Have You Seen A Monster?
Actually, I have. Although it’s not “the monster” you may imagine, it is “an ice monster”. You can meet it in Yamagata prefecture in Tohoku region. It takes about two hours and half by bullet train and bus from Tokyo to Zao. There has a huge ski resort, a number of hot springs, and ICE MONSTERS.
You can easily guess that this ski resort is huge from this map, right? This ski resort consist of more than two splendid mountains and traditional hot spring village at the base of mountains. The longest course, called “Juhyogen Course”, is 10km long from the top of the mountain to the bottom. You may need at least two days to ski the whole resort. This place has a wide variety of slopes, form easy one to difficult one, so everybody at any level can enjoy skiing!!
Japan is actually famous for its powder snow. Hokkaido is especially popular among tourists from overseas for powder snow. BUT, Tohoku region, including Zao ski resort, also has a fine powder. You will be addicted to how exhilarating you feel when skiing on a delightfully dry and weightless snow!
Relax in Hot Spring
You can’t miss hot spring when you visit here. Zao Onsen (hot spring) has a long history; it is said that it was discovered in the year of AD 110. Zao has acidic sulfur springs that would help rejuvenating and strengthening the skin and blood vessels. These effects are the reason why Zao Onsen is also called the “Springs of Beauty”
There are tons of hot springs around the village, and you may need at least a month to enjoy all of them.
Meet Ice Monster
Now you see the monsters? They are called “”Juhyo”, which is actually a natural phenomenon caused by the strong and frosty wind from Japan Sea. This is a very rare natural event all over the world that only occur on a few ranges in northeastern Japan, and it is sure that Zao is the best place for observation.
Typically, juhyo usually starts to develop in January and hits its peak in February. By end of March, it has already begun to melt away. From the late December to early March, the resort illuminates those monsters with colored spotlights.
As illustrated above, Zao Ski Resort has many tourists spots and activities that will give you stunning experiences. This resort is recently becoming famous around the world, so people there would be good at taking care of tourists who speak English or Chinese.
Enjoy the relaxing stay and the exciting experiences!!!
Author: Hayato Morita