Exploring abandoned Sakurayama park with Fuyuzakura cherry trees at night.
A photographer capturing the beauty of Fuyuzakura cherry trees in the abandoned Sakurayama park at night.

The Japanese Girl Who Sees Ghosts

Hoshino-san, a haikyoist Japanese can see ghosts. I decided to interview her about her ability and experiences.

Hoshino-san is a friend of mine and she is one of the most active haikyoists I know. Originally from Fukushima, she lives in Tokyo and besides haikyo she also does calligraphy, cooking and aromatherapy. Since the events of 3.11, she got even more interested in Fukushima and Tchernobyl. Yeah, you got it, she is definitely not a usual girl! On top of that, she has a special ability: she can see ghosts! Curious to know more, I once met her at the Gunkanjima bar in Tokyo for the specific purpose of talking about this special ability. Here is the transcript.



When was the first time you see a ghost?

It was when I was in 4th grade, about 9 years old. She was an old Japanese woman, with a headscarf. I was at home alone in my room, and feeling really sleepy at that moment, so I went to bed early. When I woke up the next morning, she was gone. I have never seen her again after that.

How do you see them? Do they look normal, transparent, or is it more like a feeling of a

I have seen all different types. Sometimes you merely feel it, sometimes you can see it clearly. But even in the case where you can see them, you cannot look straight at them, it always appear when you look somewhere else and the spirits can be observed in the corner of your eye.

Do they appear and disappear all of a sudden?

They don’t appear and disappear just like that. It depends on the situation as well. You feel their presence first, then the feeling can go stronger and weaker. The feeling itself is like an instinct, six sense. If there is a door in front of you, you can feel their presence before even opening the door.

Do you see the same ghosts/spirits all the time?

Sometimes. For example my dad’s company has the same spirit there all the time. It was a man always hanging around repeating the same route. My dad sees spirits as well, and confirmed my vision on this one.

What do they do usually?

They normally do not move around much, they just stand there. Other times they repeat the activity they were doing while they were alive. For example a salary man’s spirit I saw was repeating the route he used to take: going to the office, then go to the cafeteria and back to the office.

Another example would be during a part time job I used to have. I used to work at a Soba shop, there was a man’s ghost there. He always stood there and look emptily in our direction. Most likely he did not realize that he is dead. A colleague with the same ability saw him as well.

What kind of animal spirits do you see the most?

Cats! There was a cat ghost in my dad’s company. We also have a cat ghost in our house. It walks inside the wall.

There is a hamster ghost too, very small. They used to keep hamster in my house. It feels very small and it’s confirmed with my dad, it turned out to be “Ham-Ham”. Although some people say that small animals do not turn into ghosts but I guess if they are with people for long, there are thoughts remains, so they turn into ghosts.

Have you seen ghosts of things that does not exist in our world? (ET, dinosaur, ancient creatures… etc)

There was one thing strange I saw once. It was 4 years ago. I was sorting out a photo with ghost inside at home, sitting beside a desk. I heard some noise then this thing like a white ‘Makkuro Kurosuke‘ with 2 legs appeared in my room. It jumped out from under the desk, and ran away. This is the only “monster” (a tiny one though) I have ever seen.

I have seen UFOs many times though. Actually my hometown Fukushima is called the land of UFOs, many UFOs appears around there. There is even a UFO museum and the owner is my dad’s friend. They used to look at the UFO photo together.

Is there a special smell or sound when there are ghosts?

Sometimes there is sound. With an animal spirit, once I heard the bell on an animal’s spirit that was running round.

Sometimes there is a smell (especially when it is a living person’s spirit). Like my grandmother, and my boyfriend’s living spirits. They came to me because they were worried about me. It happens often with my family, because we all have very strong spiritual power/feeling, so our own living spirits can travel easily.

Does anyone else in your family have the same ability?

As a matter of fact, most of my family members have the same ability. My brother can only feel it but not seeing it. My dad has the strongest ability. My cousins from my mom’s side see ghosts as well, but not on my dad’s side.

abandoned, asia, haikyo, japan, japanese, ruin, urban exploration, urbex

What is your best memory about seeing ghost? Any good looking ghost?

Most of them look quite scary. As for good memories, it actually depends on their (spirits’) feeling, if they died happily then I can feel it and share the same feeling.

There was a hospital although they all died of a bad disease but they ended happily. They seem to appreciate the people who took care of them and were not suffering much in the end. (The place mentioned here is actually the Small Pox Isolation Ward)

Can spirits/ghosts see you?

It is more like that the spirits are aware of the fact that I can see them.

Have you ever been possessed?

Yes, I am the type that can be easily possessed. My body feels heavy and cold, sometimes my heart hurts.

Unfortunately I cannot interact with the spirit, but one of my friend can. She used to talk to the spirits that possessed me to get rid of them for me. The spirits normally want something that is why they possess people, only someone has the ability to talk to spirits can help if that happens.

What do you think is there when we die?

Some people reborn. Some people simply disappear. Even bad people can get reborn, to be born into someone else to do good deeds. Someone who was poor and wished to be born in a rich family could have their dream come true as well. I do not know what I will ended up in the end, let us wait and see.

Do you believe in god?

I believe there is something, it could be a demon, but something is there for sure.

Tokyo Shitamachi
Tokyo Shitamachi.


In what type of place we see the mosts ghosts? In Haikyos?

It depends on the place, it has nothing to do with whether the place is abandoned or not. Some places are more likely to attract ghosts, it is a bit like a Fengshui thing.

What is the most haunted place in Tokyo from your point of view?

There are so many! Oomori Kaigan Station (大森海岸駅) and Suzuka Mori Keiba (鈴ヶ森刑場跡) for example.

Suzuka mori keiba is no longer an execution yard, but some remains can still be seen.

The old well over there is really bad, full of weird ghosts. As a general rule, waterside tends to attract ghosts/spirits easier than land, you should definitely keep away from the old wells!

Gunkanjima Gunkanjima

Gunkanjima is an abandoned island in the south of Japan that looks like a battleship. It is full of huge concrete buildings and you might think it its full of ghosts. You can check my articles about Gunkanjima (this is one of the most fantastic place ever!), please check my articles about Gunkanjima here.

Are there any ghosts on the famous Gunkanjima?

Unfortunately, no. I can feel the Memories and Feelings left there, but there was no ghosts.

I can tell you some super haunted haikyo places, you probably have been to some of them:

There is another famous spot, Hachioji-Shijō. I have never been, but I have heard a lot about it. There is an abandoned castle, and even for people who cannot see ghosts, it is considered dangerous. Many people would feel cold or even sick around that area, even if they cannot see things (八王子心霊スポット).

Maya Special Room

Talking about haunted places, what about the famous suicide forest Jukai?

I have never been there, my dad went and all the photo he took ended up being ghost pictures.

Are there ghosts in busy places with a lot of people like Ginza, Shinjuku or Roppongi?

I only know about Shinjuku, because I go there often. Shinjuku Hyakunincho is quite haunted.

I used to work at a bar in Kabukicho, inside the bar there is a big mirror, one day when I look into the mirror a lot of faces appeared in it, they are spirits from different period of time. It was fun for me, so i said hi and wished for more of them to appear. In the end the amount of faces in that mirror really increased as I wished. Another person in the shop can see spirits as well, and she complained that because of me, more spirits appeared and they all went onto her.


About the ability

So, describe your ability of seeing ghosts for us, does it come and go, or is it a consistently strong feeling?

It is a feeling that changes periodically. I am in a stable period at the moment. Everything is pretty much quiet, I won’t see any unless I really want to. It feels a bit like an animal instinct, or an awareness, a feeling that tells you something is out there.

How do you feel about having this ability?

Personally I do not like it much, because sometimes you can see them, they follow you. Especially me because I am the type that spirits can easy get attached to. It is not a nice feeling when they are on you… My friend actually gave me a charm to keep the spirits from getting on me, and now I do not get any on me anymore.

I do not like it much also because I can feel how they feel when thy die; whether they were angry or extremely sad, the way they died or the fact that some of them still have unfinished wishes.

Do you have any other thing you can do or see that other people cannot?

I am much better than normal people at calligraphy. I also have very strong instinct and I am good at judging people’s characteristics. For example, you feel like the sun, strong, loud and obvious. You are also an extremely interesting person.

Abandoned Hospital Abandoned Hospital

General Knowledge

Is there a difference between Spirits and Ghosts?

Ghosts are more like youkai, they can only appear at one place, because they are born from that place so they are linked and trapped there.

Spirits, on the other hand, do not belong anywhere. Thus they can travel around, even follow you and get attached to/possess you.

How come only some people become ghosts?

I do not know the answer to that exactly. My friend says there are 2 explanations:

  • The first one is called “zanryu shinen” (残留思念), it is like a remaining energy, or remaining thoughts. Sometimes the energy/thoughts remains because there are something they could not do so that the will remained.
  • The other type is when people die in accidents and they do not realize that they are dead. For example my friend works in Tohoku Tesco told me that after the earthquake one day he was walking through the rubble’s and a little girl caught his feet. Apparently the girl did not realize that she is dead. My friend explained to her that she is dead already, she then let go of him and disappeared.

Japan seems to have a stronger belief in ghosts than other nations, do more people here see ghosts as well?

I do not think so. It is after all a very rare ability. But similar to the law of attraction, because I can see ghosts, I naturally have many friends around who have the same ability. Sometimes my friends and I gather and exchange information about what to do in certain situation, but it is not any organization, just private. We share the visions we have and discuss what to do under certain circumstances.

For people like us who cannot see ghosts, do ghosts go on us?

It is possible. And once they got possessed, although they cannot see it, they can feel it. Some people feels cold and heavy as I do. Some people cannot feel it directly but their luck will go bad.

For people who cannot see ghosts, ghosts do not bother much either normally. So even if they are possessed, it is for a short while only.

Do you have any idea what the others cannot see it?

That is no the question, the question should be why do I see it? Being able to see ghosts is not a genuine ability that everyone longs to have. When you do have the ability, they are merely more objects around, nothing much to care about. Unless, of course, when they have a strong will left and they influence you somehow.


What are ghosts like

Do ghost keep exactly the same thing?

Most likely. You always hear from other people that there is a ghost somewhere behaving a certain way (like a girl ghost crying in the toilet on the second floor), and you go check it yourself, it is exactly as described (that girl ghost is there crying indeed).

Do ghosts/spirits age?

Nope, they don’t age. They stay at the age when they died. But that does not mean that all of them are trapped in space/time, only those who commits suicide are truly trapped, and they tend to repeat their death over and over again.

Do they travel? Can you see one in Tokyo, and the same one very far away later?

I have never seen them flew away or anything like that, do not think they can ‘travel’ very far themselves. Never heard of such a case either, the only possible way is when they are “on you”. I have not seen any ghost outside Japan yet, although some of my friends have.

Can you see ghosts from height?

I haven’t, but i heard that spirits are left at the place they die. For example there was a person died on the 10th floor, and the building was destroyed later. but the spirit stayed there, and when they build a new building at the same spot years later, the ghost appeared at the same place.

How do ghosts walk, do they walk fast or slow?

Never thought about it, they sometimes follow your pace, kind of just drifting around, and drift through walls and closed doors too. I think they can disappear and re-appears instantly if they wish.

Are they stuck in a purgatorial, before going to Paradise or Hell?

Instead of heaven and hell, we say this world and the other world (この世・あの世).

People who went into the other world disappear from this world. And people who did/could not go to that world are left here as ghost.

People who killed themselves are not accepted in the other world.

Also some people who got killed cannot go to the other world easily either. My grandpa was missing and found dead in the mountain later. He died from a gang accident and he cannot rest in peace even till now. So he remained here in this world to protect all of us.


Common Myths

The famous stories we have heard of like Hachiko or Oiwa, have you seen their ghosts?

I have never seen them myself, and I have never heard about anyone seeing their ghosts. The common stories we all hear when we are kids like monsters in the closet and stuff, are mostly imagination too. Never anything similar has happened to me.

Which Movie/Anime is the closest to the reality? Is there something we can watch to understand this matter a bit more, something that gives a good view on what you feel and see?

Not really. Although it happens from time to time that when you shoot movies like this you actually caught real ghosts inside the film. But the scenes inside movies are not likely to come true.

Maybe I am repulsive to ghosts?

Some people might repulse them. I had a friend that is repulsive to them. Whenever I saw ghosts when he is around, the ghosts always walk around him.

Can normal people see ghosts in ghost photos?

Yes. There are 2 types of ghost photos (心霊写真): there is one type where you can see the ghost clearly, the other one you really need to look very closely to be able to spot the ghost. But most of the time it is quite difficult to capture the ghost properly.

There is once I got a ghost in my picture, and it started to duplicate itself (the data) in my computer. In the end I had to format my computer to get rid of the ghost.
But people that claiming that they take only ghosts pictures and put them online, those are fake.

We always hear that kids see ghosts while adults do not. Is it true?

Quite likely, a lot of times you see kids talking to their parents claiming that there is something, but the parents cannot see the same.

Are there more girls than guys seeing girls?

Around me, yes. About 80% of my friends having the same ability are girls.

Do ghosts get attracted by smell?

Hmmm, on the contrary they might avoid certain types of smell, for example they avoid incense.

Abandoned Clinic Abandoned Clinic

If I want to see ghosts, what can I do?

You can try ghost spots. But I won’t recommend it, it is not some ability that comes as you wish. However, some people started to see ghost when they are around me for a while.

Osore-zan, the mountain where people communicating with the ghosts during the matsuri (恐山大祭), is it real?

I do not think it really works. A lot of people claim that they can communicate with people but are not really doing so. I have heard more people that can curse others instead of communicating with spirits.

To finish, is there facts about ghosts you like everybody to know or understand?

The world you are seeing might not be the real world.

Photos from Hoshino-san

Here are a few haikyo photos taken by Hoshino-san. If you want to see more, you must check her blog, it’s updated daily!







Thanks to Hoshino-san for kindly replying to all the questions ! And additional thanks to Jing for the translations.

I am sure you now have many questions or comments in mind! Go ahead and I will ask Hoshino-san to reply to them (thanks in advance for using easy-to-understand English).

And for more awesome content about Japan, follow Jordy Meow on Instagram ! 🎵


  • This is a great article and Hoshino-san seems like a very interesting person but I am not convinced about ghosts at all. I don’t think I can ever believe in them. Even if I could see one, I would think there must be some other explanation.

      • The idea that there would be some countries with higher rate of ghost occurrences than others (relative to population size, of course) only makes the entire concept less credible.

    • If you want to see it, there 2 possible way to see or feel it, 1st is try to get a high fever, your body is weak. that is way you can see it. 2nd is try to stay in a haunted house with few of your friend, be quiet inside a room and don’t close the door.

      • Try to get a high fever? No thanks. If I did have a high fever and I saw something strange, I’d call it a hallucination, not a ghost. And I’d be right. Same if I was on drugs or had suffered a blow to the head or whatever.

        I feel that your second suggestion is an untested hypothesis and there are a few things wrong with it. First, where will I find a haunted house? Since ghosts do not exist, neither do haunted houses. Second, I don’t know why I need my friends with me. It seems to me that people who think they see ghosts rarely do so when other people are around. Third, why do I need to be quiet? Are ghosts frightened away by loud noises? Finally, why should I leave the door open? I thought ghosts could pass through walls and things?

  • Some good shots in here, but really.. ghosts ?
    I guess we’re supposed to take it as some sort of fun thematic variation on haikyo.

    • I receive many emails asking me about my experiences with ghosts and since I have none, I really wanted to have this interview with Hoshino-san. Even though my point of view is pretty clear, I think this article replies to questions many people visiting this website might have 🙂

  • There is a distortion in the picture with the old hospital operating room.

    Hoshino-san is the real deal, all of what she said really is something that one must experience on their own before they can accept it.

  • Hoshino san sounds like a very capable spirit medium. I find it interesting that she finds the same thing that I do in the fact that most mediums are female. At least those who own it. And on your question about how to see ghosts, she gave you a side traking answer. Like me. If you hang around her long enough your perceptions will change. Its the same with all mediums. Its a bout energy I think. The longer you stay around an energy the more susceptible you become to it.

    Start taking a medium on your photo shoots Jordy. You’ll be surprised at not only what you see. But what you photograph.

    • I am going with her sometimes but I should go with her to most specific spots, I would love to experience “something”. But from what she told me also she doesn’t really actually recommend it since it usually doesn’t bring anything good. But my photography could also change in an interesting way… There is something to explore here, for sure!

      • Great photography, btw. Thank you for doing this. I found it fascinating.

    • She’s japanese and all what she says makes sense. In Chinese Feng Shui, it is understood that a person who is ill or sick would vibrate more at the Yin level than Yang level- hence,Yin yang as all things are in balance. If you stay around a medium for a period of time, their energetic vibration or aura/vibe will rub off on you so you would adopt some of their abilities temporarily. I had a high fever when I was 7 and saw things in my house, which I couldn’t explain and now I’ve come come understand why. Kids see more than adults because of their high vibrational energy level and their energy attract spirits as well. I’ve had the same experience where I used to see more, but no longer. Compared to children, Adults have been conditioned where the brain no longer knows how to process visual images of spirits through the eyes. What we don’t see doesn’t mean it’s not there. Our eyes can trick the brain indeed.

    • wow..i am really surprised that black people like you arent narrow minded. no offense dude but most black i encountered arent like you. respect.

      • Makes me wonder the kind of black people you hang around. I come from a very spiritual family that grew up in a very spiritual neighborhood

    • She is very gifted all depends on the way you choose to use that gift spirits and ghost are all around us and get attracted to our energy and feed of energy especially if you have a lot of negative ones me myself still seeking more answers and to learn more. But do know they do exist and are around us you must be strong in heart and mind to do or see what she sees all that she says is true and real. Amazing article well written.

  • Has Hoshinio-san ever seen a kami such as a Tatsu (dragon) or a yokai such as a kappa?

      • Thanks
        I’m very interested in supposed singtings in the modern age of yokai and other Japanese entities.

    • You’ve probably got about as much chance of seeing a Yokai as you have of seeing a Leprechaun with his crock of gold
      or an Icelandic Troll. Ghosts are one thing, sprites, goblins and werewolves are another – just folktales.

      • All legends have a basis in fact however distorted by time and retelling. For example trolls may be based on encountes with late surviving hominans in middle age Europe. Dragons may be based on unknown marine reptiles, giant crocodilers, giant lizards and giant constricting snakes. werewolves and vampires seem to stem from early accounts of rabies. As for goblins we even have the bones of one kind, the Ebu-gogo of Flores that seems to have been a late surviving Australopithacine. All of these are far, far more beliveable than spirits of the dead.

  • I do believe that Hoshino-san can really see ghost. They appear in many different form… it can be smell, can be sound, can be human look, transparent or gas type… and yes, they will know if you have the ability to see them… about what to do to see a ghost… i don’t think that you can see them by doing anything, and you won’t like the ability if you have it…

  • This is one of the most honest feeling article I have come across. Very interesting indeed. I know I can feel them because my ex-girlfriend has an ability such as this as well, and I have somewhat been able to see them in my peripheral vision but not so well. Also yeah, only if I want to, I can feel them. My area feels very ominous so sometimes I have to block the feelings out. I would really like to experience photographing places with a person with similar abilities to Hoshino-san. Have to find one that isn’t afraid of them. My friends that can see are afraid of them and would probably not go to haunted places. Thanks for writing this.

  • It’s all about the “power of subconcious mind”. If you believe there are ghosts, there will be ghosts. If you believe there’s no God, you can still be successfull, healthy or anything. If you think there’s God, your subconcious mind will respond to your faith. If you think you’ll be healed, so be it. It’s all universal.

    • How about the appearance of ghost in photograph. When I’m in college many years ago. A friend of mine using rather old nokia mobile phone. he and his girlfriend took a selfie in a mall, there’s a little kid hand with burned skin is holding his girlfriend shoulder from behind (in the middle of both of them). No they didn’t edited it. It is original photo directly taken with his phone. After my friends show it to us, he and his girlfriend decide to deleted it because they feel uncomfortable with the pic still in the phone. I and some friends, who always believe that there is no such thing like ghost/spirit, saw it and believe it.

  • How do i contact her? i have the ability.. but what she said is really true.. but a few facts arent correct for me

  • It’s true, they exist. I’ve only seen one ghost/spirit idk – the lady in blood-stained clothes. And I do feel the heavy feeling when my national camp is invaded with demons and spirits; hysteria, possessed buddies, my goodness. Terrible. But I’ve a question. Can ghosts obtain power or only spirits have them? And ever since I saw the lady in blood, I think I got a real bad luck. Such as, my dreams became true over time. It’s like deja vu until today. I knew something bad is happening or had happen when my heart is heavy. Worse, if I dream something bad about a person, things really do happen to them, like bad things although it might not be serious. And I never get any good things in game draws, you name it. Less likely I’ll obtain anything that require luck lol. Could this be the after effect of seeing ‘her’? I’m searching for this answer till today *sigh*

  • Unfortunately, I can also see spirit. I have this ability when I was a kid living in my grandmother’s house. I can see this dog shadow running around the house. It appear as a deep black shadow that run past me in a flash and disappear instantly. Somehow I can sense that it is a dog, so I told my grandmother about it and she told me before I was born, they have a dog and it died. There is one night, I was sleeping with my cousin. According to my cousin, I wake up in the middle of the night, open the door and gone downstairs. I didn’t know that, by the time I come to my senses, I was circling in a standing position in front of Chinese deities statues. I don’t know if I got possessed or sleeping walking.

    I move to a new home with my parent. After living for 15 years, my ability come back again. One night when I was sleeping, I got awake by this bright light. My eyes was blurry adjusting to this bright light. As my vision start to get better, I saw this old man figure wearing a white shirt standing beside my bed, facing me. I was too tired and I couldn’t care less what happen, I went back to sleep. He was gone when I woke up. I was told by someone who can see spirit, that the white figure was actually a god. Then another night, I was sleeping with my room light still on. I was wake up by this Indian woman, wearing traditional Indian custome, wearing gold and jewelry, and she has like more than 5 hands. She was dancing with her hand on top of my bed sitting and facing me.I wasn’t terrified, I’m too tired to be scared so I went back to sleep. For normal people, they would have sprint up and run, but I don’t know why, I can just sleep peacefully. My mother told me the same incident of an Indian woman appeared in her room as well. I’m still wondering who she might be.

  • I’m convinced. I’ve heard of other credible stories of people who have seen ghosts too.

  • Do you guys know where i can contact her ? Some of her answer are not normally true.. but most of them are

    Would you be able to interview her friend that can remove the possessive ghosts? My friend had one has she knows a person who can remove themーshe’s had it done twice. I’m very intrigued by how this is done. Or perhaps what kind of charms/whatever can help keep them away. (I’ve gotten so curious about this sort of thing since my friend’s experiences…)

  • How do you know that she’s not making these things up? I’ve met people who claim they see ghosts but they really don’t.

    • From personal experience, people who can see ghosts usually doesn’t want a lot of people to know they can. My friends who can “see” say it could be annoying and troublesome for them if people know. But that doesn’t mean Hoshino-san here is lying. In fact, what she said is similar to what was told to me by my “mystic” friends. Close friends of mine sometimes share more detail than I could handle. It’s true that it’s not exactly an ability that you would like. If my “seeing” friends had seen something terrifying, they would keep quiet about it or at least until that “thing” no longer hangs around or follows us. A friend of mine is like Hoshino-san. Spirits really likes to hang out around her.

      Some may have a different aura around them. I don’t know, they seem oddly cautious and oddly knowledgeable/mature about some things/situations. I’m not sure how to explain it. But as a general rule for myself, if they tell or warn me not to do something/ go somewhere in an odd insistent way, just do as they say. They may really know more than you do. Honestly, the less you know, the better in those situations.

      • Nicely put. I just found this article again. It’s really worth reading twice.

  • REALLY great read. I came online looking to see if there were people out there who saw ONLY animal ghost and spirit and not human – but the link in my Google was tempting and so here I am. If you get this message and can ask her, that would be really helpful. I’ll see flashes of things (animals mainly). I was just reading a book describing how the left and right brain work in completely different manners, and how we have been programmed to develop our left brain side – focused on reason – over our right brain side, which works in a snapshot kind of manner, and takes things more at face value. Far too complicated to delve into now and at this late hour, however.

  • Hoshino san, do you see more ghosts in Obon season in Japan? Friends from Okinawa tell me that in Obon they feel more sensitive and see more. They come to visit the butsudan, not with a message or a plan. They just visit and leave. Does it happen to you?

  • Why in the bible says the death know nothing, there are only demons and angels spirits around us people, Which means there is no soul on earth after death?