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1.7k voters

The Most Terrifying Japanese Horror Movies of All Time

Updated November 21, 2019 6.9k votes 1.7k voters 223.4k 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
    368
    94

    Ringu

    1998

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

    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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    #65 of 178 The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time#75 of 177 The Best Classic Horror Movies

  • 2

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

    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

    More Ju-on: The Grudge 

    #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
    290
    88

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

    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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    #132 of 440 The Best Movies Of The 1990s#39 of 139 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again

  • 4
    212
    62

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

    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
    233
    81

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

    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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    #1243 of 1,506 The Most Rewatchable Movies#251 of 277 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

  • 6
    169
    45

    Pulse

    2001

    ActorsKoyuki, Kōji Yakusho, Kumiko Aso, Haruhiko Katô

    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
  • 7

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

    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
  • 8

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

    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

  • 9

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

    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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    #65 of 88 The Goriest Movies Ever Made#99 of 100 The Best Movies On Shudder

  • 10
    129
    52

    Suicide Club

    2001

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

    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
  • 11
    60
    10

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

    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
  • 12
    105
    49

    Ring 2

    1999

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

    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
  • 13
    57
    12

    Versus

    2000

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

    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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  • 14
    54
    11

    Occult

    2009

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

    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
  • 15
    70
    29

    House

    1977

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

    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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    #353 of 743 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time#38 of 102 The 100+ Best Movies Streaming On The Criterion Channel

  • 16
    63
    23

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

    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
  • 17
    68
    29

    ActorsYōko Maki, Kōichi Satō, Shirô Sano, Mari Hoshino, Tae Kimura

    Directed byMasayuki Ochiai

    Infection is a 2004 Japanese horror film directed by Masayuki Ochiai, of a run-down hospital where a doctor's mistake unwittingly creates dark consequences for all. It was released as part of the...  more

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    #43 of 62 The Best Horror Movies About Hospitals and Mental Asylums#40 of 48 The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks

  • 18
    58
    22

    ActorsRen Osugi, Taro Suwa, Eun-Kyung Shin, Hinako Saeki, Masami Horiuchi

    Directed byHiguchinsky

    Uzumaki is a Japanese horror film directed by Higuchinsky. Uzumaki, released in 2000, is based on Junji Ito's episodic manga of the same name. The plot concerns a town infected with malevolent...  more
  • 19

    ActorsSaaya Irie, Miki Mizuno, Eriko Sato, Kaori Sakagami, Rie Kuwana

    Directed byKōji Shiraishi

    Carved is a 2007 horror film written and directed by Kōji Shiraishi, and co-written by Naoyuki Yokota....  more
  • 20
    61
    28

    Cure

    1997

    ActorsKōji Yakusho, Ren Osugi, Masato Hagiwara, Denden, Yukijirô Hotaru

    Directed byHiromi Kurosawa

    Cure is a 1997 Japanese thriller film directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, starring Koji Yakusho, Masato Hagiwara, Tsuyoshi Ujiki and Anna Nakagawa....  more
  • 21

    ActorsShinya Tsukamoto, Renji Ishibashi, Tomorowo Taguchi, Naomasa Musaka, Kei Fujiwara

    Directed byShinya Tsukamoto

    Tetsuo: The Iron Man is a 1989 Japanese cyberpunk film by cult-film director Shinya Tsukamoto produced by Japan Home Video. It is an extremely graphic but also strikingly-filmed fantasy shot in the...  more

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    #44 of 60 The Best Horror Movies About Evil Experiments#174 of 174 The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1980s

  • 22
    100
    74

    ActorsFujiko, Kenichi Endō, Shungiku Uchida, Kazushi Watanabe

    Directed byTakashi Miike

    Visitor Q is a 2001 film directed by Japanese director Takashi Miike. It was filmed as the sixth and final part of the Love Cinema series consisting of six straight-to-video releases by independent...  more

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    #112 of 152 The Best Surrealism Movies#91 of 129 The Best R-Rated Japanese Movies

  • 23

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

    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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    #110 of 162 The Best Horror Movies Of The 21st Century#317 of 519 The Scariest Movies Of All Time

  • 24
    47
    20

    ActorsBilly Drago, Youki Kudoh, Toshie Negishi, Magy, Mame Yamada

    Directed byTakashi Miike

    An American journalist in 19th century Japan is hoping to find the love he left behind. His long search leads him to a dark island where the only sanctuary is a brothel. He ends up spending the night...  more
  • 25
    39
    16

    ActorsEimei Esumi, Nakamura Kichiemon II, Mutsuhiro Toura, Nobuko Otowa, Taiji Tonoyama

    Directed byKaneto Shindo

    Kuroneko is a 1968 black-and-white Japanese horror film, directed by Kaneto Shindo, and an adaptation of a supernatural folktale. Set during a civil war in Japan's Heian period, the spirits of a...  more