In winter, skiers and snowboarders aren't the only figures crowding the slopes at the Zao Onsen ski resort in Yamagata Prefecture — "snow monsters" join in the fun as well. Don't be scared, though. These monsters won't bite, as they are actually juhyō (frost-covered trees).
Until Feb. 29, the trees will be lit up to offer a fantastical view that you can take in from inside gondola lifts between Zao Sanroku and Zao Jizo Sancho stations. For a closer look, you can make reservations to ride "Night Cruiser" snowmobiles fitted with heating systems to keep you nice and warm. (Yuki Yamauchi)
The event takes place through Feb. 29 (5-9 p.m.) except for Jan. 6-9, 13-16, 20-23, 28 and Feb. 4, 11, 18 and 25.