Zao Onsen resort review (Yamagata City, Yamagata)

Reviews of Zao Onsen resort in Yamagata City, Yamagata Prefecture. Currently 60 reviews.
Zao Onsen
蔵王温泉
Yamagata City, Yamagata
Submitted by lee_suxiang_happy_ on 7th April 2015
Spectacular views
It was an amazing experience to snowboard amongst the ice monsters.

It was early February, and the ice monsters were reaching their peak.

I thoroughly enjoyed the view and snow
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Zao Onsen
蔵王温泉
Yamagata City, Yamagata
Submitted by dsclifford on 20th March 2015
Snow monsters and snow boarding
After winning a lift ticket through SnowJapan website (thank you very much SnowJapan!), my wife and I traveled to Zao Onsen after spending some time in Nozawa Onsen.

Travel to the resort was quite easy with the Shinkansen and then local bus service (no signs in English at Yamagata bus station though, but still easy to find bus). Following someone else's review we checked out the french bakery just next to the bus stop to stock up on some pastries
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Zao Onsen
蔵王温泉
Yamagata City, Yamagata
Submitted by Sciclone on 10th March 2015
Never mind the smell, you'll get used to it!
Ok, so to be fair, I didn't get to Zao on the best terms. It had been raining here the day before I arrived, and I busted my knee earlier in the trip, so this is going to be more of a "town" review of sorts.

First of all, big thanks to the SJ crew for the free ticket. Even though I wasn't able to use it for snowboarding as intended, I was able to use it to see the snow
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Zao Onsen
蔵王温泉
Yamagata City, Yamagata
Submitted by edave on 17th February 2015
Wow Zao! Love the snow monsters!
Disclaimer: I won a free pass for one day at Zao.

We struggled a lot on the first day. We quickly discovered that Zao is primarily designed for skiers. My wife, a snow boarder, had to be pulled by me over the flat spots and spent a lot of time walking between lifts. We were shocked to learn we had to traverse for about 10 minutes to get to lift 17 or 19 from the top of lift 12. We
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Zao Onsen
蔵王温泉
Yamagata City, Yamagata
Submitted by Rin Gomura on 17th February 2015
Beautiful scenery with no crowds, but more suited for skiing.
Zao is very easily accessed via public transport. Just a shinkansen (bullet train) to Yamagata station, and then a 45 minute bus ride direct to the Zao village.

We stayed at the Lucent Takamiya hotel, which is directly in front of the Chuo (central) Ropeway. The ropeway runs every 15 minutes, which was really convenient.

The problem was trying to read the maps and signs to get from the top of the ropeway to lifts. I thought the signage could be
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Zao Onsen
蔵王温泉
Yamagata City, Yamagata
Submitted by Leaw on 16th December 2014
Most snow satisfying holidays
It was an unexpected heavy snow condition - having stayed in the tropics ie sunny Singapore we have never enjoyed the tremendous powdery soft fall of snow!! An amazing n unforgettable experience though we do travel extensively (almost half the world). This was magical as such I am bringing my family esp my 84 year old mom back to Zao from 25-28/12/14 and we are family of 8 persons. Not easy to fix a schedule but we managed
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Zao Onsen
蔵王温泉
Yamagata City, Yamagata
Submitted by Rock-hand on 16th April 2014
Late season potential
After receiving a couple of free passes thanks to SnowJapan, I planned a trip to Yamagata Zao in late February. Unfortunately my trip coincided with one of the biggest storms of the season which forced me to cancel (most of the lifts ended up closed that weekend). I didn't get a free weekend to reschedule until April so thought I would head down to get in some spring riding.

Arriving at Zao mid-morning the conditions were great. Blue sky and very
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Zao Onsen
蔵王温泉
Yamagata City, Yamagata
Submitted by dcx3 on 2nd March 2014
Zao Onsen, Where a Sunny day is awesome!
Getting to Zao Onsen is relatively easy. We chose to go to Zao onsen from Osaka by Shinkansen on the way there and fly from Sendai to Osaka on the way back. Shuttle from Yamagata station to Zao onsen takes about 40 minutes and costs 980 yen. There is 1 every hour and usually leaves not long after the shinkansen arrives at Yamagata station. We took the bus back to Sendai at 4:30pm which got us back to Sendai station
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Zao Onsen
蔵王温泉
Yamagata City, Yamagata
Submitted by merryJim on 3rd February 2014
Unique views, big mountain
Went in January and really enjoyed it.

Zao of course if famous for the Ice Monsters, and this season they did not disappoint (though since I have been there seems to have been a quite warm spell so I might have seen the peak).

The scenery up top is unique and is absolutely worth a look. Try to walk up a bit beyond the top station too for some further views.

Skiing wise the top bit isn't much really - just a
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Zao Onsen
蔵王温泉
Yamagata City, Yamagata
Submitted by muikabochi on 8th March 2011
Zao Onsen review
Zao is a must visit ski resort in Japan.

The ski resort itself is big and perhaps best suited to people up to intermediate level - ie. there isn't much to challenge advanced skies - but there are a lot of courses to choose from and lots of long cruising courses. The resort is serviced by 3 Ropeways/Gondolas as well as a fair few quad lifts and other lifts.

The one thing I want to say about Zao though
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Zao Onsen
蔵王温泉
Yamagata City, Yamagata
Submitted by Metabo Oyaji on 25th February 2011
Zao Onsen review
Headed up to Zao Saturday morning, clutching free Giveaway ticket (thanks!), arriving mid-morning. Parked near the Zao Sanrokusen ropeway station (Yokokura area). Pretty much peak season, so was worried about finding parking, but turned out not to be such a problem. The parking lot next to the ropeway was full, but one almost across the street was taking cars.

First impression: this place is freaking huge. A giant bowl of slopes surrounding the onsen town. In the course of two
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Zao Onsen
蔵王温泉
Yamagata City, Yamagata
Submitted by andrewl on 2nd September 2010
Zao Onsen review by Deano
Zao has such a variety of runs on excellent snow that a skiier or boarder of any skill level can have a superb day out in any weather scenario.

The areas where you end up walking, schussing or swearing between lifts are a nuisance. You can plan around them mostly but it would be better if they were sorted out.

Zao is definitely a great resort for beginner and intermediate level skiiers and boarders - they are well catered for.

For those
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Zao Onsen

蔵王温泉
Yamagata City, Yamagata
View all Reviews for Zao Onsen (60)
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Basic Resort Statistics

Max. elevation: 1660m
Min. elevation: 780m
Vertical: 880m
Steepest slope: 38°
Longest course: 9000m
Number of lifts: 41

Other resorts nearby

Zao Sarukura 8.80km
Zao Liza World 13.90km
St.MARY 33.10km
Tendo Kogen 42.40km
Shirataka Choei 44.50km
Nishikawa Chomin 50.60km
Asahi Shizenkan 51.40km

Location of Zao Onsen