- "Lord Jabu-Jabu is the patron deity of the Zoras. Princess Ruto is in charge of preparing his meals, morning and night."
- — Zora
Lord Jabu-Jabu is a recurring character in the Legend of Zelda series. He has the appearance of a giant fish, and is worshipped by the Zora race as their patron Deity. In both of Lord Jabu-Jabu's appearances, he not only acts as a character, but his belly acts as one of the game's dungeons.
Lord Jabu-Jabu resides in Zora's Fountain, where he is cared for by the Zora. After King Zora XVI refuses to give Ganondorf the Zora's Sapphire, he places a curse on Lord Jabu-Jabu, causing him to act strangely, and swallow his caretaker, Princess Ruto, while she was bringing him food, along with the Zora's Sapphire. After recovering a note from Ruto to her father, Link is granted access to Zora's Fountain. On the altar of Jabu-Jabu, Link presents an offering of fish to the deity. Opening his mouth to devour the fish, Jabu-Jabu sucks Link into his belly, inside of which Link encounters Princess Ruto. Ruto reluctantly allows Link to aid her and they eventually defeat the parasitic Barinade and recover the Zora's Sapphire. Afterwards, Jabu-Jabu will open his mouth whenever Link approaches, allowing him to enter the dungeon at any time when he is a child.
Sometime during the seven years Link is trapped in the Sacred Realm, Lord Jabu-Jabu disappears from Zora's Fountain, and is never seen nor mentioned in the game again. It is widely believed that he either died or migrated when Zora's Domain froze over. It is also believed that Jabu-Jabu may have been encased in ice, due to the fact that a huge iceberg roughly his size can be seen where he used to be. In dummied data for the game, Jabu-Jabu was supposed to rise above the surface of Zora's Fountain during the ending.
Lord Jabu-Jabu lives in Zora Village in Labrynna. In the Past, Lord Jabu-Jabu has not yet become a fully-grown fish. In the Present age, after Link clears the poison in the waters, Lord Jabu-Jabu has grown. Link must enter Jabu-Jabu's Belly, which serves as the game's seventh dungeon.
- "Long, long ago... In a past more distant than even the Great Calamity or the creation of the Divine Beast Vah Ruta... There was a Zora princess named Ruto. We know that she was an attendant to the Zora patron deity and that she was a fair and lively girl, beloved to all. Around that same time, an evil man with designs on ruling the world appeared, bring disaster upon Zora's Domain."
- — The Sage Princess Ruto
Lord Jabu-Jabu is briefly referenced in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in a Zora Stone Monument about Princess Ruto as the the Zora patron deity whom Princess Ruto was attendant to. However unlike the Great Deku Tree, Lord Jabu-Jabu does not make a physical appearance in Breath of the Wild which takes place long after the events of Ocarina of Time had faded into legend.
Although it never made it into the final product, Shigeru Miyamoto told Famitsu that there was going to be an enhanced fishing mini-game. In the game, Link would be fishing for the legendary Jabu-Jabu. If he managed to catch the giant fish it would have effects such as halting the fall of the Moon.
In the 3DS remake, there is a Fish Link can catch at the Swamp Fishing Hole called Lord Chapu-Chapu which appears as a scaled down version of Lord Jabu-Jabu (however it is still one of the biggest fish in Majora's Mask 3D). While catching it does not have any affect on the game's story, it is likely that Lord Chapu-Chapu was inspired by these early beta concepts of Lord Jabu-Jabu's appearance in Majora's Mask and the idea of catching a fish resembling Lord Jabu-Jabu was later incorporated into Majora's Mask 3D as part of the new Fishing mini-game.
There has been speculation that The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker's Jabun may be Lord Jabu-Jabu or a relative, due to his similar name, appearance, and music that plays while around both Jabun and Lord Jabu-Jabu. Another similarity is that Jabun knows the ancient Hylian Language which was used during the events of Ocarina of Time. Though not affiliated with Nintendo, the Prima's guide for The Wind Waker, states that Jabun was once referred to as Jabu-Jabu, indicating that he survived the future events of Ocarina of Time and returned to Hyrule before taking on the name Jabun following the Great Flood.