Japan’s Enchanting Ice Monsters, Claimed by Climate Change

ZAO ONSEN, Japan — Ashley Huang had seen the pictures on the internet, and they were mesmerizing: huge, Godzilla-like creatures, naturally formed by snow and ice, encasing conifer trees spread across a mountainous landscape in northern Japan.

Last month, she and a friend, Yi-Hsien Lin, traveled from Taiwan to Zao Onsen, a village in Yamagata Prefecture, to view the snowy formations up close.

I met them in line for the ropeway that would take us one mile up to the peak of Mount Zao, a skiing outpost that has increasingly drawn tourists from around Asia to see the “juhyo,” known in English as ice or snow monsters.

Trouble was, when we arrived at the top after a 30-minute ride on two separate cable cars, the cold was biting, but the…

Click Here to Read Full Article…