Zao Onsen Ski Resort and Juhyo Light Up 2024

Visit Zao Onsen Ski Resort and Meet Snow Monsters in Yamagata

Zao is a popular Ski/Onsen resort where you can see the most unique and spectacular snow landscape in Japan! Meet hundreds of snow monsters in Zao and enjoy the Juhyo Light-up only in winter time in northern Japan!

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Zao (蔵王)

Zao is a volcanic mountain in Yamagata Prefecture. It’s one of the most popular hot spring and ski resorts in Tohoku area. It’s also famous for the “Juhyo”(ice trees) which is created by hard lime, which is very rare natural phenomenon created by heavy snowfall and freezing winds. The trees covered with heavy thick layers of snow look like a crowd of snow monsters!

The formation of Juhyo starts in November and by January the white snow monsters develop their shapes. Each one of them is 2–3m tall and has different shape.

The Juhyo forest is located in a ski park in Zao so you can enjoy skiing through those gigantic snow monsters! Even if you do not ski, there is rope-way service running above the forest which you can capture the magnificent over look view of the monsters! If you wish to see the mega sized snow monsters, the best time to visit there is January and February.

The special winter event, Juhyo Light Up (樹氷ライトアップ) is held at some nights between late December to late February annually (17:00 to 21:00). The schedule for Juhyo Light-up 2023-2024 is as below:

December: 23,24,29,30,31
January: 1,2,3,5,6,7,12,13,1419,20,21,26,27,28,29
February: 2,3,4,5,9,10,11,12,16,17,18,19,23,24,25,

Pieces of art created by cold winter weather can be only seen in this particular area in Japan. Make sure you will be equipped enough to spend time under -10 degrees!!

<< Click HERE to book Zao hotels with the best rate!! >>

Zao Onsen Ski Resort


Address: 229–3 Zaou Onsen, Yamagata-city, Yamagata prefecture

Access: Bus from Yamagata station. Take Yamagata-Zao Onsen bus to Zao Hot Springs Onsen Station

More info:

Yamagata Prefecture offers a lot of tourist attractions besides Zao Onsen Ski Resort. Please check out the link below for more information about Yamagata!

There are many more attractive ski resorts across Japan! You can check more ski destinations in Japan from the link below!

Numbers of snow events are held in cities in northern Japan during winter! From Sapporo Snow Festivals to hidden snow wonderland, here is the list of some of the most spectacular snow festivals in Japan that you should see once in your lifetime!

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"The world is my oyster" A globetrotter 🌎 and hammock lover 🌞 who loves taking adventures to fuel wanderlust. Born and raised in Japan, I have lived and explored countries around the world. As a resident of Japan and based on my travel experience, I'd love to share my knowledge and tips for travelling Japan with my readers. I hope my story will help you plan your trip and have a great time in Japan 🌈