Yuki-onna (雪女, Yukionna, literally "snow woman") is a character from Japanese folklore who is often confused with Yama-Uba.

Legend of Yuki-onna

During a terrible storm in the forest, the lumberjack Mosaku and his 18-year-old apprentice Minokichi took refuge in a small cabin in the middle of the forest. During the night, the fire in the fireplace went out and the cold woke Minokichi up.

Then he saw in the small room a young woman of great beauty dressed in a white kimono; she had unreal white skin, long black hair and blue lips. When she walked, she seemed to glide over the ground.

She bent over the old woodcutter and blew her icy breath in his face.

Then she turned back to the young man who was frozen with fear, but she felt pity for his young age or youthful beauty and said, "I will not kill you if you promise never to tell what you saw tonight."

The next morning Minokichi woke up and realized that his boss had died, but he couldn't tell if he had been dreaming during that terrible night or not.

Later, the young apprentice met a beautiful girl named Oyuki (yuki means "snow") and soon married her. They had many children and spent many wonderful years together.

One day, while he was watching her sewing, he told her the story of that strange night when he had dreamed or really met the snow queen.

Yuki-onna, for it was she, became angry and abandoned him; she spared his life because of their children but she promised to come and punish him if he was not a good father to them and then she turned into a kind of white mist and disappeared through the hole in the chimney.

Yuki-onna's Appearance

She is described by Lafcadio Hearn as a beautiful woman, tall with long hair. Her skin is inhumanly white, almost transparent, she is hardly visible in a snowy landscape.

She sometimes wears a white kimono, although some legends describe her as naked. Despite her great beauty, her eyes strike terror.

She floats above the snow, leaving no footprints in it (it is sometimes said that she has no feet). She has the ability to transform into a snow cloud or mist if she feels threatened.

Yuki-onna's Particularities

Yuki-onna is the personification of winter, and more particularly of snowstorms. Until the 18th century, she was considered cruel (killing innocent people, freezing them to death, sucking out their blood or life energy (ki) like a vampire, succubus, etc.).

Like the winter and snow she represents, Yuki-onna has a good side. She sometimes lets her victims escape for various reasons. According to one story, she spared a free young man because of her beauty and age.

Today she is portrayed as more human, though with a ghostly appearance. In many stories, Yuki-onna helps people lost in the mountains.

Yuki-onna In popular culture


  • Yuki-onna inspired the character of Snezhkaïa the Snow Queen in Cindy Van Wilder's novel series Les Outrepasseurs.


  • The progressive metal band Symphony X wrote a song about Yuki-onna in their album Twilight in Olympus. This song is called Lady of the Snow.
  • The song Ice Queen by Within Temptation is about an entity chasing its victims in a world of ice and could refer to the Yuki-Onna.
  • The Finnish melodic death metal band, Whispered wrote a song called "Lady Of The Wind" about the legend of Yuki-Onna in their album "Shogunate Macabre".


  • Yuki-onna appears in several films such as Takashi Miike's The Great Yokai War, Akira Kurosawa and Ishirō Honda's Dreams, and Masaki Kobayashi's Kwaïdan.
  • In Darkside: Tales of the Dark Night, segment 3 entitled Lover's Vow is heavily inspired by the legend of Yuki-onna, but with a more tragic ending.
  • Manga and anime
  • In the manga Yuyu Hakusho, by Yoshihiro Togashi, Yukina is a snow woman.
  • Yuki-onna appears in the 101st episode of the anime Inu-Yasha, The Snow Maiden (あれから七年目のなごり雪, Are kara shichinen me no nagori yuki).
  • The "snow girl" appears in the 490th episode of the manga Detective Conan, entitled Heiji Hattori vs. Shinichi Kudo. Confrontation of deductions in slope.
  • Mizore Shirayuki is a Yuki-onna who appears in volume 5 in the manga and in episode 7: "The Snow Woman + Vampire" in the anime Rosario + Vampire. Mizore Shirayuki, her mother and the clan of snow women are all yuki-onna, mastering snow and ice.
  • There is a Yuki-onna, named Tsurara, in the Night Procession of the Hundred Demons of Nura Rikuo in Nurarihyon no Mago.
  • In the manga One Piece by Eiichiro Oda, Monet the Harpy is nicknamed "the Snow Woman" (Yuki-onna).
  • In the manga Inu X Boku SS (also called Secret Service, House of Ayakashi), Nobara Yukinokouji is a Yuki-onna.
  • In the anime Zeta Supers Nanas, a Yuki-onna appears in the episode Fatty is in love!
  • In the anime Yokai Watch, Angelik and Blizzaria are considered Yuki-Onna.
  • In the anime Bleach, arc Revolt of the zanpakutos, the spirit of the sword of Rukia, sode no shirayuki, is a very beautiful woman dressed in white and manipulating the ice.
  • In the anime Pokémon Diamond and Pearl episode 116, the Momartik pokémon is inspired by the Yuki-Onna.
  • In the famous anime Sakura, Card Captor Sakura created by CLAMP; the Snow card, "The Snow" is also inspired by Yuki-onna (episode 36 "Back to school").
  • in the anime freaky girls yuki is a yuki onna

Video games

  • In the video game Might and Magic Heroes VI developed by Ubisoft and Black Hole Entertainment, the Yuki-onna is the upgrade of the Snow Spirit, an elite creature of the Sanctuary.
  • Letty Whiterock from Touhou Project is a Yuki-onna.
  • There is a Yuki-onna in the game Yume Nikki.
  • The fourth-generation Pokémon Momartik is inspired by this Japanese legend.
  • In the video game Nioh, Oda Nobunaga's wife is a Yuki-onna and is a boss in the quest "Snowfall". She is considered one of the most difficult opponents to defeat.
  • In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, a lone woman in a house on a road with a constant blizzard gives the player an item attached to the Spectre type. This could be a reference to the Yuki-Onna
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