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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). 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.

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.

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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.

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.

Sub-Trope to youkai. Compare to Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl, a similar trope often seen in Japanese media.


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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Broken Bird Mizore from Rosario + Vampire is a Yuki-onna with a crush on the protagonist. Mizore can't stand cold weather. She constantly chews on a lollipop to keep cool. Mizore has the ability to create ice clones.
  • Yukina of YuYu Hakusho 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.
  • Yukime of Hell Teacher Nube, which 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 and even they get married at the end of the series.
  • Oyuki from Urusei Yatsura. 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 youkai stories being inspired by aliens, 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.
  • Miroku encounters an unnamed one in episode 101 of InuYasha 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.
  • Sode no Shirayuki ("snow-white sleeve"), the spirit of Rukia Kuchiki's sword in the Bleach 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.
  • In the 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.
  • Yukinokouji from Inu × Boku SS. 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.
  • The Snow card in Cardcaptor Sakura 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.
  • Two of them appear in Ushio and Tora, 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.
  • A variant of the yuki onna legend (in which the yuki onna melts due to her victim's display of concern) is discussed in Detective Conan as a subtle way to clue Shinichi in on the solution to a murder mystery.
  • Two mysteries in The Kindaichi Case Files featured 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.
  • Yuki Kusakabe from Interviews with Monster Girls 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • One appears in the segment "The Blizzard" of Akira Kurosawa's last movie Dreams, in which a man wandering through a blizzard and succumbing to the cold sees the creature just before dying. It's generally seen in the west among those unfamiliar with Japanese folklore as an example of surrealism in the film.

    Literature 
  • 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.
  • Non-Japanese example: The Velvets from Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere 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 
  • In the MythQuest episode "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.
  • Super Sentai:
  • 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.
  • Mention 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 one. Her real "mother" is in fact Woo, a hairy yeti-like kaiju that is based on this youkai but instead a Guardian Entity implied to be the ghost of Yuki's mother protecting her from beyond.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Yuki-onna appear in the Dungeons & Dragons "Oriental Adventures" supplement as fey that associate with snowy lands. 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.
  • This eponymous card from the Kamigawa extensions of Magic: The Gathering, which in a strange case, she's marked as a red card and works as an artifact destroyer. In-Universe story: 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.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, there's the 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.
  • Also in Mitos y Leyendas there's a card called as "Yuki-onna", part of the Samurai Code expansion, which was drawn by the worldwide famous Chilean illustrator GENZOMAN. It's a card that has Haste (similar than Magic cards) and can discard cards from player's hand. In an interesting detail, the Yuki-onna drawing shares visual similtudes with Mai Shiranui.
  • 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.

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

    Video Games 
  • Letty Whiterock from the Touhou Project. Letty 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.
  • Shiva is a summonable monster in the Final Fantasy series. She is 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."
  • 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.
  • The Yuki-onna appears in Muramasa: The Demon Blade as enemy mooks in snow-covered stages. They fly and, unlike popular images, they're quite buxom.
  • Frostina and her S-rank evolution Blizzaria from Yo-Kai Watch 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).
  • While Yumi of Senran Kagura is a 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.
  • Tsukipro's rhythm game "Tsukino Paradise" features cards of their Yokai AU, including (male) Yuki-onna Rikka.
  • 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.
  • Yume Nikki contains an effect that allows protagonist Madotsuki to transform into a Yuki-onna.
  • A Yuki Onna is the first boss in the 3DS adaptation of Shinobi. In a section before the fight there's a frozen corpse of a previous victim hinting at what's to come.
  • In the mobile Rogue Like Yodanji the Yuki Onna is one of the many "character classes" that a player can choose from.
  • A Yukionna appears as a boss in Nioh: 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.

    Visual Novels 
  • Yukinojo in Enchanted in the Moonlight 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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