Shichihoda (also called Shichifuja) (七歩蛇)

Shichihoda which is also called Shichifuja is a Japanese yokai (ghosts, spirits and monsters).

It is a type of mysterious snakes, which is introduced in Ryoi ASAI's collected ghost stories, "Otogi-boko" (literally, a doll-shaped talisman for children, which was a stuffed doll wrapped in silk clothes and used as effigies to rid the child of misfortune and disease), in which the Shichihoda had reportedly appeared in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City.

It is a little snake and approximately 12 centimeters long. However, it looks just like a dragon, having four legs. The color of its body is crimson, and the gaps between the scales glittering golden, and its ears standing up.

Those who were bitten by this highly venomous, deadly snake may die within seven steps, thereby being named 'Shichiho-da' (seven-step snake).

It is said that after many mysterious snakes were found and extirpated at a residence of the Urai family at the western foot of Mount Higashi-yama, the garden trees withered one after another and fell. The garden stones were shattered to pieces, and from under the shattered stones emerged the Shichihoda.

[Original Japanese]