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Literally meaning "snow woman", Yuki-onna appear as beautiful women in snowy, cold, or mountainous regions. They're typically depicted as pale women with long, black or (particularly in modern depictions) blue hair that wear kimonos (however, some traditional depictions also show them being nude). Darker and Edgier depictions often reveal this to be an illusion and their true form is actually a blackened, frostbitten mummy. Yuki-onna are the spirits of women who died during snow storms.

Like all mythological creatures, Yuki-onna have many different interpretations. Some are benevolent while others are malicious. Some Yuki-onna are essentially normal women who live in snowy areas, while others have specific powers. These powers can include turning into mist when scared, ice or snow powers, and the ability to hover over snow as to not leave footprints.

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Whether Yuki-onna simply like cold climates, are cursed to live in cold climates, or literally can't survive outside of cold climates depends on the incarnation. Some incarnations sleep with lone travelers to steal valuable body warmth, others will simply make them get lost during their travels in order to freeze to death, yet others will kill travelers by tricking them into touching them or a baby they hold in their hands. More benevolent Yuki-onna will either lead the victims to safety and then sleep with them (or just lead them to safety), or simply leave them alone; the more wicked ones will lead them astray to begin with, kill them with the methods described above, or use them. Some evil Yuki-onna have been described as letting their victims go if they are too young or too attractive.

Traditionally, Yuki-onna are just average women however within the past several decades it's become commonplace to see them depicted as princesses. The popularity of Queen Oyuki from Urusei Yatsura and the Winter Royal Lady trope (especially the White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia) are likely the reasons for this.

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If a Yuki-onna isn't just outright called "Yuki-onna", she will usually have a snow themed name (with "Yuki" being the most generic).

Their beautiful designs and dark stories have caused Yuki-onna to become one of the most popular yokai out there, to the degree where they even appear in works made outside of Japan.

Stories of Yuki-onna seducing men and leading them to freeze to death is believed to be an old folkloric explanation for the curious phenomenon of "paradoxical disrobing". People dying of hypothermia often begin to feel uncomfortably hot as their body uses up the very last of its thermal energy and in their final delirium will frequently strip off all their clothes, hastening their demise. Since few if any people who reached such an advanced state of hypothermia ever lived to tell the tale before modern medical technology, being seduced by a beautiful woman was the best explanation anybody could come up with for why so many dead people were found naked in the snow.

Sub-Trope to Youkai. Compare to Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl, a similar trope often seen in Japanese media. See also Ethereal White Dress, which is used in non-Japanese media for a similar archetype.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: Sode no Shirayuki ("snow-white sleeve"), the spirit of Rukia Kuchiki's sword in the anime adaptation, is heavily based on a Yukionna, being a tall, fair-skinned damsel in a white kimono with ice-based powers. Upon activating Bankai, Rukia herself becomes fully white and covered in a pristine kimono, while her freezing powers skyrockets.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura: The Snow card is one of the Clow's cards that is An Ice Person and is basically based on a yuki-onna, having the classic look of this youkai. Sakura captured the card during the start of the school year after the city was nearly buried by snow.
  • Detective Conan: A variant of the yuki onna legend (in which the yuki onna melts due to her victim's display of concern) is discussed as a way to clue Shinichi in on the solution to a murder mystery.
  • Franken Fran: In one story, Fran's latest victi-er, patient, is a recently-blinded man to whom she gives the eyes of a sea creature that can see the whole of the light spectrum. As he runs off in terror, dodging normally-invisible things, he runs into a Yuki-onna who is vacationing in Tokyo for the summer. They fall in love and he returns to Fran to thank her.
  • Hell Teacher Nube: Yukime, who is a Cute Monster Girl version of a yuki-onna with all the powers of this monster. Her story is about being rescued by Nube when she was 11, 5 years after she appeared in the series, and since then she falled in love with him. This particular Yuki-Onna is a Clingy Jealous Girl in a Love Triangle over Nube's affections, and is generally friendly and nice unless you get on her bad side. In the end she won Nube's heart.
  • Interviews with Monster Girls: Yuki Kusakabe is one of the yuki-onna type of demi-humans. She has fewer sweat glands (thus more adopted to colder climate), and, keeping in line with the yuki-onna legends' sad theme, would freeze her body fluids when she in emotional stress.
  • Inu × Boku SS: Yukinokouji. Her human form doesn't resemble a typical Yuki-onna much, having light brown hair and western attire, however she does have Icy Blue Eyes (green in the anime). Unusually for a Yuki-onna, she is a lesbian, though it's implied she'll make an exception for Renshou. She has a Sugar-and-Ice Personality, being cold and distant towards men but excitable and flirty towards women.
  • Inuyasha: Miroku encounters one in episode 101 who lures him to her home and asks that he help her care for the many children there. The children turn out to be nothing more than snow but as Miroku is under her spell he cannot tell until her fight with Inuyasha breaks her hold on Miroku.
  • Kemono Jihen: Akira (despite his looks) is a yuki-onoko, the Gender Flipped version of this trope. He struggles to control his freezing abilities and is rarely able to freeze anything larger than a lollipop, but when he manages to get it to work, he can freeze entire tunnels while thoroughly averting Harmless Freezing. The fact that he's male is an important plot point, as he and his twin brother Yui are the only yuki-onoko to be born in a hundred years.
  • The Kindaichi Case Files: Two mysteries feature legends of an especially murderous version of the yuki onna called the yuki yasha and wearing a Hanya mask (a type of mask in Noh theater); of course, both times, sightings of such spirits turn out to be the murderer pulling a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax.
  • The Littl' Bits: One episode Willibit and Lillibit encounter a version of the Yuki-onna who, according to popular legend, kidnaps and murders disobedient children. However, she turns out to be a sweet woman who is mourning her own missing son and enjoys the company of children because it makes her feel less lonely.
  • Missions Of Love: Yukina Himuro is derisively nicknamed "Yuki-onna" (rendered as "The Snow Woman" in the English translation) both because of circulation issues that leave her literally cold to the touch and because of her icy personality.
  • Monster Girl Encyclopedia: Yuki-onna use blizzards to lure men to their cabin. She will treat a man with a home-cooked meal and warm reception, then seduce him. Should he reject her, she will use ice breath which causes him a terrible cold, and the freezing man will seek a warm touch from her. Yukiwarashi, a child Yuki-onna, will sometimes visit a human village and play with human kids. Should she have an interest in a boy, the Yukiwarashi will take him as her husband once she becomes Yuki-onna.
  • Monster Musume: Yukio. She runs an onsen despite being An Ice Person. She has Emotional Powers and when she gets emotional she loses control of them. Yukio has a stoic demeanor and has difficulties smiling.
  • Rosario + Vampire: Mizore is a Yuki-onna with a crush on the protagonist. As a species, Yuki-onnas have pupil-less eyes and cool colored hair. Average temperature for a human is sweltering to them, so they constantly chew on magic lollipops to keep themselves cool. Mizore's One-Winged Angel form turns her hair and arms into ice, and allows her to make ice clones of herself.
  • Spider-Man (Manga): In Ryoichi Ikegami's Spider-Man, one of the new foes Yu Komori/Spider-Man has to fight is a yuki-onna, called as "The White Woman", who appears in the city freezing people at will, including Yu himself.
  • Urusei Yatsura: Oyuki. She is often cited as the reason why Yuki-onna are depicted as either princesses or as at least wearing ice crowns. As the manga revolves around aliens inspired by yokai stories, Oyuki is a Human Alien instead of a ghost. She is the queen of Neptune, which is depicted as a frozen planet populated only by women.
  • Ushio and Tora: Two appear during Ushio's brief sojourn in Sapporo: the older one, Asagiri, is a cruel old hag who wants to take her revenge on humans (because her human husband abandoned her when he discovered her real nature) by freezing the entire city thanks to her "daughter", Shizuri, who's in love with a human boy. Ultimately, Shizuri becomes human and gets to live happily ever after with her beau, while Asagiri is persuaded to let go of her rancor and is last seen helping Ushio in the final battle. Asagiri is also shown to be pretty powerful, as she managed to survive being slashed by the usually lethal Beast Spear.
  • Yaiba Invoked but subverted by the hero: when a mysterious, white-clad beauty note  asks for shelter in the group's hut during a snow blizzard, Yaiba accuses her of being the Yukionna. She points out that she would otherwise melt near the fire.
  • Yatterman: In episode 45, Dokurobei sends the Doronbo Gang after the legendary Yukionna, who's said to have a fragment of the Dokurostone in her cavern. In this case, Yukionna is a malevolent spirit who freezes people with sleet, but she's also the loving mother of a child. The Terrible Trio actually manages to defeat her by dousing her with hot water, but she ultimately survives.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho: Yukina is a type of youkai called a Koorime ("Ice Maiden"). They seem to be based on Yuki-onna, except that they reproduce via parthenogenesis and live on a floating glacier. Relations with men are strictly forbidden, and caused Yukina's brother (Hiei) to be thrown off the glacier.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Yuki-Onna appears as a card in Saviors of Kamigawa. Notably, she's a Red card (ice and spirits normally go to Blue; red is more closely tied to fire and earth). In-Universe, the yuki-onna was used by Toshiro Umezawa to get rid of Uramon's men led by Kiku and Marrow-Gnawer, who pursued him. Then, by a ritual performed with the reluctant help of Kiku and Marrow, Toshi imprisoned the yuki-onna in a ceramic tile and stole part of her power, which he embedded into a new purple kanji on his forehead.
  • Mitos y Leyendas: "Yuki-onna", part of the Samurai Code expansion, can discard cards from player's hand. In an interesting detail, the Yuki-onna drawing shares visual similarities with Mai Shiranui.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Ghostrick Yuki-onna, which is shown as a Cute Monster Girl. Here it works as a Necromancer, since if this card goes to the graveyard, you can restore a monster card destroyed in battle previously. Also, cannot be normally summoned unless you already control a "Ghostrick" monster.
    • There's also Yuki-Musume, the Ice Mayakashi and her Older Alter Ego Yuki-Onna, the Ice Mayakashi. Compared to her Ghostrick counterpart, she's more sinister, as she wants to plunge the world into night and rule over it with her fellow Yokai. She steals Shiranui Skillsaga Supremacy's staff and becomes Yuki-Onna, the Absolute Zero Mayakashi

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • In Stories from Steven's Future, one appears as the main antagonist of the second Halloween arc, trying to kill the Yukino family, Vihaan, and Mystery. It turns out she was being blackmailed by a businessman who wanted to tear down Grandma Yukino's house and turn it into an arcade.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Akira Kurosawa's Dreams: One appears in the segment "The Blizzard", in which a man wandering through a blizzard and succumbing to the cold sees the creature. It's generally seen in the west among those unfamiliar with Japanese folklore as an example of surrealism in the film.
  • Kwaidan: A yuki-onna has mercy on a young woodcutter lost in the snow, and decides not to freeze him because of his youth. But she warns him not to tell anyone...
  • Tales from the Darkside: The Movie: There's a segment where a monster kills someone and makes a witness promise not to tell anyone about the murder which he ends up doing later to what turns out to be the human form of the same monster. Sound familiar? Granted, it's not a woman with the ability to freeze people, but it is a monster whose story is similar.

    Literature 
  • Anno Dracula: Yuki-Onna is the ruler of Yokai Town in One Thousand Monsters. Like all yokai, she's actually a vampire. But while most vampires in the setting (even the yokai) are basically just people with unusual powers and unfortunate dietary requirements, she's the rarer kind (like Drac himself) who has honed her vampric abilities (in this case, cold) to become something possibly more than, and definitely other than, human.
  • Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things (1904) by Western author Lafcadio Hearn, who moved to Japan in 1890 and became a naturalized citizen, contains the first ever recorded Yuki-onna folktale which Hearn got from an informant. The story goes that a woodcutter is spared by one during a blizzard after she'd already frozen his older master to death, because he is young and handsome. She warns him never to speak of this to anyone, or else she would find and kill him. Unsure if it was all just a dream, he later falls in love with a girl named Oyuki, and they marry and have ten children. One night, he tells his wife about the snow woman, and sure enough she reveals her true form. She spares him only for the sake of their children, but she dissolves into mist and is never seen again.
  • Neverwhere: The Velvets are very clearly related — one offers to guide the protagonists to Islington's hall and steals Richard's heat with a kiss. The Marquis makes her give it back, though.

    Live-Action TV 
  • MythQuest: In "Minokichi", Alex steps into the role of the titular mythical character via the Cyber Museum: a Yuki-Onna freezes his mentor to death in his sleep but spares Minokichi for his youth and beauty, then later appears to him in disguise to become his lover. This version refers to the Yuki-Onna as a vampire and has her drink her victims' blood, rather than just steal their warmth.
  • Super Sentai:
  • Ultra Series
    • Mentioned in an episode of the original Ultraman when Science Patrol meets a girl living in a mountain village named Yuki who is shunned by her neighbours for supposedly being the daughter of a Yuki-onna. Her real "mother" is in fact Woo, a hairy yeti-like kaiju that is based on the Yuki-onna but instead, a Guardian Entity implied to be the ghost of Yuki's mother protecting her from beyond.
    • The icy kaiju Snowgon from Return of Ultraman is able to transform into a Yuki-onna, blasting people with its freezing breath in that form. However, its true form more closely resembles a polar bear mixed with a dragon.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Yuki-onnas, sometimes spelled yuki-on-nas, appear in some material — such as Oriental Adventures, a supplement detailing Forgotten Realms' East Asia stand-in, and Frostburn, one dealing with arctic adventures in general) as fey that associate with snowy lands and resemble incredibly beautiful women with black hair and ice-white skin. Most individuals are evil beings that enjoy killing travelers with their icy abilities, but a handful of them are benevolent creatures that assist those lost in the cold. While they're not undead, they're speculated to be the spirits of either particularly cold-hearted villains or of people who became lost and died during blizzards. They can also cause people they touch to become unable to orient themselves or find their way anywhere and can paralyze others with a glance.
  • Pathfinder: Yuki-onnas are incorporeal undead formed from the spirits of women who freeze to death in the snow without receiving proper burials. They resemble beautiful, blue-haired women dressed in long kimonos, and vent their anger over their unjust deaths by luring travelers into the snows and using their control over ice and snow to subject them to the same death that ended their own lives.
  • The World of Darkness: In Midnight Roads, the Snow Brides are creatures that mimic pale women, appear in snowstorms and try to drain heat from people.

    Theatre 
  • Tsukipro: In the yokai AU, as seen in the second SQ stage play, Rikka is a male yuki-onna.

    Video Games 
  • Ayakashi: Romance Reborn: Shizuki is a male yuki-onna, who is essentially Toichiro the kitsune's valet.
  • Final Fantasy: Shiva is a summonable monster almost always depicted as a beautiful, blue-skinned woman, and she always has ice-themed powers. She is usually immune to ice-based attacks and is normally depicted with little clothing on. Her name may be a pun on the word "shiver."
  • Heroesof Might And Magic Ashan: Yuki-onna appear in Might and Magic: Heroes VI as elite versions of the Snow Maiden monster and recruitable allies for the water themed Sanctuary faction. They are said to be the daughters of Winter itself, and have the ability to slow enemy movement through their touch and the ice-shard traps they can summon.
  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade: The Yuki-onna appears as enemy mooks in snow-covered stages. They fly and, unlike popular images, they're quite buxom.
  • Ninja: Shadow of Darkness: The Tundra level boss is a Yuki-Onna-based monster who can swim through snow and attack by siccing avalanches and snowballs on you.
  • Nioh: A Yukionna appears as a boss. She has an azure complexion and hair, is very beautiful and fights with an ice-covered naginata she can occasionally morph into a sword. Slaying her reveal that she's the reincarnation of Nohime, the spouse of Oda Nobunaga and nets William the Guardian Spirit Usura-Hicho, a swarm of snowflake-like butterflies.
  • Pokémon:
    • The Pokémon Froslass ("Yukimenoko" in Japan, which is essentially an old-fashioned way of saying "yuki-onna"). You even meet one as a boss and her gallery of frozen victims in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon spinoff series. Froslass evolves when a female Snorunt is exposed to a Dawn Stone. They're more humanoid than most Pokémon, but still aren't exactly human-looking note . Pokédex entries mention that, according to legend, Froslass are the souls of women who died in snowstorms reborn as Pokémon. She freezes her victims, be they Pokémon or human, then either eats them or uses them as decorations in her cave. According to the Moon entry, Froslass are especially fond of men.
    • Additionally, its pre-evolved form Snorunt is partially based on the Yukinko, a small youkai typically described as the son of the Yuki-onna, with added traits of the Zashiki-warashi.
  • Senran Kagura: While Yumi is human, she's designed as a Yuki-onna: Icy blue eyes, pale skin, a white and pale blue kimono, and most importantly, ice powers. More direct relation happens with the "Snow Maiden" enemy in Deep Crimson.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Yuki Jyorou is a recurring demon, specified to be the type of Yuki-onna that kills people. Her Flavor Text claims she appears to travelers and asks them to hold her baby, which gets heavier the longer it gets carried. If the baby is dropped, she kills the traveler, but if they manage to hang in there, she'll aid them instead. As a summon, she specializes in ice and darkness spells, and when capable of speech, hints to a crush on her summoner.
  • Shinobi: A Yuki Onna is the first boss in the 3DS adaptation. In a section before the fight there's a frozen corpse of a previous victim hinting at what's to come.
  • Touhou Project: Letty Whiterock goes into hibernation during the spring and is only seen during the winter. She controls the snow. Unlike more traditional depictions, Letty wears a blue-and-white dress and has curly off-white hair rather than the typical kimono and black hair.
  • Tsukino Paradise features cards of the band's Yokai AU, including the male Yuki-onna Rikka.
  • Yodanji: The Yuki Onna is one of the many "character classes" that a player can choose from.
  • Yo-Kai Watch: Frostina and her S-rank evolution Blizzaria are known as "Yukionna" and "Fubukihime" in Japan. They're toned down incarnations of Yuki-onna that look like children (with the exception of Blizzaria's adult-looking Shadowside form). Though Frostina is the one named "Yukionna", Blizzaria is more similar to Yuki-onna than her:
    • Frostina is a Shy Blue-Haired Girl who wears a cape and hood over her blue kimono. She owns a bar in Downtown Springdale under the guise of a human woman named "Ms. Frost". Frostina wears a cape because she can't control her powers well (and because she has bad circulation). Frostina was once a young girl who became lost in the mountains. She went into a cave to stay warm but ended up freezing to death.
    • Blizzaria is older and more confident than Frostina. She ditched her hood and wears her ponytail tied up with a hairclip that resembles ice (the hairclip item is what causes her to evolve). In the anime adaptation, Blizzaria is a Breakout Character due to her cuteness and appears in several intro sequences, promotional materials, and episodes (where she's often a love interest in pop culture parody skits). Blizzaria is far cuter and sweeter than most incarnations of Yuki-onna however can still be malicious, such as when she crashed a fire-themed yo-kai party using her ice powers (though whether it was intentional or not is never specified).
  • Yuki Onna (2020): One serves as the antagonist. She chases you throughout the game, and will start to freeze you with ice breath if she's close enough to you.
  • Yume Nikki contains an effect that allows protagonist Madotsuki to transform into a Yuki-onna.

    Visual Novels 
  • Enchanted in the Moonlight: Yukinojo is named as a "yukibito," and is basically a male version of a yuki-onna, complete with a translucent white veil over his hair in his ayakashi form. He has power over ice and snow, and even in his human form his hands are always cold.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-1529 ("King of the Mountain"), implied to be the cause of many (if not all) of the deaths on Mt. Everest, acts a lot like one: it dresses all in white, can freeze with a touch (and through sight if it sees you looking at it through a telescope), and seduces climbers with visions of tropical paradise. Pretty much the most significant difference is that its actual gender is ambiguous since it is dressed head to toe in mountaineering gear.

 
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Lady No

Once the wife of Nobunaga, Kelley's magic resurrected her as a Yuki-onna, a restless spirit of ice.

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