Mount Zao 蔵王山 (Yamagata Prefecture)


Mt. Zao is one of Japan's 100 famous mountains, located in Yamagata Prefecture part of the Mt. Zao quasi-national park. Mt Zao is an active volcano that is also famous for being a ski resort in the winter with the natural snow monster phenomenon.

Bird Watching
Public Transport
Maximum Elevation

Getting there

You can get to this hike by either driving to Zao ropeway or by taking a bus from Yamagata station to Zao Onsen Bus Terminal and then walking about 5 minutes to the ropeway.

From Zao Ropeway, buy the ropway ticket all the way to the Jizo Sanchou. Be careful not to get on the wrong ropeway as there are three ropeway companies operating in the area. It is specifically called Zao Ropeway. 

You will first board a ropeway that will you take you another station where you change ropeways and then continue upwards to the Jizo Sanchou. You begin the hike from this second ropeway station. 


Get a brochure my lad.

Route/Trail notes

From the Jizo Sanchou station, follow the boardwalk to the right looking out for signs pointing towards 熊野岳 (Kumanodake) and お釜 (Okama). Kumanodake is the true peak of Mt. Zao, whilst Okama is where all the views are at. There are many different routes you can take, just follow the signs and you will eventually get there. 

Once you have looped around the Okama and Kumanodake. I recommend following signs for Iroha Swamp. This will take you through some really interesting marsh on the mountain. 

To be honest, it doesn't matter where you go on Mt. Zao, it is amazing. The plantlife is very unique, wildlife is abundant. It is just overall a great time. 

After circling around Iroha Marsh, continue following signs for the ropeway and then descend back down to Zao Onsen where I recommend going into one of the onsen.  


Ropeway to Jizo Sanchou is 3000 yen return. 

Bus from Yamagata station is 1000 yen one way. 

GPS Tracks

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