What are the three conditions for forming Rime on trees?
Tourists come to Zao from all over the world to see Rime on trees!
“Rime on trees” is the winter feature of Zao, where is located on the border between Yamagata and Miyagi Prefectures. Rime on trees is the art of nature that can be only seen in a limited area in the world such as Mount Zao, Hakkoda mountains (Aomori Prefecture), Mount Moriyoshi (Akita Prefecture) and so on in Japan. They are called “ice monsters” or “snow monsters” because the shape of trees covered with ice and snow looks like monsters.
The core of the Rime on trees is a coniferous tree called “Aomori Todomatsu (Abies mariesii)”. Without this coniferous trees, Rime on trees won’t be formed. Also, trees with snow are not simply called Rime on trees. Cold and damp air (supercooled vapor called cloud droplets that is not frozen even at below 0℃) hits the trees by the wind, moistures in the air instantly become ice, attach to trees and it is called Rime on trees. By repeating it and more snows attach to trees, the Rime on trees grows bigger and bigger. By the way, Rime on trees covered with supercooled vapor after sublimation is called “Ebi no Shippo (tail of prawn)” (its shape looks like a tail of prawn) and distinguished from bigger Rime on trees which is formed by accretion of ice and snow. That is called the “ice monster”. The best season to see Rime on trees is from the end of January to early March. The Rime on trees grows bigger and bigger with the northwest wind of 10m/s to 20m/s and the average temperature of －10℃ to －15℃.
To see Rime on trees from Yamagata Prefecture, you can take the ropeway from Zao Onsen town to the top of the mountain. On the way, there is Rime on trees area called the “Juhyogen” and you can enjoy the aerial trip while seeing Rime on trees.
There is the observation deck in the station building on top of the mountain and it is a popular photo spot to see the 360-degree view of the vast Rime on trees field.
From Miyagi Prefecture, you can go to the Juhyogen, Rime on trees field with a snowmobile vehicle.
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