Zao Onsen Ski Resort

Tohou's ski vacation paradise

蔵王温泉スキー場 | Zao Onsen Ski Resort

Photo by Zao Onsen Ski Resort

Photo by Zao Onsen Ski Resort

Photo by Zao Onsen Ski Resort

Photo by Zao Onsen Ski Resort

Originally founded in 1925, Zao Onsen Ski Resort is Tohoku’s premier ski resort, famous for its pristine powder snow and the juhyou, or “snow monsters,” which form near the top of the mountain. The heavy snowfall and freezing winds of the winter months combine to blanket the trees in thick sheets of snow which give the monsters their characteristic shape. Mid-February is typically the best time to see these formations. From December to February, the resort also offers tours to see the snow monsters lit up at night. (Availability of this tour is subject to seasonal conditions, so its best to contact the resort in advance if you’re interested in making a reservation)

Visitors interested in getting in as much skiing as possible will be delighted by the sheer scale of the resort; with 14 different slopes and 12 courses, Zao Onsen offers adventures suitable for the whole family, from kids learning to ski or snowboard for the first time, to seasoned riders looking for unparalleled mountain thrills. Lessons are also available in English, for those interested in getting some coaching.

Of course, no trip to Zao Onsen is complete without some time soaking in the hot springs. Zao Onsen village is home to three public bathhouses, where visitors can enjoy an oldschool Japanese bath for just 200 yen. There are also several facilities, which offer rotenburo, open-air baths where visitors can soak in the hot springs as they enjoy the snow-covered scenery. For skiers and snowboarders planning a Japan vacation, Zao Onsen offers a compelling reason to make the trip to Yamagata.

Reviews from Google Maps

Good lifts placements. Basically you can go any slope in this mountain in once. The views and landscape is super pretty. I enjoyed a lots of sliding down in the forest paths. Diamond Valley is a perfect place for warming up or beginners practice.

Chloe Huang ★★★★★

Much less crowded than those ski resorts in the Nagano areas and Niseko, yet the snow quality and variety of slopes are 5-star level. Plus the cost of ski rental, accommodations and food are much cheaper here.

Gary S K Sik ★★★★☆



Zaoonsen, Yamagata, 990-2301


1 Day Lift Pass 5000 yen (adult), 2500 (child), many other pricing options available so check website for details




English guidance available


Zao SkyCable, Zao Chuo Ropeway 8:15 - 17:00, Zao Ropeway 8:15 - 16:30 (subject to change), resort facilities open until 21:00



Official URL