Hindu traders from the 10th century onwards introduced Ganesha to the rest of Asia. Along with other Hindu gods (Brahma, Indra, Shiva and Vishnu), Ganesha was assimilated into Buddhism.

The Ganesha of Buddhism is quite at variance with the god that Hindus are familiar with. He is the only Hindu God regarded as a Bodhisattva a (Buddha-to-be). Ganesha is an ambivalent figure in Tibetan Buddhism. Some scriptures depict him as Vinayaka, a demon who must be propitiated in order to avoid destruction. He is also shown being trampled upon by a Buddhist deity, Mahakala. In another form, he is the Destroyer of Obstacles, Nrtta Ganapati, the dancing god who made his way into Tibet through Nepal. As a red, many-limbed and fearfully armed deity, he is an emanation of Avalokiteswara, the Buddhist deity.

The early Buddhists took Ganesha with them to Japan, where he became a minor deity called Kangiten. Several rituals and beliefs practiced by his worshippers in Japan correspond with the Indian cult of Ganapatya. Many prominent temples have been dedicated to Ganesha in Japan. While businessmen propitiate him for success in their enterprises, young lovers pray to him for a fruitful courtship.