What to see in Zao: A Practical Travel Guide

What to see in Zao: A Practical Travel Guide

Zao: A Practical Travel Guide


Zao is a charming destination in Japan known for its stunning natural scenery, hot springs, and outdoor activities. Whether you're seeking relaxation in onsens or adventure on the ski slopes, Zao offers something for every traveler.

Things to See and Do

1. Zao Onsen: Start your Zao experience by relaxing in one of the many traditional hot spring baths known as onsens. The mineral-rich waters are said to have healing properties and provide a serene setting to unwind.

2. Zao Fox Village: Animal lovers shouldn't miss a visit to Zao Fox Village, where you can observe and interact with adorable foxes in a natural environment.

3. Zao Ropeway: Take a ride on the Zao Ropeway to enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and forests. The vistas are especially stunning in the fall when the foliage is ablaze with color.

4. Zao Ski Resort: In the winter months, Zao transforms into a winter wonderland perfect for skiing and snowboarding. With a variety of slopes for all skill levels, it's a great destination for winter sports enthusiasts.

Where to Stay

There are several accommodation options in Zao ranging from traditional ryokans to modern hotels. Many establishments offer onsens for guests to enjoy a relaxing soak after a day of exploring.

Some recommended places to stay include:

  • Zao Kokusai Hotel: A resort hotel offering comfortable rooms and easy access to the ski slopes.
  • Zao Shiki no Hotel: A ryokan known for its traditional Japanese hospitality and delicious kaiseki meals.
  • Zao Plaza Hotel: A modern hotel with convenient amenities located near Zao Onsen village.

How to Get There

Zao is easily accessible from Sendai, a major city in the Miyagi Prefecture. From Sendai, you can take a bus or train to Zao Onsen Station, which serves as a gateway to the town and its attractions.

If you're traveling from Tokyo, you can take the Yamagata Shinkansen to Yamagata Station and transfer to a local train or bus to reach Zao.

Weather and Climate

Zao experiences a humid subtropical climate with warm summers and cold winters. The snowy season typically lasts from December to March, making it an ideal time for winter sports enthusiasts to visit.