Zao’s fountains of beauty and relaxation

G'Day Japan! / Hot Springs / Zao’s fountains of beauty and relaxation


Steaming mineral-rich pools of health and happiness are found everywhere in Yamagata from the coastline to its mountainous interior, and can be enjoyed quickly on a day trip or slowly and decadently on a hot spring holiday.
For visitors on a snow holiday, local hot spring (onsen) villages are the ultimate way to authentically experience the traditional culture of Japan while enjoying its powder snow. Zao Onsen – a hot spring village next to the famous Zao Hot Springs Ski Resort – combines these two highlights superbly.
Additionally, there are four day-trip hot spring facilities in the area, as well as three shared hot spring baths, which can be entered for ¥200 each.
The milky-white springs at Zao are especially rich in nourishing minerals for the skin, the sulphur found in the spring works to sterilise the skin of any bacteria or dirt, leaving a clean, smooth skin and earning them the title “The Fountain of Beauty”. Legend has it that a warrior first discovered a spring in the area after a battle 1,900 years ago, using it to bathe his wounds, and since it has grown into one of Yamagata’s most prominent hot spring areas.
You can take home a part of Zao Onsen’s silky water as the gift stores here sell Yu-no-hana, which can be put in a tub to recreate Zao’s nourishing hot spring at home.
Almost 50 different spring heads now supply water to more than 100 hotels, inns and bed-and-breakfasts spread throughout this alpine retreat, and many offer the luxury of hot spring bathing just minutes from the slopes.



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Most known for the abundant snowfall around the Mt. Zao ski resort areas, Yamagata is frequented by skiers during winter. Yamagata also has deep ties with Japanese history, being the home for many famous temples, shrines, castles and hot springs.