Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis was used to characterize and compare human fecal microbiota among individuals. T-RFLP patterns of fecal 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) PCR products from three adults revealed host-specific bacterial communities and were in good agreement with those reported in our previous study. In addition, we applied T-RFLP analysis for the analysis of complex bifidobacterial communities in human fecal samples. The developed method based on Bifidobacterium genus-specific PCR and T-RFLP could identify more than one bifidobacterial species. T-RFLP patterns of Bifidobacterium genus-specific PCR products from the fecal samples were host-specific as well as those of fecal 16S rDNA PCR products. These results were confirmed by PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) with primers specific for the genus Bifidobacterium and Bifidobacterium species- and group-specific PCR. Our study demonstrates that T-RFLP analysis is useful for assessment of the diversity of the human fecal microbiota and rapid comparison of the community structure among individuals, and that the applied method is useful for rapid and sensitive analysis of bifidobacterial community.