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1.7k voters

The Most Terrifying Japanese Horror Movies of All Time

Updated November 21, 2019 7.3k votes 1.7k voters 223.1k views65 items

List RulesJapanese movies in the horror genre only

Are you wondering which Japanese horror films are considered the best by voters like you? Whether you're a huge fan of the Japanese horror movie genre or just beginning to dive into these creepy foreign films, this list (ranked by fans) will let you know which scary flicks are the most popular.

If your particular favorite Japanese horror movie is not at the top of the list, vote it up! Or, if you don’t see your favorite listed, go ahead and add it so that other lovers of Japanese scary movies can enjoy it as well.

Looking for a new scary movie that you haven’t seen yet? With this extensive list you are sure to find something new. Or maybe you're an old pro who wants to relive some of the best horror movie moments. No matter what, this list will help you find what you are looking for (as long as you're looking for awesomely terrifying movies).

Don't be afraid! Check out the list below to find out which fan favorites are considered the best Japanese horror movies.
 
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  • 1
    370
    95

    Ringu

    1998

    ActorsHiroyuki Sanada, Miki Nakatani, Yūko Takeuchi, Yutaka Matsushige, Nanako Matsushima

    ActorsHiroyuki Sanada, Miki Nakatani, Yūko Takeuchi, Yutaka Matsushige, Nanako Matsushima

    Directed byHideo Nakata

    Directed byHideo Nakata

    Ring is a 1998 Japanese mystery thriller film directed by Hideo Nakata, adapted from the novel Ring by Kôji Suzuki, which in turn draws on the Japanese folk tale Banchō Sarayashiki. The film stars...  more

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    #8 of 149 The Best Horror Movies Of The 1990s#28 of 63 The Best Haunted House Movies

  • 2

    ActorsItou Misaki, Megumi Okina, Takashi Matsuyama, Yui Ichikawa, Kanji Tsuda

    ActorsItou Misaki, Megumi Okina, Takashi Matsuyama, Yui Ichikawa, Kanji Tsuda

    Directed byTakashi Shimizu

    Directed byTakashi Shimizu

    Ju-on: The Grudge is a 2002 Japanese horror film written and directed by Takashi Shimizu. This film is the third installment in the Ju-on series and the first film to be theatrically released. The...  more

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    #6 of 22 Horror Movies You Can't Even Finish Watching#24 of 25 All The Brilliant Horror And Suspense Movie Homages In 'American Horror Story'

  • 3
    293
    90

    ActorsEihi Shiina, Renji Ishibashi, Ren Osugi, Jun Kunimura, Ryo Ishibashi

    ActorsEihi Shiina, Renji Ishibashi, Ren Osugi, Jun Kunimura, Ryo Ishibashi

    Directed byTakashi Miike

    Directed byTakashi Miike

    Audition is a 1999 Japanese psychological horror-drama film, directed by Takashi Miike and starring Ryo Ishibashi and Eihi Shiina. It is based on a Ryu Murakami novel of the same title, from a...  more

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    #165 of 440 The Best Movies Of The 1990s#38 of 139 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again

  • 4
    213
    64

    ActorsAsami Mizukawa, Fumiyo Kohinata, Hitomi Kuroki, Yu Tokui, Shigemitsu Ogi

    ActorsAsami Mizukawa, Fumiyo Kohinata, Hitomi Kuroki, Yu Tokui, Shigemitsu Ogi

    Directed byHideo Nakata

    Directed byHideo Nakata

    Dark Water is a 2002 Japanese horror film directed by Hideo Nakata, the director of Ring and Ring 2. Dark Water is based on Floating Water, a short story by Koji Suzuki. The plot follows a divorced...  more
  • 5
    236
    83

    ActorsBeat Kitano, Chiaki Kuriyama, Kou Shibasaki, Aki Maeda, Ai Maeda

    ActorsBeat Kitano, Chiaki Kuriyama, Kou Shibasaki, Aki Maeda, Ai Maeda

    Directed byKinji Fukasaku

    Directed byKinji Fukasaku

    Battle Royale is a 2000 Japanese action thriller film adapted from the 1999 novel of the same name by Koushun Takami. It is the final film directed by Kinji Fukasaku, the screenplay written by his...  more

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    #1235 of 1,506 The Most Rewatchable Movies#1119 of 1,141 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

  • 6
    171
    46

    Pulse

    2001

    ActorsKoyuki, Kōji Yakusho, Kumiko Aso, Haruhiko Katô

    ActorsKoyuki, Kōji Yakusho, Kumiko Aso, Haruhiko Katô

    Directed byHiromi Kurosawa

    Directed byHiromi Kurosawa

    Pulse, known in Japan as Kairo, is a 2001 Japanese horror film directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. The film is based on his novel of the same name. The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at...  more

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    #365 of 733 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time#7 of 18 The Best Horror Movies About The Internet

  • 7

    ActorsEihi Shiina, Tak Sakaguchi, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Itsuji Itao, Cay Izumi

    ActorsEihi Shiina, Tak Sakaguchi, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Itsuji Itao, Cay Izumi

    Directed byYoshihiro Nishimura

    Directed byYoshihiro Nishimura

    Tokyo Gore Police is a 2008 Japanese-American film co-written, edited, and directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura and stars Eihi Shiina as Ruka, a vengeful police officer. Tokyo Gore Police was released to...  more
  • 8
    123
    27

    Ring O: Birthday

  • 9

    ActorsNoriko Sakai, Yui Ichikawa, Ayumu Saito, Takako Fuji, Yuya Ozeki

    ActorsNoriko Sakai, Yui Ichikawa, Ayumu Saito, Takako Fuji, Yuya Ozeki

    Directed byTakashi Shimizu

    Directed byTakashi Shimizu

    Ju-on: The Grudge 2 is a 2003 Japanese horror film and the fourth installment in the Ju-on series. The film was written and directed by Takashi Shimizu. It was released in Japan on August 23,...  more
  • 10
    114
    29

    ActorsShinya Tsukamoto, Ayumu Saito, Shun Sugata, Tomomi Miyashita, Miho Ninagawa

    ActorsShinya Tsukamoto, Ayumu Saito, Shun Sugata, Tomomi Miyashita, Miho Ninagawa

    Directed byTakashi Shimizu

    Directed byTakashi Shimizu

    Marebito Unique One is a 2004 Japanese horror film directed by Takashi Shimizu....  more

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    #18 of 25 The Scariest Asian Horror Films of All Time#74 of 129 The Best R-Rated Japanese Movies

  • 11

    ActorsKou Shibasaki, Anna Nagata, Renji Ishibashi, Yutaka Matsushige, Shinichi Tsutsumi

    ActorsKou Shibasaki, Anna Nagata, Renji Ishibashi, Yutaka Matsushige, Shinichi Tsutsumi

    Directed byTakashi Miike

    Directed byTakashi Miike

    One Missed Call is a 2003 Japanese horror film directed by Takashi Miike and written by Minako Daira. The film is based on the novel Chakushin Ari by Yasushi Akimoto. The plot revolves around Yumi...  more

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    #94 of 113 The Best Horror Movie Franchises#101 of 202 The Best R-Rated World Cinema Movies

  • 12

    ActorsFujiko, Mai Takahashi, Masumi Miyazaki, Issei Ishida, Rie Kuwana

    ActorsFujiko, Mai Takahashi, Masumi Miyazaki, Issei Ishida, Rie Kuwana

    Directed bySion Sono

    Directed bySion Sono

    Strange Circus is a 2005 Japanese horror drama film written and directed by Sion Sono....  more
  • 13

    ActorsShinya Tsukamoto, Tadanobu Asano, Susumu Terajima, Jun Kunimura, Alien Sun

    ActorsShinya Tsukamoto, Tadanobu Asano, Susumu Terajima, Jun Kunimura, Alien Sun

    Directed byTakashi Miike

    Directed byTakashi Miike

    This film is a 2001 Japanese film directed by Takashi Miike, written by Sakichi Sato, and based on Hideo Yamamoto's manga series of the same name. It portrays a story of feuding yakuza gangs...  more

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    #66 of 88 The Goriest Movies Ever Made#100 of 100 The Best Movies On Shudder

  • 14

    ActorsChiaki Kuriyama, Takashi Matsuyama, Taro Suwa, Takako Fuji, Denden

    ActorsChiaki Kuriyama, Takashi Matsuyama, Taro Suwa, Takako Fuji, Denden

    Directed byTakashi Shimizu

    Directed byTakashi Shimizu

    Ju-on: The Curse, also known as simply Ju-on, is a 2000 Japanese V-Cinema horror film and the first installment in the Ju-on franchise, following two short films, Katasumi and 4444444444. The film...  more

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    #309 of 511 The Scariest Movies Of All Time#109 of 158 The Best Horror Movies Of The 21st Century

  • 15

    ActorsFumi Nikaido, Hideaki Ito, Takayuki Yamada, Daniel Genalo, Mitsuru Fukikoshi

    ActorsFumi Nikaido, Hideaki Ito, Takayuki Yamada, Daniel Genalo, Mitsuru Fukikoshi

    Directed byTakashi Miike

    Directed byTakashi Miike

    Aku no Kyōten, known in English as Lesson of the Evil, is a 2012 Japanese slasher film directed by Takashi Miike, starring Hideaki Itō. It is an adaptation of Yusuke Kishi's 2010 novel of the same...  more
  • 16
    128
    54

    Suicide Club

    2001

    ActorsKimiko Yo, Ryo Ishibashi, Akaji Maro, Rolly Teranishi, Masatoshi Nagase

    ActorsKimiko Yo, Ryo Ishibashi, Akaji Maro, Rolly Teranishi, Masatoshi Nagase

    Directed bySion Sono

    Directed bySion Sono

    Suicide Club, known in Japan as Suicide Circle is a 2002 Japanese independent horror film that gained a considerable amount of notoriety in film festivals around the world for its controversial...  more
  • 17
    54
    4

    ActorsTaro Suwa, Denden, Megumi Kagurazaka, Tetsu Watanabe, Mitsuru Fukikoshi

    ActorsTaro Suwa, Denden, Megumi Kagurazaka, Tetsu Watanabe, Mitsuru Fukikoshi

    Directed bySion Sono

    Directed bySion Sono

    Cold Fish is a 2010 Japanese serial killer film directed by Sion Sono. The film is about a quiet and unambitious owner of a tropical fish shop whose life and family are taken over by a fellow fish...  more
  • 18
    61
    10

    ActorsHideyo Amamoto, Kumi Mizuno, Kenji Sahara, Hiroshi Koizumi, Akira Kubo

    ActorsHideyo Amamoto, Kumi Mizuno, Kenji Sahara, Hiroshi Koizumi, Akira Kubo

    Directed byIshirō Honda

    Directed byIshirō Honda

    Matango, also known as Fungus of Terror, Curse of the Mushroom People and Attack of the Mushroom People, is a 1963 Japanese tokusatsu movie. It was directed by Ishirō Honda, and written by Takeshi...  more
  • 19

    ActorsHiromi Kurosawa, Shun Oguri, Karina Nose, Taro Suwa, Tetta Sugimoto

    ActorsHiromi Kurosawa, Shun Oguri, Karina Nose, Taro Suwa, Tetta Sugimoto

    Directed byTakashi Shimizu

    Directed byTakashi Shimizu

    Reincarnation is a 2005 Japanese horror film, directed by Takashi Shimizu, of a hopeful actress who wins a role in a film that takes her, the cast and the crew to a hotel where the present soon...  more

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    #22 of 37 The Best Horror Movies Set In Hotels#44 of 47 The Best Reincarnation Movies

  • 20
    104
    51

    Ring 2

    1999

    ActorsHiroyuki Sanada, Kyoko Fukada, Miki Nakatani, Masahiro Motoki, Yasutaka Tsutsui

    ActorsHiroyuki Sanada, Kyoko Fukada, Miki Nakatani, Masahiro Motoki, Yasutaka Tsutsui

    Directed byHideo Nakata

    Directed byHideo Nakata

    Ring 2, directed by Hideo Nakata, is the sequel to the Japanese horror film, Ring. Ring was originally a novel written by Koji Suzuki; its sequel, Rasen, was also adapted into a movie as the Ring...  more
  • 21
    58
    12

    Versus

    2000

    ActorsHideo Sakaki, Tak Sakaguchi, Kenji Matsuda, Minoru Matsumoto, Chieko Misaka

    ActorsHideo Sakaki, Tak Sakaguchi, Kenji Matsuda, Minoru Matsumoto, Chieko Misaka

    Directed byRyuhei Kitamura

    Directed byRyuhei Kitamura

    Versus is a 2000 Japanese independent zombie action film co-written, produced, and directed by Ryuhei Kitamura. The film is set somewhere in the deep forest of Japan, known as the Forest of...  more

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    #50 of 117 The Best Zombie Comedies#281 of 335 The All-Time Greatest Martial Art Movies

  • 22
    55
    11

    Occult

    2009

    ActorsHiromi Kurosawa, Kōji Shiraishi, Takuji Suzuki, Koen Kondo, Yumi Yoshiyuki

    ActorsHiromi Kurosawa, Kōji Shiraishi, Takuji Suzuki, Koen Kondo, Yumi Yoshiyuki

    Directed byKōji Shiraishi

    Directed byKōji Shiraishi

    Occult is a 2009 J-Horror, "found footage" film in the form of a documentary. The movie was written and directed by Kôji Shiraishi....  more
  • 23
    72
    30

    House

    1977

    ActorsKimiko Ikegami, Haruko Wanibuchi, Yōko Minamida, Miki Jinbo, Kiyohiko Ozaki

    ActorsKimiko Ikegami, Haruko Wanibuchi, Yōko Minamida, Miki Jinbo, Kiyohiko Ozaki

    Directed byNobuhiko Obayashi

    Directed byNobuhiko Obayashi

    House (Japanese: ハウス, Hepburn: Hausu) is a 1977 Japanese horror film directed and produced by Nobuhiko Obayashi. The film stars mostly amateur actors with only Kimiko Ikegami and Yōko Minamida having...  more

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    #51 of 102 The 100+ Best Movies Streaming On The Criterion Channel#391 of 465 The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History

  • 24

    ActorsKirara Yugao

    ActorsKirara Yugao

    Directed byHideshi Hino

    Directed byHideshi Hino

    Guinea Pig 2: Flower of Flesh and Blood is a 1985 Japanese horror film written and directed by Hideshi Hino. The second film in the Guinea Pig film series, it is based on a manga by Hino and stars...  more
  • 25
    61
    24

    ActorsNobuko Otowa, Taiji Tonoyama, Kei Sato, Jukichi Uno, Jitsuko Yoshimura

    ActorsNobuko Otowa, Taiji Tonoyama, Kei Sato, Jukichi Uno, Jitsuko Yoshimura

    Directed byKaneto Shindo

    Directed byKaneto Shindo

    Onibaba is a 1964 Japanese historical drama horror film. It was written and directed by Kaneto Shindo. The film is set during a civil war in the fourteenth century. Nobuko Otowa and Jitsuko Yoshimura...  more

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    #9 of 15 15 Obscure Horror Movies from the '60s You Need to See Right Now#16 of 22 The Most Terrifying War Horror Movies, Ranked