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Snow Monster

2023年02月03日 | ★STARRY★

My winter is not complete without going to Yamagata`s famous winter spot, The Zao Snow Monster. The magical frozen phenomenon that occurs on top of Japan's Mount Zaō goes by names like Juhyou, snow monsters, or ice monsters. But no matter what it's called, this mountainside of natural ice sculptures is a unique sight.

Riding in a cable car and going to the top where the snow monster is located is a must. If you have fear of heights it is not advisable to ride this cable car. Also, you must be ready for extremely cold temperature on the top of the mountain of Zao. Reaching the top, I saw these Japanese snow monsters are actually the result of snow and ice. After the mountain's trees are laden with snow, icy winds sculpt them into humanlike figures that appear to rise from the ground, delighting sightseers.

Of course, they are not truly monsters at all, the frost-covered trees never fails to excite my imagination. From approximately January to mid-March, Siberian winds blow across the North Japan sea. They zip over the western plains of Yamagata and hit the forested mountainsides. In the Zaō area, six to ten feet of snowfall is quite common.

They said the Juhyou are becoming smaller and less impressive as temperatures continue to rise because of climate change. They are also worried that visitors who arrive to see snow monsters they've heard of in the past will leave disappointed. What we saw, would not describe as Juhyou in the past... they used to be so much more beautiful. I hope this slow destruction will not lead to complete extinction.

I will definitely go back to Zao next year.



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