Mt. Zao in Yamagata Area

Guide to Mt. Zao in Yamagata, Japan

If you're looking for a stunning natural wonder to explore in Japan, look no further than Mt. Zao. Located in the Yamagata area of Yamagata, Japan, this mountain is known for its breathtaking views and unique natural features.

About Mt. Zao

Mt. Zao is a volcanic mountain range that straddles the border between Yamagata and Miyagi prefectures. It has several peaks, the highest of which is Jizo Peak at 1,841 meters. The mountain is home to several famous natural attractions, including the Okama Crater, a volcanic crater lake that changes color depending on the season.

Things to Do at Mt. Zao

There are plenty of activities to enjoy at Mt. Zao, regardless of the season. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Skiing and snowboarding: Mt. Zao is known for its excellent ski slopes, which are open from December to May.
  • Hiking: There are several hiking trails throughout the mountain range, ranging from easy to difficult. Some popular routes include the Jizo Peak Trail and the Okama Crater Trail.
  • Hot springs: The mountain is home to several natural hot springs, which are a great way to relax after a day of skiing or hiking. Some popular hot springs include Zao Onsen and Kaminoyama Onsen.
  • Sightseeing: Even if you're not up for a hike, there are plenty of spots to enjoy the views of Mt. Zao. The Zao Echo Line is a scenic driving route that offers stunning views of the mountain range.

Getting to Mt. Zao

The easiest way to get to Mt. Zao is by car. The mountain is located about 40 minutes from Yamagata City and 90 minutes from Sendai. If you don't have a car, there are also buses that run from Yamagata Station to Mt. Zao.

When to Visit Mt. Zao

The best time to visit Mt. Zao depends on what you want to do. If you're interested in skiing or snowboarding, the winter months are the best time to visit. If you're interested in hiking or sightseeing, the spring, summer, and fall months are ideal.


Mt. Zao is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Japan. Whether you're looking for outdoor adventure or just want to take in the stunning views, this mountain has something for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Mt. Zao today!