Yamagata, Japan Oct. 04 Wed 6:22PM
Skiing, snowboarding, and the famous “snow monsters” in winter, hiking and gorgeous views in spring through autumn, and numerous hot springs to enjoy year round- Zao presents many faces.
Most known for a phenomenon created by snow adhering to the areas evergreen trees as a result of very strong winds, the “monsters,” known as “Juhyo” (“ice trees”) in Japanese, can eerily resemble thousands of frozen human figures when seen from a distance, creating a unique and otherworldly sight.
There are also great winter sports opportunities here, and one can slide through the snow monsters on skis or snowboards.
If one is more inclined to a green season, there’s great hiking in the area, and the Okama Crater of Mt. Zao in particular is worth trekking to see!
Whatever your activity of choice, unwind at the end of the day in one of the area’s eponymous onsen hot springs!