While most snow festivals feature man-made sculptures, the snow monsters of Zao—called juhyo in Japanese—are entirely natural, created in rare circumstances that require specific weather and tree formation (namely freezing cold Siberian winds). The trees are swept sideways catching snow in such a way that they are transformed into hulking monsters on the mountainside. The snow monsters can be seen for months during winter, but February is the peak time as they begin to melt in March.
With incredible views from the rope-way and plenty of skiing opportunities, you can get your monster fix pretty easily. The hills are illuminated in the evenings throughout February (and Friday through Sunday in January), and the resorts offer night snowmobile tours to see them. The festival weekend includes a parade of skiers gliding down the mountain with glowing torches in each hand as well as mascots and fireworks displays on the Saturday evening!
Japan is an anthophile’s dream: chrysanthemums, camellias, wisteria, and the mighty cherry blossom abound, and it seems that every region and city has a gorgeous formal garden landscaped to showcase the bloom of the moment. In Yamanashi Prefecture, the star […]
On the last Sunday of May each year, Higashiomi in Shiga Prefecture hosts a festival in which enormous traditional kites are hauled into the air by teams of up to 100 people. The festival features local kites as well as […]
Walk a mile in Japan and you’ll come across another regional food specialty you just have to try. Running concurrently with the Fuji Shibazakura Festival, and situated at the same location, the Mt Fuji Delicious Food Festival will save your […]
If you’re a bit puzzled what a ‘Gatalympics’ might be then an easier way to think of this festival is ‘fun with mud’. The event takes place on the mudflats on the Ariake Sea next to Kashima City in Saga […]