A female apparition sometimes encountered on snowy nights, usually described as having white hair or skin, being cold to the touch, or otherwise being similar to the frigid winter landscape. She is usually pictured in a white kimono - as most ghosts do.
She is at the same time beautiful and serene, yet ruthless in killing unsuspecting mortals.
Some legends say the Yuki-onna, being associated with winter and snowstorms, is the spirit of someone who perished in the snow.
She is sometimes said to be an abductor of children, and she always has a great number of her adopted brood with her. The snow woman is often used to admonish children who stay out too long after dark or who cry at night, as this chilly surrogate mother will surely find them and spirit them away.
In many stories, Yuki-onna appears to travelers trapped in snowstorms and uses her icy breath to leave them as frost-coated corpses. Other legends say she leads them astray so they simply die of exposure. Other times, she manifests holding a child. When a well-intentioned soul takes the "child" from her, they are frozen in place. Parents searching for lost children are particularly susceptible to this tactic. Other legends make Yuki-onna much more aggressive. In these stories, she often invades homes, blowing in the door with a gust of wind to kill residents in their sleep (some legends require her to be invited inside first).
What Yuki-onna is after varies from tale to tale. Sometimes she is simply satisfied to see a victim die. Other times, she is more vampiric, draining her victims' blood or "life force." She occasionally takes on a succubus-like manner, preying on weak-willed men to drain or freeze them through sex or a kiss.