Zao in Yamagata Prefecture known as the largest snow resort in the Tohoku region. “Juhyo” (Frost Covered Tree), which is also a representative of Zao, is a natural art brought about by the unique weather conditions of this region. It is also called “snow monster” because the appearance of trees covered with ice and snow looks like a monster. Juhyo is particularly fantastic as a lighted up figure and attracts a different expression from daytime. To see Juhyo at night, it is recommended “Juhyo Fantasy Corridor” tour which goes by “Night Cruiser” (Snow Car).
Juhyo is the icing of the cloud particles carried on the seasonal wind blowing from the Sea of Japan side to the branches and leaves of the coniferous Todomatsu growing in the Zao series. They grow with repeating snow accretion.
The highest stage of development of Juhyo is February. With the wind from the northwest and the average temperature minus 10 to 15 degrees weather conditions, Juhyo grows the largest. And Zao Juhyo group will be seen.
In January, which is the “growing season” of Juhyo every year, branches and leaves freezing towards the windward, so-called “shrimp’s tail” is made, and in February of “the heyday” it will grow to be a big Juhyo. In March which begins to feel the sign of spring, it is said to be “declining / collapsing period”, as the temperature rises, ice and snow melts and Juhyo becomes thinner.
“Juhyo Fantasy Corridor” tour takes about 70 minutes. Take the ropeway from Zao Mountain Foot Station and go to Juhyo Kogen station (one way 7 minutes). Switch to the “Night Cruiser” from the boarding location in the immediate vicinity of Juhyo Kogen Station. From there to Juhyo watching point, it takes about 15 minutes each way.
A snow monster “Juhyo” that does not have the same shape as one. Zao is the few mountains in the whole country that satisfy all the conditions under which Juhyo is built. Let’s ride the “Night Cruiser” and meet art works created by nature.
Especially in Yamagata Zao Onsen Ski Resort equipped with large and various courses even in Yamagata, “Zao Juhyo Matsuri” (Frost Covered Tree Festival) is performed every winter.
The beautiful frost-covered trees which nature made has a wonderful form just like long humps. February when it grows greatly becomes especially best time to see.
It is introduced as “Snow Monsters” in CNN of America, frost-covered trees of Zao is world-famous. Backed by this rare scene appearing only in winter, there are full of memorable events like a firework display, torch ski, etc.
The frost-covered trees, which fog and clouds freeze and clings to trees, is a true symbol of a severe winter.
The period of the whole “Zao Frost Covered Tree Festival” is from the end of December to the beginning of March.
Moreover, “Torch Ski” will be performed in February. This is the event which can see 1000 persons’ ski with a torch. The light of the torch reflects in snow, and it seems that light spreads and brings on a fantastic atmosphere.
From the beginning of February to the beginning of March, frost-covered trees is lit up at night, and also it will be directed fantastically.
The “Zao ropeway” in the Zao Onsen Ski Resort is sponsoring lighting. You can go to the field of frost-covered trees by the ropeway and can overlook them from the observation deck of mountaintop Station. In addition, from the car of the ropeway of the 18-passenger, you can appreciate 360-degree panoramic of frost-covered trees opening under eyes.
The beautiful fireworks of winter are launched by the skiing slope during the period. Gorgeous fireworks shine in a clear night sky and pure white snow. Why don’t you look at fireworks while enjoying night skiing and silver frost?
|Name:||Zao Frost Covered Tree Festival (Snow Monsters)|
|Address:||Zaoonsen Yamagata, Yamagata 990-2301 Japan|
|Access:||JR Yamagata-shinkansen Line “Yamagata-eki” station (40 minutes by bus)|
|Tel:||(+81) 23-647-2266 (Yamagata-shi Tourism Information Center)|