Zao Onsen resort review (Yamagata City, Yamagata)

Zao Onsen
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 run down. It's more tourism than skiing.

But the rest of the mountain is big and kind of sprawled out. I would spend less time trying to get from one area to another and back and just choose half the mountain in a day.

And I'd choose the Kurohime side (right side looking up from base). Parking was less busy as well. Two very fast quad lifts and some nice runs. From there you can get to Utopia as well.

I found the left side (Uwanodai) less interesting.

After ski? There is none. Ghost village. Everyone stays in their hotel and you probably will too!

Oversall, worth a visit.
Date visited: No specific date.
Snow condition on visit: Great
Things I liked: Scenery, snow, Kurohime
Things I didn't like: A bit sprawling, village is dead once evening comes
Recommended for: Beginner riders
Intermediate riders
Authentic Japan experience
Not recommended for: Snowboarders
General score: 80
Snow conditions: 80
Courses/Terrain: 70
Lift system: 70
Apres ski: 5

Zao Onsen

Yamagata City, Yamagata
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Average Rankings

General score: 80
Snow conditions: 80
Courses/Terrain: 73
Lift system: 69
Apres ski: 42

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