The stunning natural phenomenon looks more like an otherworldly dragon as it’s filmed slowly retreating up to the sky.

Japan is a country known for its natural beauty, but this weekend people in Niigata were treated to a rare display from the heavens that left people awestruck by its mysterious appearance.

The scene was captured on video by a resident and posted on Twitter by Chiba-based weather forecasting company Weathernews, where it received more than 60,000 retweets and over 91,000 likes in just a couple of days.

Take a look at the video below to see the eerie cloud swirl and transform mysteriously in the sky.

The scene is so bizarre it almost looks like a computer-generated image, but it’s absolutely real, with Weathernews leaving this explanation to help us understand what’s going on in the clip.

This video captures the spawn of a tornado known as a “Funnel Cloud”, which appeared over Jōetsu city in Niigata Prefecture. Its gradual disappearance has been filmed from a close point-of-view.

It was extremely fortunate that the cloud was filmed from such a close viewpoint, giving us a remarkable image that shows us exactly what it looks like when the funnel formation flits and floats as it disappears, almost directly above the viewer.

Given the Japanese belief that dragons exist in the water and the sky, it’s not difficult to see a dragon when looking at the movement of the cloud in the video.

Funnel clouds are actually made up of condensed water droplets, extending from the base of a cloud and forming its shape when combined with a rotating column of wind. Unlike a tornado, which touches the ground and builds up speed, funnel clouds don’t reach the ground or a water surface.

Twitter users were in awe of the sight, leaving comments like:

“This reminded me of the white dragon from the Ghibli anime film Spirited Away!”
“It’s definitely a dragon retreating to its home in the sky.”
“I think it looks a bit like a long umbilical cord.”
“What a scary but awe-inspiring natural phenomenon!”
“This looks dangerous! If I was out there I would’ve gone straight indoors.”

If the conditions had been different, the eerily beautiful scene could have turned into a more dangerous situation, but thankfully the scene passed without incident, as the cloud – or dragon – rose peacefully towards the sky.

Source, images: Twitter/wni_jp