Hibagon: Are There Large Apes Living in the Forests of Japan?

The Mystery of the Japanese Bigfoot: Hibagon
Could Japanese forests be home to an Asian variety of the North American Bigfoot?
(Photo by Master Hughes from Pixabay)

Mysterious Encounters in Japanese Forests

When we think of Bigfoot,  immediate picture of the Pacific Northwest of the United States comes to mind, where numerous sightings have made it a part of American folklore. However, did you know that Japan has its own Bigfoot that roams the forests of the country?

This creature is known as "Hibagon" and for decades, people in Japan have claimed to come across this enigmatic big ape, which leaves behind footprints and other evidence.

In this post, we will look at the folklore, sightings, and thoughts surrounding Japan's Bigfoot phenomenon.

Bigfoot in Japanese culture

Japanese forests are known for their challenging terrain and enigmatic atmosphere. Stories about legendary creatures that should reside in these isolated locations have been told for centuries. In fact, several candidates from Japanese folklore can work as models for Bigfoot. Let's take a closer look

Bigfoot in Japanese culture
Although Japan is a very populous country, more than half of its land is covered by forests

One of the first candidates we'll be discussing is Yamawaro

While their appearance and behavior vary, there are some common elements. Yamawaros are described as creatures resembling monkeys, with shaggy fur, long limbs, and a human face.

Smaller than an adult human and communicating with each other through a series of calls and signals, they are shown carrying basic tools such as knives or axes.

Living in remote areas of the mountains, far away from humans, they approach humans out of curiosity and their liking for pranks.

Yamawiro often approaches lonely travelers and tries to play practical jokes on them

In some tales, Yamawaros are helpful, assisting in navigating the treacherous mountain terrain. Other times, they just want to make humans look foolish.

The origin of Yamawaro is unclear but is believed to be based on traditional beliefs about the spirits of the mountains.

Another creature of Japanese folklore similar to Bigfoot is Yamabiko, who
 is depicted as a creature resembling a monkey but with a human-like face. In some areas, it is shown with a bear-like body.

Yamabiko is usually shown as a playful creature, often smiling widely while perched on a branch or hovering in the air. Its playful nature has made him a popular subject in Japanese anime and manga.

Yamabiko has amazing mimicking skills, able to copy a variety of sounds. Yamabiko might imitate a lost traveler's voice calling for help, leading people deeper into the forest. It can also mimic a person's companion or their own voice, causing confusion.

In some stories, Yamabiko's mimicking abilities are used for more benevolent purposes. For example, he mimics the sound of a nearby stream or waterfall to help guide a lost traveler back to civilization. It may also mimic the sound of a bird or animal to warn people of impending danger, such as an approaching storm.

Another on our list of Japanese Bigfoot-like creatures is Satori

The Bigfoot Phenomenon in Japan
The Depiction of Satori

Satori is a supernatural creature from Japanese mythology depicted as a large, ape-like creature. The name "Satori" comes from the Japanese word for "enlightenment" or "understanding," and originated from Zen Buddhism. In Japanese folklore, Satori is believed to read people's minds.

Some people, including forest monks known as Yamabushi, claim to have seen Satori in the forest as a large, ape-like creature with piercing eyes. In traditional Japanese folklore, Satori is depicted as a creature that should be avoided at all costs.

Satori is said to be able to enter the minds of those who wander in the forest, leading them to dangerous situations, or causing panic attacks.


Hibagon is a legendary creature from Japan, often thought to be a North American Bigfoot cousin. The name "Hibagon" comes from the Japanese words "hi," meaning fire or flames, and "bagon," meaning a hairy wild man. According to local tales, Hibagon inhabits the rugged mountains of the northern part of Hiroshima prefecture, particularly around the border between Hiroshima and Okayama.

The first recorded sighting of Hibagon happened in 1970, when several people claimed to have seen a large, ape-like creature. Subsequently, numerous reports of Hibagon encounters have surfaced, often accompanied by strange noises, footprints, and other evidence.

On the track of the Bigfoot creature of Japanese forests
While hiking in Japan, be careful as you can cross paths with Hibagon:)

Reported Encounters with Hibagon

In 1974, a group of hunters claimed to have seen Hibagon in the woods near the village of Hiba, in the northern part of Hiroshima prefecture. They described Hibagon as approximately six feet tall, covered in black or dark brown hair, and walking upright like a human. They tried to approach it, but it quickly disappeared into the forest.

In 1980, a group of hikers reported seeing Hibagon while climbing a mountain in the Hiba area. They described Hibagon as massive, with shaggy hair and a face resembling a human. The hikers said that it was standing on two legs and staring at them for several minutes before disappearing in the bushes.

In 2000, a man claimed to have encountered Hibagon while he was camping near the city of Okayama in Japan. He heard strange noises from the woods and saw a large, hairy creature walking upright. The man said that Hibagon screamed loudly as it came near him, then ran away fast.

These instances are just a few of the many reported sightings of Hibagon. Some people doubt its existence, while others are convinced that Hibagon is real.

Is the existence of such big apes in Japanese forests plausible?

Despite centuries of folklore and occasional sightings, the need for real scientific proof dims the believability of such creatures in Japan's forests. Firstly, the ecology of Japanese forests offers little chance for large, undocumented species of apes to thrive without leaving a trace. The flora and fauna of these forests have been extensively cataloged, leaving scant room for uncharted territories where such creatures could hide. Furthermore, the scarcity of suitable food sources and habitat space presents a formidable obstacle for any large ape seeking to establish a sustainable population in the forests of Japan. 

While folklore weaves tales of mysterious ape-like beasts lurking in forests, the scientific consensus leans towards a more grounded understanding: the Hibagon remain creatures of myth, forever enshrined in the lore of Japan's forests.


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