Japanese Fairy Tales

Japan consists of an amazing 6,852 islands, but the four largest islands Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku account for nearly all the land area.

Japanese culture is extremely ancient and the folklore was highly influenced by Shinto and Buddhism, the two major religions in the country.

Our collection has been taken from 'Japanese Fairy Tales Second Series' by Teresa Peirce Williston, illustrations by Sanchi Ogawa published in 1911.

If you use Facebook or Google+ & enjoyed this section, please tell your friends and let us know to find more for you!
Thumbnail For The Bamboo Princess
A bamboo-cutter heading home sees a light emanating from a bamboo stalk, inside he finds a tiny baby girl. He and his wife name her 'The Bamboo Princess'.
Thumbnail For The Branch Of The Jewel Tree
A prince did not believe in jewel trees, but travels for three years to search for them and returns with a branch. But maybe he is not telling the truth!
Thumbnail For The Dragon Jewel
Prince Lofty was to find the dragon jewel, being a boastful coward he sent his servants instead. They cared not for the jewel and ran away with his money.
Thumbnail For The Eighty-One Brothers
A mighty prince had eighty-one sons, all but the youngest were proud and haughty. They hated him for his goodness, but his kindness to a hare was rewarded.
Thumbnail For The Fire Robe
A prince was to find a robe made of the fur of the fire rat. Messengers were sent all over China in search of such a garment, but it could not be found.
Thumbnail For The First Rabbits
The children in the sky were bored. Fairy mother of the sky suggested that they make snow balls, which they did. They fell from the sky becoming rabbits.
Thumbnail For The Great Stone Bowl
A legend is that in India there is a stone bowl that belonged to Buddha. It is hidden in a great temple and the few that have seen it marvel at its beauty.
Thumbnail For Lord Bag Of Rice
A brave soldier seeing a snake on a bridge stamps on his head and magically the snake turns into a dwarf. Many others had seen the snake and walked past.
Thumbnail For The Old Man With A Wart
There was once an old man who had a very large wart on his face. Although the wart hurt whenever he ate or drank the man never once complained of the pain.
Thumbnail For Peach Darling
There was once an old couple who had no children, so they loved all the other children and animals. One day cutting open a peach they find a tiny baby boy.
Thumbnail For The Shell In The Swallows' Nest
A prince is in search of a shell hidden in a swallows' nest, but no one knows where it is. Eventually a boy thinks he once saw it on roof of the kitchen.
Thumbnail For The Smoke Of Fuji Yama
A princess refuses to marry so she can care for her parents. When her mother dies she tells her father that her home is the moon and she must soon return.

Sources And Further Reading

Sacred Texts Japanese Fairy Tales Second Series. Retold by Teresa Peirce Williston Illustrated by Sanchi Ogawa Rand McNally & Co.; Chicago, New York 1911