Mt. Zao is on the border of Yamagata and Miyagi prefectures and is renowned for the striking shapes of its snow monsters. These “monsters," known as juhyo in Japanese, are actually fir trees which have been engulfed up to their tips in snow by the unforgiving weather system.
From late December to early March, the snow monsters are lit up for evening viewing during the Zao Juhyo Festival, and the illuminated juhyo appear even more otherworldly than during the daytime. Take in the full array of colors from several vantage points, such as the rooftop observatory, restaurant and from outside.
Visitors should expect harsh weather at the top of the mountain and come dressed in suitably warm clothing.
Zao Onsen is about 100 minutes by highway bus from Sendai Station. The bus requires advance booking and leaves from terminal 76 near the east exit.
Board the Zao Ropeway Sanroku line in the town for a seven-minute journey up to Juhyo Kogen Station at 1,331 meters. Then, change to the Zao Ropeway Sancho Line for Jizo Sancho station (1,661 meters).
Held from late December to early March.
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