There are very different phantoms of all shapes and sizes, each one generally feeding off the darkness in people and corrupting the 'good' in one's heart. They have a certain fondness for the smell of gods and shinki. It is unknown how the phantoms are able to exist in the nearshore alongside humans, but they can be expelled and killed by gods. They cannot be seen by humans under normal circumstances, but animals, small children, and people who have seen the far shore can see them.
All phantoms look different. Some have cute appearances whilst others look scary. They can range from being small enough to sit on somebody's shoulder or large enough to linger over a city. They appear slightly transparent and are usually either black, white, grey, or a mixture of fluorescent colors.
Some of the Phantoms resemble real animals or objects based on animals. Some notable examples are:
- Bunny Plushie
- Dinosaur Fossil
Some of the Phantoms resemble other objects. Some notable examples are:
- Coin Purse
- Hiyori is a Half Phantom. This is because she was almost run over by an oncoming bus while trying to save Yato.
- Yukine was once almost turned into a Phantom, but was saved due to an Ablution. However, in his curiosity and pursuit to learn God's greatest secret, Yukine is blighted again.
- Nora is noted to be Phantom-like. Yato explains the reason she hasn't turned into an Ayakashi is that she has a second form.