Mount Zao [蔵王]

Zao Onsen town
Photo by Yamagata Prefecture

Zao Onsen town in winter
Photo by Yamagata Prefecture

Mount Zao is the highest mountain on the mountains between Yamagata and Miyagi Prefecture.

It is an active volcano and it has many peaks.
The highest peak is 1,841 meters high.

The peak is located about 20 km southeast of Yamagata city and about 40 km west-southwest of Sendai city.
The nearest city in Miyagi Prefecture is Shiroishi city and the peak is at about 23 km northwest of the city.

Mount Zao is one of the popular sightseeing spots in this region.

There is a sightseeing road Zao Echo Line across this mountains between Yamagata side and Miyagi side.
(It is closed from early November to late April next year.)

A ropeway of Zao in winter
Photo by Yamagata Prefecture

Forest of juhyo in Zao
Photo by Yamagata Prefecture

This area has some scenic spots and hot springs.
And some ropeways are set up for viewing on the peaks of the mountains on the Yamagata side.

Additionally around this mountains, there are many big ski resorts.
Zao has much snow every winter, and not only Japanese skiers but also foreign skiers visit here.

Snow rime on trees of Mount Zao in winter is famous.
(It is called "juhyô" in Japanese.)
The tree covered with much snow has a unique shape, so it is often called "snow monster".

Zao hot spring resort (蔵王温泉)

Zao Onsen town
Photo by Yamagata Prefecture

Large outdoor hot spring bath
Photo by Yamagata Prefecture

Zao Onsen is the central hot spring resort in Zao area.
It is located 10 km southeast of Yamagata city.

This onsen resort and is on the western mountainside of Mount Zao and is located about 880 meters above sea level.

This is one of the oldest hot springs in Japan, because it is said that it was found in 110 A.D.
Of course, that is in a story according to legend, but there is no doubt that this onsen had been known from ancient times.

There are a lot of hotels and ryokans within a range of 1.5 km north and south.

The water of the spring is strong acid and includes sulfur.
So it is said that the spring is effective for skin diseases.

On the edge of the resort town, there is a large outdoor hot spring bath.
It is in a gorge, and we feel rustic atmosphere.
It is open from mid-April to late November.

Zao Onsen Ski Resort

Three ropeways

A ropeway of Zao
Photo by Yamagata Prefecture

Jizo-Sancho station
Photo by Yamagata Prefecture

Three ropeways are operated from the three places in the onsen town.
Each ropeway leads to different observetory of Mount Zao.

  • Zao Sky Cable
    Uwanodai ↔ Chuo-Kogen : 1.6 km, 8 minutes
  • Zao Chuo Ropweay
    Onsen ↔ Torikabuto : 1.8 km, 7.5 minutes
  • Zao Ropeway
    Zao-Sanroku ↔ Juhyo-Kogen (Sanroku Line) : 1.7 km, 7 minutes
    Juhyo-Kogen ↔ Jizo-Sancho (Sancho Line) : 1.9 km, 10 minutes

Onsen station is at the center of hot spring resort town.
Uwanodai station is at the north edge of the town, and Zao-Sanroku station is at the south edge of the town.

When you use Zao Ropeway, you need to change the ropeway at Juhyo-Kogen station.

Ropeway over juhyo
Photo by Yamagata Prefecture

Ropeway over juhyo forest
Photo by Yamagata Prefecture

All ropeways are just over the wide ski slope.
So these are also used as the ski lift during ski season.

Especially, in ski season, you can see the forest of "snow rime" under the ropeway of Sancho Line (Zao Ropeway).

Zao Chuo Ropeway, Sky Cable (Japanese site) Zao Ropeway

Yamagata Zao Onsen Ski Resort

Yamagata Zao Onsen Ski Resort
Photo by Yamagata Prefecture

Juhyo slope
Photo by Yamagata Prefecture

This ski slope extend to the east of Zao Onsen town.
It is on the west side of Mount Zao.

It is the widest ski resort in Japan, and has various 26 ski slopes.
Under Sancho Line of Zao Ropeway, there is a slope that you can ski through the trees with snow rime.

It is opened from early December to the end of March.


Photo by Yamagata Prefecture

Photo by Yamagata Prefecture

It is a popular crater lake of Mt.Zao, and is located on the east side of the mountain in Miyagi Prefecture.
See the page.

Okama of Mt.Zao

Only one round-trip route bus is operated in a day from spring to autumn.
It starts Yamagata station, visits Zao Onsen and reaches Zao Katta Sancho stop near the observatory.
It takes about an hour from Zao Onsen.

How to get here

By route bus, about 40 minutes from Yamagata station.

Hotels around Zao Onsen

Hotels around Zao Onsen

Other Tourist Attractions in Yamagata Prefecture

Yamagata city Yamadera (Risshakuji temple) Yonezawa city Mogami River boat tours Sakata city Tsuruoka city Three sacred mountains of Dewa Ginzan hot spring resort

Return to Yamagata Prefecture Return to Tohoku Region