Go see the world’s highest snow monsters! Discover the frozen trees of Zao Onsen including illumination displays at night

Picture a white grove of frozen snow-covered trees on the vast slopes of Zao Onsen Ski Resort. These snow-covered trees are known as the snow monsters among visitors to the area because of their sheer size and number. There’s actually more than one way to enjoy this wondrous sight in Zao. In this article, we’ll share five ways to take in the scenery of snow monsters at Zao Onsen Ski Resort. At night, the Zao snow monsters are lit up with lights, providing a romantic atmosphere. We invite you to discover these frozen woody delights at one of the best, large ski slopes on Honshu.

What is a snow monster?

Large grove of snow and ice covered trees
The snowy objects known as snow monsters are actually coniferous trees on the mountains of Zao coated with frozen ice particles. This rare phenomenon is not seen everywhere it snows, because it requires the right natural environment and conditions.

The double feature of the sheer number of Zao’s snow monsters and their breathtaking beauty is considered one of the most scenic views in the world.

In this article, we’ll cover five ways to enjoy the snow monsters of Zao.

How to enjoy the snow monsters 1: Get up close while skiing

Skiers enjoying the view of snow monsters
The best way to experience the power of the snow monsters is to see them as up close as possible.

From the expansive slopes of Zao Onsen Ski Resort, you can enjoy the view of snow monsters spread out across the mountain up close while gliding down a course.

This is one way to enjoy both the amazing scenery and great skiing all at the same time.

How to enjoy the snow monsters 2: Take in the view from the peak restaurant over an extravagant meal

Peak restaurant
While the view from the peak observatory is a highlight, the lesser known view point from the peak restaurant is particularly spectacular.

The restaurant is especially popular among visitors during the high season because of the views of snow monsters from the comfort of the warm indoors.

We recommend the restaurant for those who wish to see the impressiveness of the snow monsters, but don’t like the cold.

How to enjoy the snow monsters 3: Take in the impressive view on the easy-to-use ropeway

View from the ropeway
The ropeway allows you to take in views of the snow monsters without walking on the treacherous snowy roads.

The best part about this recommendation is the unique view of the snow monsters from right under your feet. You’ll be impressed with the panoramic view of this spectacular sight.

Exterior view of the ropeway
The ropeway is popular for its direct access from the onsen district. It is just as popular as the view restaurant.

How to enjoy the snow monsters 4: View the wondrous sight during the limited night time illumination season

Snow monsters illuminated at night
This limited-time light display is a major event at Zao Onsen that you don’t want to miss.

The numerous colorful lights cast on the enormous snow monsters creates a fantastic atmosphere that provides a stark contrast from the daytime.

Magical snow monsters illuminated at night
Hop on the Night Cruiser to see the light display up close. The light display and night cruising are available for a limited time only. Be sure to look up the schedule before you go.

How to enjoy the snow monsters 5: Soak in a unique onsen bath

Zao Onsen Village
After taking in the snow monsters to your heart’s content, we recommend trying out different onsen baths to wrap up your visit. There are many unique onsen in the historic Zao Onsen district.

Be sure to cap off your trip with a tranquil and relaxing stop in the quaint onsen district.

Witness wondrous snow objects with your own eyes

Course surrounded by snow monsters
The snow monsters impress everyone who visits Zao Onsen Ski Resort, one of the largest ski slopes in the Tohoku region.

This ski resort will fully satisfy your every need, whether it be skiing, enjoying the views of the snow monsters or taking an onsen bath. Be sure to visit Zao Onsen this winter to create unforgettable memories in the snow.

Pricing information and schedule may not be up to date and are subject to change without notice. Please check before your trip.

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Zao Onsen Ski Resort Yamagata Prefecture

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Dec. 1st to May 1st
Longest run distance10,000 m
Maximum gradient38 °
Longest run10,000 m
Maximum38 °

Adult 2 people1 night

AUD 183.87〜 (JPY 18,000〜)

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