InuYasha (犬夜叉, InuYasha)
InuYasha is a hanyō, the product of an inu-yōkai (犬妖怪, inu-yōkai? dog demon) and a human. He wields the Tessaiga, a supernatural sword made from one of his deceased father's fangs. This sword, when properly wielded, can destroy one hundred demons with a single swing. InuYasha can quickly recover from injuries that would be fatal for any average human, because of his demonic heritage. On the night of the new moon each month, InuYasha changes into a normal human with black hair, brown eyes, and loses his yokai (demon) power during this time. InuYasha was bound to Goshinboku by Kikyo's arrow for fifty years until Kagome freed him.

Kagome Higurashi (日暮 かごめ, Higurashi Kagome) Kagome is a 15 year-old 9th grade student. She is the reincarnation of Kikyo, a miko, or priestess, who died 50 years before the time Kagome first emerges from the Bone Eater's Well in the Sengoku period. Because of this Kagome has powerful spiritual powers herself and can even sense the Shikon no Tama, a jewel that is said to balance the forces of good and evil. Kagome can be extremely sweet, but can also become very dangerous when provoked. InuYasha wears a special bead necklace which only responds to Kagome's command: when she yells "Osuwari!", which translates to "Sit!" in English. In the dub version, "InuYasha, sit!" or "Sit, boy!" are sometimes used instead. At this, InuYasha is thrown to the ground. Kaede placed the necklace upon him because he was threatening to kill Kagome if she did not give the jewel to him.

Miroku (弥勒, Miroku)
A Buddhist "hōshi" (low-ranking, itinerant monk), Miroku traveled the countryside performing services such as exorcisms and yōkai exterminations to earn his living. He suffers from a hereditary curse originally inflicted upon his grandfather Miyatsu (also a Buddhist monk) by Naraku. The curse created a hole in his hand that became a kazaana (風洞, kazaana? air void or "wind tunnel") which sucks in anything not nailed down, regardless of mass. However, absorbing poisons harms him, a fact Naraku takes advantage of by creating highly poisonous insects whose presence prevents Miroku from using his kazāna on Naraku or his allies. Miroku uses the kazāna as a powerful weapon against yōkai, but if the curse is not broken (by defeating Naraku), it will grow too large to control and consume Miroku himself. Miroku is a talented con artist who does not hesitate to invent fictitious supernatural menaces, which he can then offer to combat in return for food and shelter, and he has a distinct weakness for single women. He makes a point of asking every attractive woman he meets if she will bear his child, and he habitually strokes the buttocks of attractive women. He eventually proposes to Sango, though this does little to curb his flirtations with other women.

Sango (珊瑚, Sango)
A "yōkai taijiya" (demon slayer) who hails from a village of professional yōkai slayers. Sango wields the Hiraikotsu, a massive boomerang made of yōkai bones, in addition to a broad repertoire of tools and tricks for battling yōkai. Sango seeks revenge against Naraku for the death of her family and her entire village. In addition, Sango seeks to rescue her brother Kohaku from Naraku's influence and somehow save his life, even though Kohaku's life is tied to the jewel shard embedded in his back. She also eventually falls for Miroku. Although everyone but InuYasha noticed, she never wanted to admit it. Her interest was manifested by hitting Miroku when he flirted with other single women.

Shippo (七宝, Shippō)
A young orphan kitsune, or fox demon, whose father was killed by the Thunder Brothers, Hiten and Manten, and the first character in the story to join InuYasha and Kagome in their travels as a group. Shippo can shape shift, but his forms are temporary, often incomplete and ineffective, and he is usually given away by his tail. His other noteworthy abilities illusionary tricks with toys like his giant spinning top attack, using his race's notable foxfire magic, and making things like leaves or himself multiply. He tends to be naively observant and often makes pointed and cheeky comments directed towards InuYasha, earning him a retaliatory bonk on the head for his unsolicited "advice".

Kirara (雲母, Kirara)
Sango's faithful nekomata; Kirara has cream-colored fur, with black ears, two black stripes on each of her two bushy tails near the tip, and black-tipped paws. Kirara can change between two forms, a ferocious yōkai the size of a lion with the ability to fly, and a cute little kitten. Sango, Miroku, and Shippo often use Kirara's flying ability as transportation in order to keep up with InuYasha. (In the English dub, her name is pronounced "Kee-Lah-Lah", because the Japanese language treats "r" and "l" as one phoneme.)

Sesshomaru (殺生丸, Sesshōmaru)
Sesshomaru is the yōkai son of the powerful Inu no Taishou. Sesshomaru believes that struggle is the only way for survival, and throughout most of the series, he shows his contempt for InuYasha, his half brother. Although Sesshomaru inherited his father's Tenseiga, which can bring 100 people back to life with a single swing, he originally coveted InuYasha's inheritance, the powerful Tessaiga. However, a spell was cast on Tessaiga so that full yōkai cannot touch it without burning their flesh. Even knowing that he cannot touch the sword, Sesshomaru still desires to take it from InuYasha.