The mountainous Zao area in southern Miyagi is renowned for its magnificent natural beauty. Mount Zao itself has long been regarded as sacred, and the colorful crater lake at its summit is now one of images that define Miyagi. In Shiroishi, the city at the base of the mountain, learn about samurai culture and dress as a warrior at Shiroishi Castle. In the foothills of Zao, have an adorable nature experience at Fox Village, where visitors can bond with dozens of the fluffy canine residents.
Zao is born anew each season. In winter the mountains are covered in deep snow, making it a destination popular for skiing, snowboarding and excursions to see the “snow monsters.” The spring thaw yields cherry blossoms as well as other colorful blooms. At the Hitome Senbon Zakura, visitors can view a thousand cherry trees blossoming all at once along the Shiroishi River. In summer, sightseers come to Zao to escape the city heat. And as summer gives way to autumn, the mountainsides are transformed by fiery-hued foliage, attracting hikers and cyclists alike.