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Zao Onsen Ski Resort (located in Yamagata Prefecture) annually holds the juhyo light-up event every weekend (5pm to 9pm) from late December to early March (in February, the event is held every day). At the venue, you'll be overwhelmed by the spectacle of the multi-colored, lighted juhyo (snow-covered trees or "snow monsters").
Take the Zao Ropeway Sanroku Line for Juhyo Kogen station from Zao Sanroku station. Zao Sanroku station is located 855m above sea level, and Juhyo Kogen station is at 1,331m. The trip takes around seven minutes. Because skiers and snowboarders also use this ropeway, the cars may often be crowded; however, tourists for the juhyo viewing take priority. It's safer by the window to avoid skiers and snowboarders.
Arriving at Juhyo Kogen station, change trains to the Zao Ropeway Sancho Line for Jizo Sancho station (1,661m above sea level). The cars for this ropeway have seats, making it more comfortable for you to reach your destination. As the car approaches to the mountain peak, you can see the snow monsters (juhyo) below.
Spectacular mountain views in the distance on a sunny day.
There are many spots at Zao Onsen Ski Resort where Maries' fir trees grow in clusters. When covered in snow, these create the juhyo, named for their resemblance to monsters.
Walking out of Jizo Sancho station, you'll be greeted with the spectacle of large snow monsters. You're welcome to approach them for a closer look, but don't cross the ropes. Please follow the rules while enjoying the view.
As the sun goes down, the colors of sunset reflect mysteriously off the snow monsters, gradually transforming their appearance. Evening is also an amazing time for juhyo viewing.
The ropeway drop-off point for Jizo Sancho station is connected to the building where you'll find Restaurant Sancho. The restaurant is one of the few places that offers a view of juhyo. For window-side tables it's first come, first served. The restaurant offers snacks even at dinner time, so you can take in the view while taking in a hot drink.
Jizo Sancho station has an observatory on its roof from which you can look down across the field. During light-up time it becomes very cold and the chance of snowstorms is high, so skiwear or other suitable protection against the cold is a must. Woolen caps, scarves, gloves and others should be worn when you go out for viewing at night.
As evening deepens into night, the snow monsters illuminated in color become even more beautiful. Different places - outdoors, the rooftop observatory, and the restaurant - all offer different views of the snow monsters. We recommend visiting several spots to take in the fascinating views.
●Access to Zao Onsen Ski Resort:
[By bus]
About 100 minutes by highway bus from the Tohoku Shinkansen's Sendai station (bus terminal 76 at the east exit). The bus needs to be booked in advance.
About 40 minutes by Yamako bus from Yamagata station
[By car]
About 30 minutes from Yamagata Zao IC, Yamagata Expressway
text : Megumi Ueda

Facility Information

Zao Onsen Ski Resort

Zao onsen, Yamagata-shi, Yamagata 990-2301

Yamagata Zao Juhyo Light-Up Tour

Zao onsen, Yamagata-shi, Yamagata 990-2301