The Japanese word for snake is hebi (traditional Japanese) and sunēku (English loanword). Find a list of common snake species found in Japan, along with their Japanese translations.
|Snake (English loanword)|
Interesting facts about snakes in Japan
What do snakes symbolize in Japan?
In Japan, snakes are seen as symbols of rebirth and transformation, and are often associated with gods, divine messengers, and curses in traditional beliefs. These beliefs often discourage people from harming any snakes and disturbing certain habitats associated with snake gods.
In Japanese culture, particularly in the Shinto religion, snakes are sometimes linked with dragons and are considered to be benevolent and wise creatures. As shapeshifters, snakes are believed to be able to move easily between heaven and earth and act as messengers between the human world and the divine. These Shinto beliefs have led to a cultural respect for snakes and a tendency to avoid disturbing their habitats.
Are there any venomous snakes in Japan?
Yes, there are. Out of all the different snake species in Japan the four most venomous ones are sea snakes, the Mamushi, the Tiger Keelback, and the Habu. Interestingly, the Habu snake from Okinawa makes a somewhat unique alcoholic beverage.