that takes center stage in the story.
Inuyasha is an iconic anime based on the manga by the legendary Rumiko Takahashi, the legendary Queen of Manga.
The story follows Kagome, an ordinary eighth-grade student who unexpectedly falls down a well in her home’s garden and is transported 500 years into the past, to the Sengoku era.
In this era, Kagome discovers that she is the reincarnation of Kikyo, a powerful priestess who had the responsibility of protecting the Shikon Jewel, a dangerous object coveted by villains.
Teaming up with Inuyasha, a half-demon with canine-like traits, Kagome embarks on a journey to safeguard the sacred jewel from falling into the wrong hands.
Inuyasha is one of the best examples, if not the best, of how to masterfully combine a fantastic action and fantasy storyline full of spirits and yokai with a remarkably well-crafted romance.
Inuyasha is a modern classic that is steadily gaining recognition as a cult favorite, much like many of Rumiko Takahashi’s other works.
So, if you’re reading this list and haven’t watched it yet, be sure to add it to your watchlist as soon as possible because it’s a cult.
3. Natsume’s Book of Friends
Natsume’s Book of Friends combines supernatural and fantasy elements with the slice-of-life genre, creating a distinctive mix.
Like his grandmother Reiko, Natsume has inherited the gift of perceiving yokai.
Reiko used to challenge these yokai, and upon defeating them, she would claim ownership of their names by inscribing them in the Book of Friends.
Now in possession of the book, Natsume embarks on a new journey, encountering vengeful spirits and others who seek her assistance.
The art of Natsume’s Book of Friends is probably one of the strongest suites and we consider it fitting with the theme of yokai.
Mononoke is a stunning experimental anime that will captivate you with its style and atmosphere.
With only 12 episodes, it takes us on a journey following the adventures of a nameless character who confronts and destroys Mononoke, evil Yokai that feed off negative human emotions.
The series is divided into 5 distinct stories, each spanning two to three episodes.
And this division adds an interesting dynamic to the pacing of the series, keeping it engaging and immersive without breaking the pacing.
Mononoke presents a spectacular feudal Japanese setting infused with fantasy and a lot of yokai that take center stage.
All with some of the strangest animations you can find, which are amazing to watch.
But even if you don’t care about spirits, consider watching this hidden gem due to its avant-garde style.
Mushishi is a 2005 anime released in 26 episodes that we consider to be one of the best anime ever.
Mushishi follows the story of Ginko, a serious and composed character who is a Mushishi.
Mushishi are experts in dealing with Mushis, mysterious creatures with unknown origins and habits. Coexistence with these creatures is often complicated for humans, hence the need for specialists.
Each episode of Mushishi explores a different mushi, which are heavily inspired by Yokai, presenting self-contained stories told in a slow, reflective, and artistic manner, like a hypnotic atmosphere.
Mushishi is not an anime for everyone, if you want pure entertainment and something action-oriented, skip it altogether.
If you are up to new experiences, then this anime is the right fit.