Top 10 Scariest Japanese School Ghost Stories

School ghost stories, or gakko kaidan, are a huge business in Japan, and you’ve no doubt already heard some of them before. Maybe some of these were popular stories from your own school when you were a kid! But here’s a ranking of some of the more famous gakko kaidan that the Japanese find most terrifying of all.

10. When you look in the mirror but there’s no reflection. [139 votes]
9. The sound of a ball bouncing in an empty gym. [171 votes]
8. Your leg getting pulled in the pool. [285 votes]
7. 4 o’clock 44 minutes 44 seconds on April 4th. [297 votes]
6. The number of steps on the stairs increase or decrease. [396 votes]
5. The statue Ninomiya Sontoku (a statue common in most schools) runs around the school at night. [436 votes]
4. The anatomical model of the human body moves around the school at night. [659 votes]
3. Eyes on the portraits in the music room move and follow you. [975 votes]
2. The piano in the music room suddenly starts playing. [1229 votes]
1. Hanako-san of the toilet. [9394 votes]

Number one should come as no surprise. Hanako-san isn’t just one of the most popular gakko kaidan of all time, but one of the most popular scary stories and urban legends to come out of Japan in general.

Were any of these tales popular in your school as well? Any surprises? Let me know in the comments below!


2 thoughts on “Top 10 Scariest Japanese School Ghost Stories

  • May 10, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    I went to school in America, but a variation on Mary-san was popular in my school. We called it the “Polly” story, and it mainly focuses on the part of the legend where Mary-san comes up the stairs, counting them as she gets closer. The key part of the story that they all had in common for the most part was the doll saying,
    “Polly going up the first step…”
    “Polly going up the second step…”
    “Polly going up the third step…”

    And so on, with a gory end for everyone.
    It always freaked me out O_O

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