Dec 25
~
Feb 28 2022

Zao Snow Monster Festival

5:00pm – 9:00pm

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!

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, many events have been canceled. Always check official sites before heading to an event.

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