Jorōgumo (Japanese: 絡新婦) is a type of yokai a creature of japanese mythology It can shapeshift into a beautiful woman with the upper body of a woman and the bottom body of a spider, it has also been depicted to be able to control small fire-breathing spiders.
Things That Ought to be Pondered, Even in Urgent Times relates the story of a young woman appearing to be about 19 or 20 years old who appears to a youthful warrior. She tells the child she carries “Him there he is surely your father. Go forth, and be embraced”. The warrior sees through her ploy and, realizing she is a yōkai, strikes her with his sword, making her flee to the attic. The next day, they find a dead jorōgumo one or two Shaku long in the attic, along with numerous bodies of people that the jorōgumo had devoured.
Another story says that at the Jōren Falls of Izu, Shizuoka Prefecture, allegedly lives the jorōgumo mistress of the waterfall. The local legend tells of a man who rested beside the waterfall basin when the jorōgumo tried to drag him into the waterfall by throwing webs around his leg. The man transferred the webbing around a tree stump, which was dragged into the falls instead of him.
After that, people of the village dared not venture close to the falls anymore. Then one day, a visiting woodcutter who was a stranger to this all tried to cut a tree and mistakenly dropped his favorite axe into the basin. As he tried to go down to fetch his axe back, a beautiful woman appeared and returned it to him. “You must never tell anyone what you saw here”, she said. Initially he kept the secret, but as days went by, the need to spill the story burdened him. And finally at a banquet, while drunk, he told the whole story. Feeling unburdened and at peace, he went to sleep, but he never woke again. In another version, the woodcutter was pulled outside by an invisible string and his corpse was found floating the next day at the Jōren Falls.
In yet another version, the woodcutter fell in love with a woman he met at the waterfall. He visited her every day, but grew physically weaker each time. The osho of a nearby temple suspected that the woodcutter was “taken in by the jorōgumo mistress of the waterfall”, and accompanied him to chant a sutra. When a spider thread reached out to the woodcutter, the oshō let out a thunderous yell, and the thread disappeared. Now knowing that the woman was actually a jorōgumo, the woodcutter still persisted and tried to gain permission for marriage from the mountain’s tengu When the tengu denied him the woodcutter ran towards the waterfall, where he was entangled by spider threads and disappeared into the water.