Eighty-six randomly selected children between 6 months and 12 years of age admitted with acute unexplained encephalopathy over a one year period were examined for evidence of Japanese encephalitis. One or more indicators of the infection were present in 36 (41.8%). Viral isolation from brain tissue was possible in 2 of 12 patients and from cerebrospinal fluid in 19 out of 62 patients. Serological evidence of probable Japanese encephalitis was found in 21 out of 36 patients. Japanese encephalitis is an important cause of acute childhood encephalopathy in the Lucknow area, where it is probably endemic.