The Hibagon is a Bigfoot-like cryptid from Japanese folklore. Cryptozoologists often describe it as the Japanese version of the Tibetan Yeti.

The first reports of the creature in the 1970s came from the slopes of Mount Hiba around Saijo and Hiwa in the Hiba District and Shobara in the Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan.

Local folklore claims the cryptid lives in the Hiba-Dogo-Taishaku Quasi-National Park that straddles three prefectures, including the Hiroshima Prefecture.

The park is about 78 square kilometers of rugged mountainous terrain. It has some of the few remaining virgin forests in Japan with diverse wildlife, including the Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata).


Japanese folklore describes the Hibagon as a humanoid creature. It stands about five feet tall. The skin is pinkish, reddish, brown, or dark, sometimes with white extremities (hands and feet) or patches of white on its arms and chest. The body has bristles.

The hands and feet are large. It also has large eyes, a large nose, a long face, large head with protruding lower jaws.

The Hibagon resembles a Sasquatch

Some accounts compare it to the North American Bigfoot (Sasquatch), while others compare it to the Tibetan Yeti. Some said it looked like a gorilla.

Although multiple alleged eyewitness reports claimed it was bipedal, some said it moved on all fours. In some cases, the bipedal gait was awkwardly hopping or monkey-like.

However, at about 5 feet tall, the Hibagon is smaller than the Sasquatch or Yeti. Accounts estimate the height of the Sasquatch and Yeti at about 6-10 feet.

Alleged eyewitness accounts from sightings in 1972 described the Hibagon as a creature with a dark brown face and hair. It reportedly had glaring eyes set deep in its skull. The claim that the creature has eyes set deep in its skull could mean it has a prominent brow ridge.

It reportedly has footprints about 10 inches long and 6 inches wide.

The Hibagon is not aggressive

Witnesses said the creature was neither hostile nor aggressive. It only wanted to be left alone. When people came armed with guns, the creature fled into the bush.

In his Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology, cryptozoologist George Eberhart (2002) reported the Hibagon has an inverted triangle face, large eyes, and a snub nose.

It also has a bad smell similar to rotten flesh.

Sightings and Tales

The first known sightings of the Hibagon occurred in the summer and fall of 1970 in Saijo town, Hiba District, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan.

According to the Japanese Asahi Shimbun, in July 1970, a man driving a pickup truck in Saijo reported seeing a creature resembling an ape walking on its hind legs on the slopes of Mount Hiba.

The creature hobbled across the road and entered the forest on the other side.

Hibagon fever

The driver’s report sparked what became known as the Hibagaon fever that raged for some years in the villages and towns around Mount Hiba, Hiroshima Prefecture.

Many people came forward to say they had seen the Hibagon. Most alleged sightings occurred around Saijo and Hiwa in the Hiba District of the Hiroshima Prefecture. Other sightings occurred in Shobara, northeastern Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan.

Alleged eyewitnesses said the creature was about 5 feet tall and had an inverted triangle-shaped face.

People called the creature the Hibagon after Mount Hiba.

A reported sighting involved a group of schoolchildren who saw the creature during an excursion near Mount Hiba. The children reportedly fled in terror when a strange-looking ape-like creature appeared.

Farmers reported seeing the creature passing through cultivated fields. A woman claimed she saw an ape-like creature in the bush near Hiwa.

Hikers also reported humanoid tracks in the snow around Mount Hiba.

The local authorities investigated

Following multiple reports, the local authorities launched investigations that involved the police and experts from Kobe University.

However, the investigations didn’t yield evidence of a strange ape-like creature roaming the area.

Personal recollections

Seiko Fujikawa was a school child when the first sightings occurred in the 1970s. He recalled that locals proposed multiple theories to explain the sightings, the Asahi Shimbun reported.

Some thought that the gods of Mount Hiba sent the creature to show their disapproval of the recent modernizing influences, such as the construction of recreational facilities and camping grounds in the region.

Others spread a rumor that a gorilla escaped from a zoo in Hiroshima City.

Many older residents recalled that Saijo and surrounding towns where Hibagon reports came from received intensive print media and TV attention, and local people enjoyed it.

Saijo became synonymous with the Hibagon nationwide, and tourists came to the town. Tourism boosted the local economy.

The benefits of national attention encouraged more people to report sightings. According to the Asahi Shimbun, the local authorities deliberately exploited the Hibagon to promote the city for tourism. They allegedly offered to pay 5,000 yen to any citizen who reported sighting the creature.


Skeptics have proposed multiple alternative explanations for the alleged sightings of the Hibagon. We examine a few of them below:


During the so-called “Hibagon fever” in Saijo and Hiwa, reports circulated that the sightings were due to a gorilla that escaped from a zoo in Hiroshima.

The Japanese macaque

Descriptions of the Hibagon as an “ape-like” creature with brown or greyish fur and a ruddy face led some skeptics to suggest that some of the alleged sightings may have been due to people mistaking the Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata) for a cryptid.

The Japanese refer to the macaque as Nihonzaru. Adult males average about 22.5 inches in height and weigh about 11 kg. Thus, they are much smaller than the Hibagon’s estimated height of about 5 feet.

The Japanese macaque typically walks on all fours. They are terrestrial species, but females spend more time on trees. They are good climbers and swimmers. Individuals may live for more than 30 years.

The species live in cold climates. They can survive in temperatures as low as -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit).

A Japanese World War II deserter

The media recently reported cases of World War II soldiers who deserted the Imperial Japanese Armed Forces and went into hiding in the dense jungles of the Southeast Asia region.

In 2005, the media reported that two former Japanese soldiers in their 80s emerged from the Philippines jungle after hiding for 60 years to avoid the war.

The reports identified the men as Yoshio Yamakawa, 87, and Tsuzuki Nakauchi, 85. They’d been hiding in the forest for 60 years after U.S. forces destroyed their military units in battles in the 1940s. They didn’t know the war was over.

The incident was not the first time.

In 1972, former Japanese soldier Shoichi Yokoi emerged from the jungles of Guam, where he’d been hiding, unaware the war was over.

In 1974, locals discovered a former Japanese soldier, Hiroo Onoda, hiding on the island of Lubang in the Philippines. The 83-year-old was unaware that Japan had lost the war and surrendered nearly 30 years before.

A mutant from the Hiroshima atom bomb explosion

Some proposed fancifully that the Hibagon could be a human who became an ape due to mutations caused by radiations from the atomic bomb explosion that destroyed the city of Hiroshima in 1945.

Other Name/sHinagon
HabitatCountryside, Jungle


Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology, George M. Eberhart (2002).

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13584940, “Japan’s ‘Bigfoot’ still influences Hiroshima town after 50 years,” accessed on March 26, 2023.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/may/28/secondworldwar.japan, “60 years after the war ends, two soldiers emerge from the jungle,” accessed on March 26, 2023.

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