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Mt. Zao Snow Monsters Night Tour


Ⓒ Zao Ropeway  

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Mt. Zao Snow Monsters Night Tour


Hop on a Night Cruiser and meet the snow monsters of Yamagata illuminated at night

Yamagata Prefectural Government


Ⓒ Zao Ropeway


A popular ski resort and hot spring area set in the mountains of Yamagata along the border with Miyagi Prefecture, Zao is one of the few places in Japan where it is possible to admire the frost-covered “juhyo” trees. Often nicknamed “snow monsters” for their whimsical appearance, these trees are a mystical natural wonder that every year attracts visitors from all over the world.

The snow monsters of Mt. Zao are created by a combination of perfect winter weather and Mt. Zao's high altitude. The mountain range running north to south throughout Yamagata traps the cold winter air coming all the way from Siberia. Water droplets in the air freeze onto trees, forming towering monsters of frost and ice. The snow monster season in Mt. Zao begins in December, with the monsters being at their biggest between mid-January and mid-February. 


Ⓒ Zao Ropeway


During the snow monster season, at night, the monsters are lit up and glow with rich and vibrant colors that contrast with their daytime white and silver shimmer. These effects all come together to create a magical atmosphere that will make you feel as if you were lost in a fantastically beautiful world. 


Ⓒ Zao Ropeway


Night tours to see the lit-up monsters are operated between late December to late February. Hop on the latest model of the highly specialized snowmobile Night Cruiser and experience the spectacle of the illuminated snow monsters up close. The Night Cruiser is fully equipped with heating for a comfortable ride through the snowy landscape. The snow monsters of Yamagata await you for an unforgettable winter encounter!



How to get there


From Yamagata Station, take a bus  to ZAO Ropeway (45 minutes).


229-3 Zao onsen, Yamagata-shi, Yamagata-ken



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