A novel Vibrio strain, JCM 31412T, was isolated from seawater collected from the Inland Sea (Setonaikai), Japan, and characterized as a Gram-negative, oxidase-positive, catalase-negative, facultatively anaerobic, motile, ovoid-shaped bacterium with one polar flagellum. Based on 16S rDNA gene identity, strain JCM 31412T showed a close relationship with type strains of Vibrio brasiliensis (LMG 20546T, 98.2% identity), V. harveyi (NBRC 15634T, 98.2%), V. caribbeanicus (ATCC BAA-2122T, 97.8%) and V. proteolyticus (NBRC 13287T, 97.8%). The G+C content of strain JCM 31412T DNA was 46.8%. Multi-locus sequence analysis (MLSA) of eight loci (ftsZ, gapA, gyrB, mreB, pyrH, recA, rpoA and topA; 5535bp) further clustered strain JCM 31412T in the Nereis clade, genus Vibrio. Phenotypically, strain JCM 31412T differed from the closest related Vibrio species in its utilization of melibiose and raffinose, and its lack of casein and gelatin hydrolysis. It was further differentiated based on its fatty acid composition, specifically properties of C12:03OH and summed features, which were significantly different from those of V. brasiliensis, V. nigripulchritudo and V. caribbeanicus type strains. Overall, the results of DNA-DNA hybridization, and physiological and biochemical analysis differentiated strain JCM 31412T from other described species of the genus Vibrio. Based on these polyphasic taxonomic findings, it was therefore concluded that JCM 31412T was a novel Vibrio species, for which the name Vibrio japonicus sp. nov. was proposed, with JCM 31412T (= LMG 29636T = ATCC TSD-62T) as the type strain.