Tsuchinoko Japanese Snake Cryptid

Tsuchinoko – Japan

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The tsuchinoko is a snake-like cryptid in Japanese folklore. According to legend, some tsuchinoko have the ability to speak. Not only speak, but lie! It is also said that they have a taste for alcohol! Many also believe that it can sometimes swallow its own tail so that it can roll downhill like a wheel. And while all this sounds incredibly far-fetched, there are many who do actually believe that the tsuchinoko is a real Japanese snake and that it exists in the rural areas of the countryside.

In recent years there has been a renewed interest in the tsuchinoko and there have been many reports of sightings. Not only that, the Tsuchinoko is a popular subject in Japanese folk art and literature and it has been featured in many anime and manga series, as well as video games.

Cryptid Name:Tsuchinoko
Location:Rural areas of Japan
Tsuchinoko Location Map
Category:Reptilian Cryptid.
Description:Snake-like cryptid with a plump, round body and thin tail. Sometimes described as resembling a beer bottle.
Size:Varies in length, typically described as being around 30 to 80 cm (1 to 2.6 feet) long.
Behavior/Characteristics:Elusive serpent that can jump for up to 2 meters; venomous bite; lives near water.
Diet:Frogs, insects, and small animals.
Habitat/Environment:Rural and wooded areas, marshes, riverbanks.
Evidence:No scientific evidence, mostly based on folklore and anecdotal accounts.
Sightings and Encounters:Numerous reported sightings and stories passed down through generations.
Skepticism/Explanations:Widely considered a legend/myth; potential misidentifications of real animals such as snakes or salamanders; hoaxes or exaggerations.

What is a Tsuchinoko & What Does It Look Like?

The tsuchinoko is a legendary Japanese serpent that is said to live in the rural areas of Japan. It is described as being a stubby snake between 30 and 80 centimeters long with a disproportionately thick body and a long thin tail. It is said to have scaly skin like a snake that is speckled in different dark brown, black, and gray colors as well as a yellowish belly.

Tsuchinoko Picture
Drawing of the tsuchinoko from the Shinano-Kishōroku (1834)

The tsuchinoko hates direct sunlight and it actively hunts at night. It is also believed to hibernate. The local people say that the snake likes to live near water.

It is believed that the tsuchinoko is able to jump up to 1 meter high followed by a second jump while still in the air. And as mentioned before, many believe that it can swallow its own tail so that it can roll at great speeds while hunting.

The tsuchinoko is believed to be a very shy cryptid and it is rarely seen by humans. It is also said to have a venomous bite while another notable feature is that it is said to make very distinctive chirping or squeaking sounds.

Is The Tsuchinoko Real?

Tsuchinoko Japanese Snake Cryptid

There is a lot of speculation as to whether the tsuchinoko is real with many believing that it is. In fact, there is a festival dedicated especially to this mythical Japanese serpent which takes place in the Japanese village of Higashishirakawa.

The Tsuchinoko Festival

The Tsuchinoko Festival is celebrated every year and hundreds of people gather to go hiking through the forests to search for this very elusive serpent.

In fact, according to the Higashishirakawa website, if you can capture a tsuchinoko alive, you can win a prize of 1 million yen! The next festival is going to be held on the 3rd of May 2024 so if you would like to become an official Tsuchinoko cryptid hunter, best you book your tickets now!

Where Are Tsuchinoko Found?

The Tsuchinoko has been spotted all over Japan, from the Iwate Prefecture in the north to Kagoshima in Kyushu in the south. However, it seems that the Higashishirakawa Village has the most sightings and eyewitness reports.

Main Tsuchinoko Sightings In Higashishirakawa Village

There have been many tsuchinoko sightings in Higashishirakawa Village over the years with the main ones being recorded by the village people. These are some of the main sightings that have been recorded from 1946 to 1990. 

DateEyewitness InitialsDescription
August 1990Mr. UKMr. UK was mowing the grass on the riverbed when he saw the snake. He described it as thick as an arm and glittering silver.
May 1990YFSighted near the house. The witness described the snake as being short and fat and initially thought that it was a bottle lying in the grass.
Around 1990Mr. JFThe serpent was spotted near Sakura Pass. The witness described the snake as being round with almost no tail.
September 1988Ms. MISeen in a mulberry field in Magarizaka. It was described as being 35 cm long with a torso of about 6cm.
May 1988Ms. MYMs. MY spotted the serpent in a tea plantation near her home. She described it as being about 40cm long and about the size of a beer bottle. She said it was gray in color with shiny skin.
November 1987Mr. TIThe snake was seen in a gutter of a rice field.
July 1987SFSeen moving in a the tea plantation. Described as looking like a dark beer bottle.
June 1987KYSeen in a tea plantation. Also described as appearing to shine.
June 1983FGSnake spotted near their home.
1982SOSpotted near Kuwabatake. About 40 cm in length.
Around 1975Mr. YYSeen at the front of the witness’s house. Only the head was visible, and the inside of the mouth was red.
Around 1973Mr. YMSighted at Magarizaka. Mr. YM described the serpent as being gray in color and having a thin tail.
July 1949AISeen at Maeyama’s field. Gray in color.
Around 1946Mr. TYMr. TY saw the snake twice at home and once at Sakuratoge.

What Is Tsuchinoko In English?

In English, tsuchinoko translates to “child of the hammer” or “child of dirt”.

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