Visit the summit to experience the awe-inspiring
power of nature with all your senses.

Spring is a lovely time, which allows us to encounter newly-awakened animals and plants. In summer, the night sky sparkles with countless stars. Autumn covers the mountains with red leaves and their aroma. Winter brings forth the frost, painting the trees white and creating a wondrous silver and white scenery. All four seasons offer soul-shatteringly beautiful, mighty vistas. Besides, each of them provides an opportunity for various activities. Visit Zao to experience the breath of mighty nature with all five senses.

Green Season of ZAO

Zao Trekking


Use the Zao Ropeway to bring yourself closer to trekking courses in the forests of Zao. From 30 minute courses for beginners and seniors, to 4 hour courses where you can explore every nook and corner of Zao, we have a variety of courses to choose from. Experience breathtaking scenery from our many viewpoint spots, alpine flora, and the diversely changing faces throughout the seasons of nature in Zao.

Time Guide for ZAO Trekking

Time Guide for ZAO Trekking ※times displayed are based on averages for adult males.

Summer Night Cruising

Summer Night Cruising is a special activity offered only during the summer season. A little expeditionary tour, featuring stargazing at the night skies from Zao Summit Station, and a visit to the jizo statues to make wishes for safety and success. As the ropeway glides through the night skies, your view of the constellations as you look up into the refreshing night air will transform into memories you will never forget.

Autumn Leaves

In the wide expanse of Zao in Yamagata Prefecture, you can experience the preparations that nature makes, step by step, as it transitions from late summer for the winter. The autumn leaves that slowly seep into color from the summit grow from yellow to orange, to red and then brick-red, in beautiful gradations, filling visitors' eyes with wonder. And viewing theses vivid autumn leaves from above is a spectacle only the ropeway can offer. Enjoy to your heart's content this world of masterpieces, painted in multiple rich autumnal colors.

Gallery of Green Season

Winter Season

Winter is the essence of Zao's attractions. Visitors come unceasingly from around the world to see the frozen trees,
and the stars glimmering in the clear winter night skies. Zao in winter becomes a fantastic world of mystery and wonder,
silently spreading across the landscape. And of course, we offer a rich selection of
activities available only in winter, from skiing to snowboarding, to snowshoe trekking.

Ski, Snowboard

From long downhill courses extending for 10km at their longest, to the "Wall of Yokokura," with its maximum incline of 38 degrees, the winter attractions of Zao are concentrated in these epic and diverse ski slopes. Everyone from beginners to experts can have their fill of winter sports.

Snow Monster (Juhyo)

The frost covered trees, called "Juhyo," are labeled the "Snow Monsters." Zao is known throughout the world as a land where, among the many such places in Japan, especially large and beautiful juyho can be viewed. The annual "Zao Juhyo Festival" is a must-see event.

Zao Astraea Hotel

With easy access to the ropeway, this natural hot springs hotel links directly to the ski slopes. The view from the outdoor hot springs at the highest elevation of Zao are simply spectacular. It's a location that offers a breathtaking panorama to be enjoyed to your heart's content. We also boast wonderful omotenashi(a unique Japanese word meaning "hospitality") service from our staff and fine dining prepared by our experienced chefs using locally sourced ingredients.
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Ski & Snowboard Route Map

Snow Monster (Juhyo)

The Juhyo of Zao, which boast as one of the world's largest, are a mystic wonder of nature, with the Aomori white fir trees, a member of the conifer family growing in the subalpine zone, covered in blankets of snow and ice. As cloud droplets(supercooled water droplets) within snow clouds come into contact with branches and leaves, they freeze, forming shrimp tail-like shapes, and snow builds up in between the gaps, gradually hardening. As this phenomenon repeats itself, the creation of a masterpiece takes shape.

Juhyo Light-up

A light up of the Snow Monsters, the "Juhyo". The sight of these Juhyo, lit up and glowing with rich color, quietly and in the black of night, contrasts with their brilliant white and silver glimmering during the day, creating an atmosphere lost in the magic of a fantastically beautiful world. Riding on the specialized new model snowmobile "Nightcruiser," equipped with heating, you can experience the night spectacle of the lighted Juhyo from close up.

Utopia Ski School

Instructors who know everything about Zao in winter will properly share their knowledge about how to enjoy the slopes. Take their motto, "if the skiing is good, then everything is good," to heart, because their light-hearted and enjoyable instruction is one of our many attractions.

Rental Skis

At the ski center, we offer rentals for everything from skis and snowboards, to combination sets featuring snow gear and accessories. Rentals for half-days and discounts for consecutive days are available as well.


Enjoy find dining with breathtaking views of nature, ever-changing with the seasons, from our restaurant featuring scenic views, "Sancho(The Summit)." During ski season, the hearty and filling ski slope restaurants "Todomatsu," "Kurohime," "Yokokura," and "Ōmori" are also popular.

Gallery of Winter Season