The Folklore of the Yuki Onna

yuki onnaImagine this: you find yourself lost in the woods, high up in the mountains of Japan.  Snow is falling in a thick curtain, and out of the corner of your eyes you see a woman dressed in white slipping amongst the trees.  You blink and she is there, sucking your life force from you as you freeze up, turning solid as ice. This is the fearsome creature known as the Yuki Onna.

Yuki Onna are Japanese yokai — a category of supernatural beings in Japanese folklore which includes demons, monsters, and creatures.  Their legends are more prevalent amongst the people living in the Japanese Alps where they can await — and eventually hunt — unsuspecting travelers who find themselves lost during snowstorms.

yuki onna 2The Yuki Onna are described as being beautiful, with long, black hair and violet eyes.  Their flesh is pale, their kimonos white to blend in with the snow. Their powers include being able to freeze a human by sucking out their souls with their icy breath and entering homes, flash-freezing entire families while they sleep.  However, not every interaction with the Yuki Onna ends with their human prey frozen. In fact, some lore suggests that they will fall in love and marry. However, the Yuki Onna are immortal, and when their husbands realize she does not age their marriages fall apart.

So be wary, travelers.  If you happen to find yourself lost on a snowy mountain road, keep your eyes out for a woman of great beauty dressed all in white.  For she may be a Yuki Onna, awaiting her latest prey.

For more reading on the Yuki Onna (sources):

Yuki onna


  1. FranL

    Thank you so much for this post! I’m currently writing a fantasy novel that features a Yoki Onna as a character. It’s not easy to find English language sources of info so I’ll definitely check out those links!

Leave a Reply