Within the Mt. Zao scenic area is Zao Onsen (蔵王温泉), a popular hot spring and ski resort. Zao Onsen is especially popular during winter, where the famous "snow monsters" form on the wintery slopes of Mount Zao. Due to the Tohoku region's harsh winters and heavy snowfall, the trees atop Mt. Zao get covered with snow and resemble monstrous-looking frozen sculptures. Many make the trip to Zao Onsen especially to see the snow monsters, which is a unique event that only occurs during February when snowfall is abundant.
Other than the snow monsters, Zao Onsen resort offers several different ski slopes of varying difficulties. Visitors can also utilize the Zao Ropeway to get around, as well as enjoy the mountainside views from above. If you're visiting during winter, make sure not to miss the snow monster illuminations at night — as part of the annual Zao Snow Festival. Festivalgoers enjoy firework displays, illuminations, professional ski and snowboard shows, and many more fun activities.
Koyo Ryokan in Kaminoyama Onsen near Yamagata City and near the Zao mountains is ranking amongst the best ryokan in Japan. The Ogami know how to pamper guests, even those who opt for a day time onsen plan. Yonezawa wagyu and in-room onsen are the highlights.