Rao is the extremely beautiful priestess of Ankoku Temple. She is given the nickname "Busty Babe" by Issun and it amply fits her. She is a regent to Queen Himiko and she also protects Ryoshima Coast from evil using her Prayer Slips. She is adored by all, because she also works as a healer to the sick.
However this is not the real Rao; the Rao that Amaterasu and Issun meet is an evil Rao that has been taken over by Ninetails. This evil Rao tricks them and asks them to find the Fox Rods as she convinces them that they will defeat Ninetails. She also asks them to kill the Water Dragon, even though this is the only way to get to Ninetail's domain, Oni Island.
Previous to this the real Rao had been killed by Ninetails, as she was the one who fought her and took away her Fox Rods. Her body was hidden under Ankoku Temple and left to rot while Ninetails disguised herself as Rao. Only when Amaterasu and Issun find the real Rao's body does Ninetails reveal herself to be posing as Rao. They then have to fight Evil Rao who has the masked head of Ninetails and the body of Rao.
Rao is a very beautiful woman with long black hair. She wears a purple kimono and red beads. From flashbacks we see that the real Rao wore blue beads and did not cover her face with her fringe.
Her most noticeable feature is her large chest which is what possibly captivates Issun. He also makes a lot of comments about it such as "Ahh, the wonders of nature, like a deep valley between two lofty peaks" and refers to them as "melons". It is a running joke in the game and adds some comical relief. Her large chest is also her downfall as it was probably how Ninetails, a Kitsune, entered her body to possess her.
When she is in her "evil Rao" form, she has the same body but her face is that of Ninetails and she also has appendages that resemble a Celestial Brush on her legs.
As Rao is dead, she naturally does not return in Okamiden. However she is referenced to several times during the game. The new Monk watching over Ankoku Temple will tell Chibiterasu all about her story how she is missed by the people of Ryoshima Coast.
The cave where her grave is found in Okami is now covered by a wall, examining it prompts Chibiterasu's partner to say that they wonder what's behind it.
 Based on
Rao is based on the Japanese legend of "Happyaku Bikuni" or "The Eight-Hundred-Year-Old Priestess" in English. This story is about a young girl who accidentally eats the meat of a mermaid. When the girl reaches adulthood she suddenly stops aging and becomes near immortal. However after marrying many times and out living all of her families she finally has enough. She then becomes a nun and retreats to a cave to die.
- Rao's Prayer Slips turn the Celestial Brush's holy smoke a deep teal colour.
- In the Okami Official Complete Works, it is stated that Rao will be reborn as a flower outside the grave built for her between the events of Okami and Okamiden. However, this flower does not appear in Okamiden.
- Rao's Japanese name Tsudzurao can also be wrote the same way as Kyubi, a nine tailed fox from Japanese lore.
Art of Rao and her Prayer Slips