These frost covered trees can only be found in specific regions and are unique in all of Japan. The unique phenomenon is caused by heavy winter storms splashing icy spray onto the trees which then immediately freezes. The layers of frost thicken forming a group of gigantic frost covered trees colloquially known as “snow monsters” due to their fluffy appearance. The unique view is said to be a divine creation and can be enjoyed via cable car and snowplough.
Spectacular views of the frost covered trees can be seen while taking the two connected cable cars of the Zao Ropeway from Zao Sanroku station to Jizo Sancho station. The breath-taking winter views are a popular spectacle and the cable cars also operate at night when visitors can enjoy the monstrous trees under illumination. The colourfully illuminated view of the trees is otherworldly! Special night tours are also available from the cable car station travelling around the frost covered trees on the new “Night Cruiser” snowplough.
The Zao Sumikawa Snow Park also offers tours to the frost covered trees. The tours travel around the fields of frost covered trees on a heated “Wild Monster” snowplough with a local guide and include a walk through the trees. The tours feature a unique and exciting close up view of the snow monsters! The nearby Togatta Onsen is an ideal base from which to enjoy these night tours.
Zao Onsen Ski Resort features a “Field of Frost Covered Trees Course” where visitors can enjoy skiing or snowboarding with incredible views of the snow monsters. Special events also take place at the ski resort including the “Winter Hanabi” fireworks displays and the “1,000-person Torchlight Ski Descent”. Zao Onsen is the perfect place to relax after an active day of winter sports.
The frost covered trees can be seen from December to March and are at their peak in February. Be sure to check the latest information when booking these tours as the frosts can vary depending on recent weather conditions.
- To Jizo Sancho Station
Adults: 2,800 yen (Round trip)
Children: 1,400 yen (Round trip)
To Juhyo Kogen Station
Adults: 1,500 yen (Round trip)
Children: 800 yen (Round trip)
- Opening Times
- Zao Ropeway operating hours
Sanroku line: 8:30 - 17:00
Sancho line 8:45 - 16:45
*The time schedules are subject to change
- Services may stop depending on weather conditions.
- 45 minutes by bus from JR Yamagata Station to Zao Onsen Bus Terminal and 10 minutes on foot to Zao Ropeway Sanroku Station
- Official Website
- Zao Ropeway
- Reviews (TripAdvisor)
- Zao Ropeway Sanroku Station
- Telephone Number