Christmas in Japan

Christmas in Japan

Natural art! Come and see Juhyo, frost-covered trees in Zao

Have you ever heard of a phenomenon called Juhyo? It’s a rare phenomenon that occurs in Zao, Yamagata Prefecture, where trees are completely covered with frost and snow in the winter.

Extremely cold water droplets in snow clouds fall and crash onto the leaves and branches of trees and freeze, and then when it snows on top of them the ice and snow stick together. The white layers of ice developed by repeating this process is known as Juhyo.

Ice Monster a

But it does not always happen in every cold place. High altitude, naturally-grown evergreen conifers, and just the right amount of snow are all required to make Juhyo happen. In addition, it grows particularly fast when the temperature is around minus 5°C (23℉) and when the wind is weak.

Zao, a snow resort in Yamagata Prefecture, has naturally-grown conifers. Its geographical features and meteorological conditions are also perfect to allow Juhyo to occur in this place. In Zao, where the wind tends to be strong, Juhyo grows windward and its tips turn into a shape called “the shrimp tail”. This Juhyo is often referred to as the “Ice Monster” because of its size and how many there are. Zao is a region that has been developed as a ski resort, so it is known as a scenic site where you can see Juhyo without climbing a winter mountain.

Ice Monster

The most popular way to enjoy Juhyo is a ropeway. You can see the grand field of frost-covered trees while riding the gondola and you can also enjoy the illumination at night. There is also a restaurant where you can enjoy dining with the view of Juhyo.

Skiing or snowboarding is another way of enjoying Juhyo in Zao which is also famous as a ski resort. The Juhyo season is from around the end of December to around the end of February every year. January is the growing season of frost-covered trees and February is its peak.

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