Zao Soft Rime

Zao Soft Rime

Zao Soft Rime

Soft rime is when fog particles and cloud droplets freeze on tree. Because of the strange fluffy looks, you won’t believe that there are actual trees inside. In order to form these soft rime, evergreen needle-leaves tree are grown here, so fog particles and cloud droplet can be easily stuck on the tree. Also, other conditions to form these soft rime include great amount of frozen water drops and snow droplet sent by strong wind till 2-3mm snow would be covered on trees.

These syndromes of forming soft rime are extremely rare, not only in Japan Tohoku area such as Ou mountain range, Hakousan Mountain, Zao mountain range and Ozuma-yama Mountain Subalpine zone. There are lots of soft rime reported in overseas. Among them Zao soft rime had been described as one of the must see soft rime views in Japan. 

Admire soft rime

Soft rime season is from December till February. Zao soft rime season is from January till March with night lighting, so you can admire the soft rime from day to night. You can also take the ropeway to admire the view from above, enjoy the view from observation deck, skiing or snowboarding in between soft rime. In addition, ropeway might be closed depends on the weather so please check for more information beforehand. Also, as soft rime need to be formed in -10 degrees area, please make sure to prepare enough warm clothing.


As soft rime is formed naturally, you can see that when you visit Zao mountain range subalpine zone. Recommended spot in the area would be around Jizosanchou station of Zao ropeway. Transfer to Yamakou bus towards Zao Onsen direction from Yamagata Station of JR East Japan and get off at the last stop Zao Onsen bus terminal. If you take Zao ropeway from Onsen Street please get off at the last stop Jizosanchou station. For driving, please use YamagataZao IC of Yamagata Motorway or Yamagata Kami-no-yama IC of Tohoku Chuo motorway.

Image Gallery: Zao Soft Rime

Description: Zao Soft Rime

Sights Zao Soft Rime (蔵王の樹氷)
Address Yamagata Prefecture, Yamagata-shi, Zaōonsen 229 -3
Phone / Fax Phone: 023-694-9518
Duration 2Hour(s)
Recommended Season
Spring (March - May)
Winter (December - February)
Recommended target Family Couples Groups Infant & Toddler (ages 0-6) Child (ages 7-17) Adult (ages 20+) Single traveller

Map: Zao Soft Rime