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Zao Onsen Ski Resort

A mountain resort that can be enjoyed each season with hot springs, trekking, frost-covered trees and skiing

Sitting on the border between Miyagi and Yamagata prefectures, Mount Zao is a complex volcano that forms part of the Ou Mountain Range. The Yamagata side is a popular destination dotted with ski resorts, ropeways and hot springs endowed with rich nature. Various activities can be enjoyed all year round such as observing alpine flora in spring, trekking in lush greenery in summer and colorful leaves in autumn, as well as skiing and viewing frost-covered trees known as "snow monsters" in winter when the whole mountain is clad in a blanket of snow.

Indulge in the lush greenery and beautiful water landscapes in Zao in summer

Zao in the summer brims with abundant nature where you can enjoy beautiful landscapes of sun-drenched plants, mountain streams and lakes as well as encounter alpine plants and rare insects. It is also a great place for forest bathing and hiking in the highlands to refresh your mind and body. Another great attraction is Okama, a natural lake formed in the crater of Mount Zao. The 25-meter-deep lake is known as the Five-colored Lake, as its water changes color depending on several conditions such as the season, time of day, weather and temperature. The Okama Lake can be accessed by the popular Zao Echo Line driving route that connects Kaminoyama City in Yamagata Prefecture and Zao-machi in Miyagi Prefecture. The road is closed during winter due to heavy snow.

Enjoy skiing and the spectacular world of frost-covered trees in wintertime Zao

"Juhyo," or frost-covered trees, are the most iconic natural sight of Zao in wintertime. Under its unique climate conditions, the alpine trees that dot the slopes of the mountain are glazed with heavy snow and ice, creating figurines known as "snow monsters." The best way to enjoy these spectacular nature-made works of art is to ride a ropeway which also operates at nighttime when the frosty trees are illuminated with colorful lights. It goes without saying that Zao is also a popular destination among skiers all over the world who come to enjoy skiing across the slopes covered with frost-covered trees. The Zao Onsen Ski Resort offers excellent powder conditions and a wide range of courses suitable for all skill levels.

Soak in the healing waters of the popular Zao Onsen year-round

Unwind and sooth your body in the hot spring waters of Zao after a hard day on the mountain trails or ski slopes. Zao Onsen, which is said to have been discovered 1,900 years ago, offers some of Japan's strongest acidic sulfur springs known for skin beautifying benefits. The hot spring town is lined with many bathing facilities such as public baths and Japanese traditional inns, but the big open-air bath that can fit up to 200 people at a time is the most popular one. Located alongside a mountain stream, the spacious bath is surrounded by greenery, providing you a full sense of openness. The open-air bath is closed during wintertime.


Name Zao Onsen Ski Resort
Website http://www.zao-spa.or.jp/english/
Address 708-1 Zao Onsen, Yamagata-shi, Yamagata
Access Approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes by bus from JR Yamagata Station
Approximately 2 hours' drive from Shonai Airport
Approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes' drive from Sendai Airport
Inquiries TEL: 023-694-9328 (Zao Onsen Tourism Association)
Others The Zao Onsen Big Open-Air Bath
(In Japanese) http://www.jupeer-zao.com/roten/

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