Top 10 best Japanese folk fairy tales

In each country, there are unique fairy tales, fables, and folk tales with styles according to that country's cultural identity. Fairy tales in Japan are the same, they all have their own characteristics with classic stories about interesting things in life and are magically humanized. In today's article, please join us in exploring the best Japanese folk fairy tales through the article below.

1. UrashimaTaro

Once upon a time, in a village, there was a very kind boy named UrashimaTaro, who lived with his mother.

One day, when Urashima Taro was walking along the beach, he saw children bullying a large turtle. Urashima Taro immediately said to the children:

"The turtle is so pitiful, please let it go."

And so the turtle was released. One day a few days later, when Urashima Taro went to the sea to fish as usual, a turtle appeared from the sea and spoke.

“Urashima Taro, I am the turtle that you helped. Princess Otohime-sama wanted to thank you for your help, so I came to take you to Ryugu castle.”

Urashima Taro said “Are you going to take me to Ryugu castle? So let's go!".

Having said that, Urashima Taro climbed onto the turtle shell and entered the sea.

Ryugu Castle is a very beautiful castle, with many swimming fish, surrounded by beautiful red and pink coral. Princess Otohime-sama was a beautiful person who came out to welcome the turtle and Urashima Taro and the colorful fish.
“Thank you Urashima Taro for helping the turtle. Please take some time to rest here.”

Taro was led to a large room inside the castle and enjoyed many delicious dishes. Various types of sea creatures such as flounder, octopus... perform together in front of Taro.

Urashima Taro seemed to forget that time was passing and enjoyed this paradise-like place. After listening to Princess Otohime so many times to stay one more day, then another day... 3 years passed.

Urashima Taro suddenly remembered his mother and his village, so he thanked the princess and asked permission to leave.

The princess said: Are you coming back? If possible, please stay here?”

Urashima Taro refused, “No, there is someone waiting for my return.”
The princess replied with a sad voice:

"Really. I really want you to stay here forever, but there's no other way. Then take this Tamatebako magic box.”


“This box contains the “time” that Mr. Urashima spent at Ryugu castle. As long as you don't open it, Mr. Urashima will stay young forever. But once you open it, “time” will be turned back, so please don't open it.”

"Yeah I get it. Thank you princess.”

Urashima Taro broke up with Princess Otohime and was brought to the surface by a turtle. Returning to the ground, Urashima Taro looked around and was surprised. He couldn't see his mother or his house anywhere. It seemed like hundreds of years had passed while Taro stayed at the castle.

Taro was disappointed and looked at the box he was holding. Then he remembered what the princess said that if he opened the box, time would turn back. "So if I open it, I can come back?"
Then he opened the box. And from the box a white smoke flew out.

“Oh, this is…”

In that smoke, Taro saw Ryugu castle and the beautiful princess and the three years that Taro spent under the sea. The white smoke began to fade and what remained was Taro in the form of an old man with pure white hair and beard.

Urashima Taro doesn't know where he is now and whether this is a dream or reality.

Lesson: If you do good things, good things will come to you and never break a promise.

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2. Momotaro - Peach boy

Once upon a time, in Japan, there were two old men and women living together. One day, the old man went to the mountain to cut wood, and the old woman went to the river to wash clothes.

While the old woman was washing clothes, a large peach floated to her from upstream and she brought it home. The old woman intended to eat it with the old man and cut it with a kitchen knife. Suddenly, they discovered a baby inside. Grandfather and grandmother named the baby "Momotaro (Thai Lang Peach) born from peaches".

Momotaro grew up quickly and became a strong young man. One day, he said, "I will go to Onigashima (devil island) to exorcise the demon!" So his grandparents prepared luggage and Kibidango sticky rice cakes for him.

On the way to Onigashima, there was a hungry dog. Momotaro gave the dog a Kibidango cake and recruited him as his companion. Likewise, monkeys and pheasants were also recruited by him.

Momotaro went to Onigashima with his friends and defeated the demon. He brought back the treasures that the devil had robbed and lived comfortably with his grandparents. They lived happily ever after.

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3. Straw millionaire

Once upon a time, in a certain place, there lived a poor man. He is an honest person but has no luck at all, everything he does fails. So he went to pray to the Guanyin statue in the temple.

He was told by Buddha: "Leave the temple, take the first thing you touch and go west.".

As soon as he stepped outside the temple, he fell face down. As he fell, he accidentally grabbed a straw from the ground. He followed the instructions, carried the straw, and headed west.

Suddenly a horsefly flew from nowhere and landed on his face. No matter how he chased it, he refused to leave, so he grabbed it and tied it to the end of a straw.

He held the straw with the fly buzzing and continued west. He saw a mother and child, the mother confused because the baby was crying. When the child saw him holding a straw with a fly in it, he stopped crying. His mother asked him for a straw.

Remembering the instructions, at first he hesitated, but then when his mother begged and said she would give him some tangerines, he exchanged the straw for tangerines.

He continued to go west and was about to eat a tangerine when he saw a merchant on the road suffering from thirst. The merchant negotiated with him: "Give me the tangerines, I will give you the cloth.", and he agreed.

The roll of cloth was sold for quite a bit of money, but he did not sell it and continued to the West. This time he met a samurai who was confused because his horse fell ill. The boxer cannot continue with the sick horse so he is planning to reincarnate it. Our guy felt sorry for him so he exchanged cloth for a horse.

After that, he tried his best to take care of the horse until it recovered and could walk again. He got on his horse and continued going west. He arrived in front of a massive mansion.

Right at the moment the owner of the mansion was planning to set out to travel the world but had not prepared a horse in time. Seeing the guy riding a good horse, the owner suggested: “Please lend me the horse and take care of the mansion for me. If after three years I still don't come back, it will be yours."

He then accepted. The owner of the mansion has passed three years, five years have passed and still hasn't returned, so the mansion belongs to him. So the poor guy had a spacious house from a single straw.
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4. Saru Kani Gassen – Monkey and Crab fight

Once upon a time, there was a hungry monkey. When the Monkey saw that Crab had rice balls, he asked Crab to exchange the rice for persimmon seeds. Cua thought about it and thought it wasn't fair so he refused. But the clever Monkey said: "When you eat a grain of rice, that grain of rice will no longer exist, but when you plant a tree, the tree will not stop giving fruit." Crab thought it was reasonable and agreed to exchange the rice for seeds.

Crab planted persimmon seeds in a corner of his garden. Every day, I diligently watered and talked to the seeds: "If you don't sprout quickly, I will dig you up." The seeds heard that and were very scared, so they germinated quickly. The crab said: "If you don't grow into a big tree quickly, I will use scissors to cut you into pieces." The buds were also scared so they quickly grew into a tall tree. Finally, the Crab said: "Give me the fruit or I will cut you down." So the tree immediately bore fruit with heavy branches.

The persimmons ripen one after another. The monkey saw this and immediately climbed the tree and looked for the ripest fruit. Because the Crab crawled sideways and could not climb the tree, the Crab asked the Monkey to pick persimmons. "Okay" - Monkey said, but instead of picking the ripe red fruit, the Monkey threw the hard, green fruit at Crab's head, making her unconscious. Cua had to be bedridden for several days.
Cua's children were worried about their mother, so they ran around, crying, looking for Ong, Chestnut, Kim Khau and Stone Mill. They all worked out a plan to take revenge on Monkey.

As soon as Monkey left the house, Crab's men sneaked in to carry out their revenge plan: Chestnut hid in the stove, Baby Crab hid in the water basin, Bee was in the pot of miso soup, Kim Khau hid in the blanket and Coi Stone sits on the roof. Everyone waited for Monkey to return.

In the evening, Monkey returned. "Oh, it's so cold" - Monkey groaned softly and went to the stove, but there, Chestnut was already waiting to blow up the fire and burn Monkey. The monkey was so hot that he immediately ran to find a water bowl. Who would have thought that as soon as he bent down, he was surrounded by a bunch of baby crabs. At this time, Monkey ran to find a pot of miso to treat his burns, but Bees promptly flew out and stung Monkey from left to right. The monkey panicked and immediately crawled under the blanket to hide, but jumped up and shouted loudly because Kim Khau was already lying there. In the end, Monkey had to run away from home, but before he could get far, Coi Da came down from above and gave Monkey a painful blow to the head.

Monkey groaned and cried in pain: "I promise from now on I won't do it again!"
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5. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Kasa Jizou

Once upon a time, there was an old couple living in a village with heavy snowfall. Their family situation was very poor. When Tet came, they didn't even have mochi cakes to eat. Therefore, the couple worked together to make Kasa conical hats for the old man to sell on the street to earn money to buy mochi cakes to eat during the Tet season.

But sadly, he could not sell any conical hats. Outside, it started snowing again, so the old man had to remove all his hats and return home.

On the way back, he saw many statues of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva standing along the side of the road. "The snow falling all over the statue's head like this must be very cold...", the old man thought, then took out a Kasa conical hat and placed it on the statue's head. But when he got to the last statue, he didn't have enough hats, so he used his handkerchief to cover the last statue.

After that, the old man returned home empty-handed, and the old woman still welcomed him very warmly. She did not blame him for not being able to sell any hats to have money to buy mochi, but she also praised him for doing a good deed after hearing him tell how he took the unsold hats and donated them all to Ksitigarbha. Bodhisattva along the road.
That night, while they were sleeping, they were suddenly startled by a loud "Thud!" sound on the porch, it sounded like something very heavy had just fallen. When they opened the door, they were both very surprised. Suddenly, when I saw before my eyes there were so many delicious and strange things from the forest and the sea, along with so much gold, silver, and jewels, and looming in the distance were the shadows of statues of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva wearing a Kasa and conical hat. the handkerchief the old man gave me.
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6. Kaguya Hime – Princess in a bamboo tube

Long ago in Japan, there was an old woodcutter who specialized in cutting wood. One day, while in the forest, he discovered a bamboo shoot emitting bright yellow rays of light. Curious, he came closer to see clearly.

Inside that glowing bamboo is a very adorable little girl. He and his wife had no children, so he took the child home and raised him lovingly. They named the baby Kaguya Hime. At that time, every time he went into the forest, wherever he cut wood, gold poured out. Soon he and his wife became rich.

Miraculously, in just 3 months, Kaguya Hime grew up very quickly and became an extremely beautiful young woman. Her beauty resonated throughout the country. Many young men traveled long distances to propose marriage, but she all refused. There are only 5 people left who are determined not to be discouraged. Kaguya Hime then gave her conditions and she was only willing to marry someone who could do what she wanted. She asked them to find things for her that did not exist in this world, and because of that, the five suitors all returned unsuccessfully.
At the same time, the king also heard about Kaguya Hime's beauty so he decided to marry her to become his queen. But even he was rejected by her. The king then sent soldiers to take her back to the palace when suddenly, she disappeared. The king suddenly realized that there was something particularly unusual about Kaguya Hime and he understood that was the reason he failed.

Three years passed, Kaguya Hime became more and more beautiful. That spring, she began to feel sad every full moon night. She just stared blankly at the moon with tears rolling down her eyes. The old woodcutter asked worriedly and she replied: "Actually, I came from the moon, and because of a mistake, I was banished to earth. But now it's time for me to return. I will miss everyone here very much, that's why I'm sad."

The old man was extremely sad. He did not want to leave his beloved daughter, so he went to the king to ask for advice. On a full moon night, the king sent soldiers to capture Kaguya Hime. Suddenly, the sky suddenly lit up.
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7. Kintaro

Once upon a time, there was a gentle and healthy boy named Kintaro who lived on Mount Ashigara. Kintaro has always been tough since he was a child and often played with animals in the mountains.

One day, Kintaro decided to wrestle sumo with the bear – the strongest of all animals.

Hakkoyoi! Nokotta! (Term in sumo to enhance the competitive spirit of participants)

– Un – sore! (That right!)

– Bang!

And so Kintaro threw the bear to the ground. No matter how much other animals struggle, no one can compare to Kintaro.

One day, Kintaro received a big ax from his mother. With this ax, Kintaro helped his mother chop firewood. While Kintaro was chopping firewood, the animals came and invited Kintaro to go pick fruit.

Kintaro replied:

- Let's go!

Kintaro and the animals went out boldly. Go some distance:

– Hey, the bridge collapsed!

Going to the cliff, Kintaro and the animals encountered difficulties.

– Okay, look!

Having said that, Kintaro cut down a tree and made a bridge.

The samurai in the capital at that time, Kyoto, heard a rumor about the strong Kintaro. They went to Mount Ashigara to meet Kintaro.

– I am very surprised at your strength. I'm sure you can be a good samurai. Come to the capital with me?

Kintaro decides to go to the capital to become a samurai.

– You will become a good samurai in the capital.

Kintaro told his mother and said goodbye to the animals in Mount Ashigara and went to the capital.

And so Kintaro became a kind and honorable samurai.

The story ends here! – Oshimai!
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8. Tanabata sama

Tanabata Festival is an intersection between Japanese beliefs and Chinese legends about two stars in opposite directions of the Milky Way, Altair - Niu Lang and Vega - Zhi Nu, who only meet once a year on the day of the Milky Way. July 7. People often write wishes on five-colored pieces of paper and hang them on bamboo branches. This bamboo branch is placed in prominent places to make wishes come true.

The legend of Tanabata has many different versions depending on the region of Japan and the following is one of the versions of this story.

Once upon a time, there was a farmer who lived alone in a small village. One day, on the way home from the fields, he happened to see a beautiful shirt hanging on a tree branch. Looking back at the shabby clothes on his body, the young man took the other shirt home.

But just at that moment, a voice rang out, "Excuse me..." The boy turned around and asked: "Who just called me?" A beautiful girl replied: "Yes, it's me, please give me back that fur coat." I was originally a fairy from heaven who came down here to bathe. If I didn't have a fur coat, I wouldn't be able to return."

The girl started crying but the boy pretended: "A fur coat? I don't know what you're talking about." Unable to return to heaven, the fairy reluctantly stayed on earth and started a new life with the young man. The fairy's name is Tanabata. Tanabata married a boy from the lower world and the two had a very happy life. A year later, while the young man was at work, Tanabata accidentally discovered his fur coat in the rafters. "I know you hid my shirt" - she whispered and then put on her fur coat and returned to being the charming fairy she was before.

In the afternoon, when the young man returned from the fields, he was surprised to see his wife wearing a fur coat waiting for him at the door. Tanabata suddenly flew up into the sky and said back: "If you still love me, make 1,000 pairs of straw shoes and bury them around the bamboo tree. If you can do it I will be able to see you. I'll wait." Having said that, Tanabata just flew higher and farther away.

The boy was very sad but he still knew what he had to do. Every day he sits and braids straw shoes, he works from morning to night without resting. Finally, he finished 1,000 pairs. Remembering his wife's advice, the young man buried them around the base of a bamboo tree.
Just after burying 1,000 pairs of boat shoes, the bamboo tree suddenly grew bigger, taller, reaching high into the blue sky. Seeing this, the young man immediately climbed up, determined to climb until he reached the sky. But because he was so anxious to meet his wife, when he braided the straw shoes, he could only make 999 pairs, so the bamboo tree could not grow as high as the sky. “Tanabata!! Tanabata!!!” the young man screamed as loud as he could. “Is that you?” – Tanabata's echoing voice replied. Then she rode a cloud and opened her arms wide to pull her husband towards her. “Oh, dear Tanabata, I miss you so much!” the young man said chokingly. The couple was both happy and sad to see each other again after a long time apart. Both of them no longer pay attention to their surroundings, in their eyes there is only the person they love the most. Tanabata's father was extremely angry, not only did his daughter marry a mortal, she also dared to show him how to get to heaven. So he exiled the young man for being ungrateful in the hope that he would suffer a lot. "You have to guard the melon field for 3 days and 3 nights" - he said. Cultivating the melon fields is not a difficult job, but it is very thirsty, and if the boy eats any melon, unpredictable and terrible things will await him. Tanabata told her husband: "You must not eat any melons."
Three days passed, and the boy could not hold his thirst any longer. He reached for a melon. But as soon as he touched it, the melon exploded, water gushed out in all directions, forming a river. “Dude!!!!!” “Tanabata!!!!!” The long flowing river separates the couple into two sides.

The couple kept looking at each other until they both turned into two stars Altair and Vega (Niu Lang - Zhi Nu). Tanabata's father only allowed them to meet once a year on July 7. On this day , two stars will shine brightly on both sides of the Milky Way.

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9. Bunbuku Chagama

Jinbei is a person who specializes in buying used goods. One day, on the way back from town after buying a lot of things, Jinbei saw a group of kids bullying a little girl.

"Hey, guys, stop teasing her" - Jinbei said.

The boys ran away in disarray. Jinbei turned to ask about the girl, but when did she disappear? Jinbei continued home. While passing by a temple on a nearby hill, Jinbei met a monk who called out loudly:

“Hey Jinbei, I need a pot of tea. If you have something good, please bring it to me! The old man will pay you a good price.”

Having said that, the monk went back inside.

Returning home, Jinbei began sorting through the things he had acquired. Usually he never sells them right away. That's why Jinbei's house becomes more and more full of miscellaneous things and he also becomes poorer and poorer.

Suddenly he discovered a beautiful teapot lying in the corner of the house. Remembering the old monk's words earlier, Jinbei decided to return to the temple and bring the old kettle with him.
“Wow, it looks so heavy…” – Jinbei mumbled to himself as he tried to carry the kettle up.

"Almost there, come on, come on" - a strange voice rang out from inside the kettle.

Surprised, Jinbei looked closely and it turned out to be a creature... half in the shape of a tanuki, half in the shape of a teapot.

“I am the little girl you saved today.” – tanuki said – “Let me repay you.”

So Jinbei brought the teapot – tanuki to the temple. As soon as he saw it, the monk exclaimed:

“What a beautiful teapot! The old man will buy it!”

So the monk bought the kettle from Jinbei without knowing what was inside.

Arriving home, Jinbei began to think, whether he was right to sell the teapot to the monk and whether the tanuki was okay or not...

At this time, having a new pot, the monk excitedly brewed a pot of tea. He placed the kettle on the blazing stove. No matter how hard the little tanuki tried to endure, it couldn't hold out for long, and finally had to show its true form. The old monk was shocked, both scared and angry.

When Jinbei was still struggling with thoughts of worrying about the tanuki, with a "bang", he rushed into the house, crying loudly:

”Pain, pain, pain, pain, pain. Truly horrifying, horrifying, horrifying!!!!!”

Tanuki, with tears in his eyes, hugged Jinbei with a large burn mark on his back.

“Poor you, it's all my fault.” – Jinbei said sadly.

While he was getting medicine to treat the poor animal, the monk just came in. His face showed anger, he said:

“Why did you lie to me?! Give me my money back! Even if that tanuki scared me like that, you have to compensate for all the losses.”

So the amount Jinbei paid the monk was more than he sold the kettle. Tanuki lay on the bed and kept apologizing:

“Sorry Jinbei, I'm really sorry. I thought that by doing so I could repay you. I didn't expect it to cause you more trouble..."

"Don't worry, just rest and get better, don't think about money anymore because... I have a very good idea." – Jinbei said, his eyes shining with confidence in his plan.

Thanks to Jinbei's dedicated care, the tanuki's burns soon healed completely. Wanting to quickly repay the favor, the tanuki asked impatiently:

“The other day, you said you had a good idea, what is it?”
“Ah, about that?” – Jinbei continued – “What do you think if we perform together on the street? I will play the drum and blow the trumpet, you will dance on the rope, sometimes turning into this or that, it will definitely attract many people.”

Without thinking, the tanuki naturally agreed, then said:

“We will perform together! But to master transformation, you need to practice first.”

And in the days that followed, both practiced very hard.

A short time later, Jinbei and his tanuki became famous everywhere. They attract crowds wherever they go. Not only did the Tanuki repay his benefactor, he also got to live happily ever after with the good guy.

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10. Issun boshi

Once upon a time, there was a couple who lived together very happily but unfortunately did not have a single child. Every day they go to temples and pray: "Please give me and my wife a child, even if it's just a small child, it's okay." And then after many efforts, the wife also gave birth to a son. But alas, the child is only a little bigger than an adult's finger.

The couple raised the child with all their love and affection and hoped that their son would grow up like other children. But… the boy still hasn't grown up at all. So gradually everyone called him Issun boshi (issun is an ancient unit of measurement, equal to about 3cm).

One day, Issun boshi told his parents that he wanted to go to the capital. Although extremely worried, they trusted their son so they agreed. Issun boshi's parents gave him a sword made of sewing needles, a braided hat made of straw, a boat made of rice bowl and a chopstick made of oar.
Issun boshi kept walking and walking until he came to a river flowing to the capital. He dropped the rice bowl into the water and tried his best to use the oar - the chopsticks rowed and rowed until he finally reached his destination.

Entering the capital, Isshun boshi came to the door of a lord's house and said loudly:

– I came here to learn a job. Please let me be a servant in your Lordship's palace.

But he was so small that the guards didn't notice him.

– I'm here, here! – Isshun boshi called out. have the most interest

Finally, the soldiers saw him through the shadow on his geta (Japanese clogs). When he met the lord, he fell into his arms, bowed respectfully and said a few words pledging his loyalty.

The lord seemed satisfied and agreed to keep Issun boshi. The servants and people living in the palace all loved Issun boshi's cleverness. Especially the little princess - the lord's daughter. Gradually, he became a close servant to the princess.
One day, when Issun boshi accompanied the princess to visit Kiyomizu temple, on the way he met two demons who suddenly jumped out from nowhere. Issun boshi immediately pulled out the sword - made of sewing needle - and stabbed the little demon. But right after that, he was swallowed by a big demon. Not surrendering, Issun boshi stayed in the demon's stomach, repeatedly using his sword to stab its stomach many times. The pain was so unbearable that the demon spat out Issun boshi. So quickly that the demon could not react, Issun boshi jumped on its eyebrow and stabbed it in the eye with his sword. The two defeated demons cried and ran away. While running away, one of them dropped their magic hammer.

The princess picked up the hammer, showing understanding, she said:

– If you wave the hammer and make a wish, your wish will come true. Wishing for gold to have gold, wishing for rice to have rice.

Hearing that, Issun boshi replied:

– I don't need money or rice. I just want to be taller.

The princess smiled and nodded, waved the hammer a few times, and shouted loudly:

– Grow up! Grow up!!

In the blink of an eye, Issun boshi went from being as small as a finger to suddenly growing tall and strong, becoming a handsome and handsome young man.
He married the princess and then took his parents to the capital. And they lived together happily ever after.
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