This being is known by many names, all Japanese variants of “snow woman.” The Yuki-Onna appears as tall, beautiful women with black hair and blue lips. Her transparent skin and her white kimono allow her to blend in with her surroundings during snowstorms, her favorite time to wander. In reality she’s a spirit that lures travelers to their death.

In Japanese culture, the Yuki-Onna represents the very desire to surrender, a desire to submit one’s will to death rather than trying to escape the inevitable. Most legends depicting the origin of the Yuki-Onna, tell that the spirit was originally a woman who perished during a storm while chasing after her love.

The Yukki-Onna is not only horrifying but also beautiful and fantastic. When she appears to travelers, she floats over the ground, striking a paralyzing terror with her gaze in all those who see her. She also has the ability to transmute, into a cloud of snow and sometimes into thick gelid fog. She uses this ability to confuse those who have lost their way, driving them to their deaths. She also possesses lethal frost breath.

A few legends also mention her ability to enter homes, if a door or window is left open, to kill the people inside, though she must first be invited.


-Heinzekehr, J. (2012). The Reenchantment of Eschatology: Religious Secular Apocalypse in Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams. Journal of Religion & Film, 16(2), 3.

-Makino, Y. (1991). Lafcadio Hearn's" Yuki-Onna" and Baudelaire's" Les Bienfaits de la Lune". Comparative Literature Studies, 234-244

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