Zao Onsen features abundant sulphuric hot spring water with strong acidity. The town’s streets are lined with a number of hot spring inns and hotels amid atmospheric spring steams. The hot springs are known by the nicknames of Hime-no-Yu (princesses’ bath) and “Kodomo-no-Yu” (children’s bath) for their beauty and health benefits. The town offers three public baths, Kami-yu, Shimo-yu and Kawara-yu, each of which is reasonably priced (200 yen each). These three baths are located very close to each other and are suitable for Onsen hopping.
The popular Zao Mountain Range is nearby and among the mountains lies the famous Okama Crater, a mystic crater-lake with beautiful green hues of water, an iconic view of Zao during summer.
Winter attractions include the Zao Onsen Ski Resort and the legendary hoar frosts known as Snow Monsters. Visitors can take a cable car to enjoy views of the hoar frosts from the top of the ski area in February. The area is illuminated at night when the view of sparkling hoar frosts is particularly wonderful! Enjoy an active day out in the snow, marvel at the illuminated hoar frosts in the evening and cap the night off with a relaxing hot spring bath at Zao Onsen!
- 40 minutes by bus from Yamagata Station (take a bus bound for Zao Onsen and get off at the final stop)
35 minutes by car from Yamagata-Zao IC on Yamagata Expressway
- Official Website
- Zao Onsen Tourism Association
- Telephone Number