Ice Monsters of the Zao Mountains
A serene, snowy landscape always sets a magical mood for winter holidays – however Japan takes the excitement to a whole new level, transporting you into a winter wonderland you’ve only read about in fairytales.
Welcome to Mount Zaō, a volcanic mountain range on the prefectural border between Yamagata and Miyagi prefectures in Japan. This renowned ski resort with lots of hot springs is most famous for the spooky snow monsters living in the area! The word “Zao” means “evil” in Serbo-Croatian, however there’s nothing evil about the mountain – and the snow ghosts can be easily explained.
Each winter a unique weather phenomenon occurs in the area with a combination of high altitude and cold winds blowing from Siberia. Water droplets freeze on the trees, creating a covering of snow and ice that takes on bizarre shapes. Add a dash of fantasy and you’re surrounded by hundreds of tall snow monsters that, if we’re honest, are more spectacular than scary!