• Zao's photo

Zao

Zao


The dreamlike world of ice-covered trees in wintertime Zao

For a never-before-seen experience in the great outdoors, come to Zao. In the southern part of Yamagata, an amazing vista spreads out along the Zao mountain range at the borders of Yamagata and Miyagi prefectures. There you’ll find the famous charming winter sight of ice-covered trees, popular even among overseas tourists. Maries’ fir trees become covered in snow and ice for a dreamlike landscape. This rare natural phenomenon only occurs in locations when certain weather conditions are present. There are a variety of ways to enjoy the ice-covered tree scenery, such as from the sky on a gondola, while on the ski slopes, or when the mountain is lit up at night!

  • Zao's photo
  • Zao's photo
  • Zao's photo
  • Zao's photo
  • Zao's photo
  • Zao's photo

Be soothed by the outdoors, and relax your body in a hot spring

Yamagata is a land rich in hot springs. Hot springs also bubble forth in the west foothills of the Zao mountain range at Zao Hot Springs. The highly acidic waters are effective for skin problems and have whitening properties, and traditional Japanese inns and hotels in the hot spring towns near the ski resort are crowded with visitors. The especially charming large open-air bath at Zao Hot Springs is only open from spring to fall. This public hot spring is in an elevated location very close to its source. Enjoy stretching out your arms and legs and soaking in the hot water among the great outdoors.

  • Zao's photo

A crater holding emerald green water up to the heavens

At the highest elevation of the Zao mountain range, you will find a crater lake filled with emerald green water. Because it is shaped like a pot for boiling rice, it is called “The Pot”, and its mystical appearance has been revered by people since olden times. It has a circumference of approximately one kilometer, and a depth of about 25 meters, and its color changes depending on the season and weather, giving it the name “The Five-Colored Swamps”. Its high acidic content means there are no living creatures in the lake, giving it a mysterious stillness. The surrounding consists of gentle rocky areas and alpine plants, making it a great place for trekking.

  • Zao's photo

For reference

Access

Shonai Airport is a one hour flight from Haneda Airport.
From the Shonai Airport, take the Shonai Bus to Sakata Station (40 min). From Sakata Station, take the JR Rikuu West Line to Shinjo Station (50 min). From there, transfer to the Yamagata Shinkansen and get off at Yamagata Station (50 min). From Yamagata Station, take the Yamako Bus to Zao Onsen Bus Terminal (40 min).

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