Monsters in the North: Frosted “Juhyō” Trees on Akita’s Mount Moriyoshi

Travel Guide to Japan Environment

If you head to Ani Ski Resort, located on the slopes of Mount Moriyoshi in the city of Kita-Akita, Akita Prefecture, watch out for monsters!

In winter, the fir trees on the 1,454-meter peak are blasted by steady winds and plenty of snowfall, giving them thick coats of hoar and forming fantastic shapes called juhyō, “iced trees,” in Japanese—or more simply, “monsters.” Take the gondola to the top and walk about five minutes to access expansive groves of these wintry beasts standing up to 5 meters tall.

The courses that snake through these monsters let skiers and hikers experience their magnificence up close. The champagne powder Akita enjoys in the winter months is an added bonus for those looking to ski or snowboard back down.

Mount Moriyoshi stands alongside Yamagata Prefecture’s Zaō and Aomori Prefecture’s Hakkōda as one of the country’s three top areas for enjoying the juhyō. Visitors can see them on the special hiking courses through March 5 this year; snowshoes can be borrowed for free for your wintry walk.

(Text © Video © Cable Networks Akita.)

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