To understand the geographical patterns of genetic variation in freshwater fishes in western Japan, the genetic structures of populations of Tanakia lanceolata and T. limbata (Teleostei, Cyprinidae) in this area were investigated using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) cytb sequences. Neighbor-joining trees of mtDNA haplotypes revealed four and three genetically divergent groups inT. lanceolata and T. limbata, respectively. Each group was restricted to one or the other of the geographical regions in the area studied. The patterns of geographical divergence in the two species showed some similarities, which seem to reflect common historical events experienced by freshwater fishes distributed in western Japan. On the other hand, dissimilarities were also found in the patterns, indicating that species-specific historical processes also occurred. Within one region, T. lanceolata was less differentiated than T. limbata, suggesting a difference in the dispersal abilities of the two bitterlings. In addition, several individuals in Kunichika River on Shikoku island were morphologically identified as T. lanceolata but had mtDNA haplotypes of T. limbata. We tentatively suggest that these individuals are hybrids of the two species, but further studies employing nuclear markers are necessary to validate this hypothesis.