- Must-Visit Attractions Accessible from Yamagata Airport -
Zao Onsen Hot Spring & Okama
Zao Onsen was opened some 1900 years ago and has a rich history. It also offers the best of Japan's four seasons. In spring the trees are full of new leaves, in summer and autumn it's great for trekking, and in winter, people come here to view "Juhyo", or frost covered trees, and skiing.
"Aomori Todomatsu" are fir trees native to this area, and become natural works of art when they are covered with snow and ice. They can be seen only in regions where there is both heavy snowfall and freezing winds. They look spectacular when lit up at night.
Zao Onsen Ski Resort
Enjoy excellent powder conditions on the diverse slopes. The long downhill course that starts at an altitude of 1661m and traverses through frost covered trees is exhilarating. At the peak of the mountain there is a 2.34m tall statue of Jizo-san the guardian deity, and you'll be surprised to see it is buried in snow right up to its head.
Okama is a crater lake that is frequented by travelers from spring to autumn. Depending on the weather, the lake surface changes between an emerald green and a bright blue color which is mesmerizing. The Zao Echo Line only runs from end of April to end of October.
This ample hot spring is also known as the "Spring of beauty". The area is full of charming Japanese style inns and you can also enjoy the big, open outdoor hot springs (closed in winter), the free public baths and foot spas.
Yamagata is famous for its soba noodles. The cold soup soba made with chilled chicken stock, soy sauce flavoring and topped with meat pieces is unique to Yamagata. Also try the local favorite, "Genghis Khan" Mongolian barbecue.
*As of September 2018.
*All photographs are for illustrative purposes only.
Zao Ice Trees "A miraculous world created by mother nature"
The Zao Mountain Range straddles the border between Yamagata and Miyagi. During harsh winters an amazing scene of countless trees, covered with frost yet still standing tall, unfolds before visitors. These trees covered with frost only appear when a number of certain conditions come together, such as the condition of the terrain and the amount of snowfall. It is a sight that can only be seen on a few mountains like those in the Tohoku region. However, one of the best ones to see is the view of Zao with its many trees.
"Doors to explore 'NIPPON'", a special program that showcases scenes hand-picked from NHK's "SHIN NIHON FUDOKI", a show that conveys the beautiful scenery and profound culture of Japan, is screened on five TV monitors installed in the departure area of Haneda Airport. Do enjoy the video before you leave Haneda Airport.