Search the best hotels in Zao Onsen
About Zao Onsen
Famed throughout Japan for its splendid skiing and rejuvenating hot springs, Zaō Onsen is a hugely popular weekend destination for those looking to escape the city. With records dating back to 110 AD, this ancient community has an intriguing history, as well as access to a plethora or outdoorsy attractions and activities. The best places to stay in Zaō Onsen range from smart mountain hotels to charming ryokans, perfect for couples, families and friends.
Set 800 metres above sea level, this historic resort town is surrounded by verdant forests. These promise wonderful hiking routes in the summer months, and striking ski slopes in winter, when high winds and heavy snowfall coat the trees in ice. Three cable cars zip guests up the mountain to Zao Onsen Ski Resort, which promises pistes for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. In warmer months trek up Mount Zaō — admiring the Zaō Jizoson statue en-route — or marvel at the Okahama Crater, an unusual blue volcanic lake. Half moon-shaped Dokkonuma Swamp is especially beautiful in the late summer and autumn.
Return to town for long soaks in the area’s natural hot springs. Long believed to have healing properties, the onsens are a favourite with Japanese travellers — despite the whiff of sulphur! Round off your evenings with multi-course kaiseki feasts at the best places to stay in Zaō Onsen.
The Best Places to Stay in Zaō Onsen
For Active Families or Groups
- Takamiya Hotel Lucent has large rooms with multiple futon beds for families or groups to share. The karaoke area will be a sure-fire hit after days of skiing and hiking. Other highlights include the relaxing onsen and excellent regional cuisine. A well-priced choice.
- Zao Shiki No Hotel is a big mountain hotel with a selection of both contemporary Western and more classic Japanese rooms. Guests can enjoy the swimming pool, onsens and spacious guest rooms with beautiful views. Families and groups will appreciate the easy access to outdoorsy activities.
- Miyamoso Takamiya is an historic ryokan, offering an intimate, traditional experience. Unwind in one of the property's nine onsen baths, dine on delicious kaiseki cuisine and stroll to the slopes in winter or summer. One for romantic couples looking to kick back in absolute tranquility.
FOR AN APARTMENT OR HOLIDAY VILLA
- If you'd prefer a self-catering option, we suggest that you visit our online partner Booking.com.
- Fly to Tokyo's Haneda International Airport or to Narita International Airport and travel to Yamagata by rail, before hopping on a bus to Zaō Onsen.
- The Tochigi region is wonderful to explore by road! Contact our online partner Rentalcars if you would like to hire a car.
- Keen skiers should travel between December and March. With temperatures peaking at around 26°C, summers are best for outdoorsy activities like hiking and mountain biking. The changing red, yellow and golden leaves of autumn, however, make this the most picturesque time to visit.
Still Not Sure?
- Explore our list of all the best places to stay in Sendai.
- Alternatively, expand your search to see our pick of the best places to stay in Japan.
- Or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice.
Monthly Weather in Zao Onsen
Best Hotels in Zao Onsen
Takamiya Hotel Lucent Zao Onsen from £113Families - Large family rooms are great for travelling with little ones, who will love the chance to ski nearby - and the evening karaokeActive Holiday - Brilliant for skiing holidays, the hotel has equipment for hire, ski storage and a sauna for post-ski blissSkiing - Hire ski geat from the hotel and set out for the Yamagata Zao Onsen Ski Resort, five minutes' walk awayHotel Entertainment - Book the karaoke room to belt out your favourite tunes with family and friends
A chic hotel located in the Zao Onsen hot spring area. Light and airy rooms are clean and contemporary and dressd in the traditional Japanese style; think paper screens, floor level beds, polished wooden floors and tatami mats. Exemplary regional dishes are served in the restaurant. Fabulous. See More
Zao Shiki No Hotel Zao Onsen 48 rooms from £182Skiing - The Zao Onsen Ski Resort is just a one-minute walk away, making this a top choice for those looking to hit the slopesTotal relaxation - Enjoy rejuvenating soaks in the hotel's natural hot spring baths after big days of skiing or hikingActive Holiday - Ski, hike, wildlife-spot or mountain bike in the area: an active base for adventurers of all agesTrekking - Follow wonderfully scenic hiking trails through the mountains in the summer and autumn
A mountain property boasting spectacular views. Interiors mix traditional Japanese styles with contemporary design. Rooms are light and airy with large expanses of glass, clean lines and light polished wood. Find tranquil surrounds, healing onsens and attentive service. A spoiling stay. See More
Miyamaso Takamiya Zao Onsen (Yamagata-City) 18 rooms from £306Skiing - Located a short walk from the Yamagata Zao Onsen Ski Resort lifts, this is a top spot for sporty travellersRomantic Break - A restful, romantic choice for couples eager to unwind in hot springs and feast on delicious cuisineTotal relaxation - Experience the authentic bath culture of Zao Hot Spring at this traditional Japanese ryokanRiding - The International Horse Riding Club offers scenic guided treks for all abilities
A historic and luxurious ryokan situated in the Zao Hot Spring area. Traditianal rooms are atmospheric and authentic with floor level dining tables, delicate paper shutters and tatami mats. Unwind in the healing onsens and feast on regional Hana no kaiseki cuisine. A spoiling stay. See More