AreaMt. Zao

Mt. Zao Hiking

蔵王山熊野岳 | Mt. Zao Kumanodake

Climb past the treeline into the volcanic landscape atop Mt. Zao

Photo by Miyagi Prefecture

Photo by Miyagi Prefecture

Photo by Laura Egan

Photo by Tohoku Sightseeing Organization

  • Mount Zao straddles the border of Miyagi and Yamagata prefectures. It has the distinction of being the only mountain in Miyagi to make the Hyakumeizan (Japan’s seminal list of 100 famous mountains). The mountain has several peaks, the highest of which is Kumanodake at 1,841 meters. Kumanodake technically lies a few meters into Yamagata, but most of the hike lies in Miyagi.

    One of the best Zao hiking routes starts at Gaga Onsen, goes up and over Kumanodake, and ends at Togatta Peak (For an easier hike, start at Togatta Peak and end at Gaga Onsen). It was originally used by Shugendo monks during their ascetic training rituals. The trail climbs through deciduous forest and circumnavigates the jewel-like Okama Crater. The hike takes about four hours one-way. Bus stops are located near both ends of the trail, but it may be simpler to do a round-trip and stay overnight at Gaga Onsen than plan ones’s hike around the infrequent bus service.

     

    PRINT / PDF

  • Mt. Zao

Details

ADDRESS

Gaga Maekawa, Kawasaki, Shibata District, Miyagi Prefecture 989-1501

ACCESS BY PUBLIC TRANSIT

To Gaga Onsen trailhead

From Shiroishi-Zao Station or Shiroishi Station (runs weekends & holidays late April–early November): About 60 minutes by bus, followed by a 2-km walk. From Shiroishi-Zao Station (白石蔵王駅) or Shiroishi Station(白石駅), board Zao High Line (蔵王ハイライン) bus bound for Zao Togatta Sancho (蔵王遠刈田山頂). Alight at Gaga Onsen Iriguchi (峩々温泉入口) bus stop. Timetable here.

To Togatta Peak trailhead

From Shiroishi-Zao Station or Shiroishi Station (runs weekends & holidays late April–early November): About 90 minutes by bus. From Shiroishi-Zao Station (白石蔵王駅) or Shiroishi Station (白石駅), board Zao High Line (蔵王ハイライン) bus bound for Zao Togatta Sancho (蔵王遠刈田山頂). Alight at Zao Togatta Sancho, the final stop. Timetable here.

From Yamagata Station (runs every day August 1–October 27 for 2019): About 100 minutes by bus. From Yamagata Station (山形駅), board bus bound for Zao Onsen・Togatta Sancho (蔵王温泉・遠刈田山頂). Alight at Zao Togatta Sancho (遠刈田山頂), the final stop. There is only one bus a day in each direction, so please be mindful of the schedule. Timetables here.

From Kaminoyamaonsen Station (runs April 27–November 4 for 2019): About 60 minutes by free shuttle bus. The bus stop is located across the plaza from the station, in front of the Kaminoyama Onsen Sightseeing Information Center (かみのやま温泉観光案内所). From there, board a Green Eco Go Line bus (グリーンエコ号) bus bound for Togatta Chushajo (遠刈田駐車場). Alight at Togatta Chushajo, the final stop. Timetable here. Paper copies of the timetable in English available at the Kaminoyama Onsen Sightseeing Information Center.

ADMISSION

Free

LANGUAGES

Japanese only

HANDICAP ACCESSIBLE

No

HOURS

24/7

CLOSED DAYS

None. The mountain is covered in deep snow all winter, so winter hikes require proper equipment and experience. Novices and those unfamilliar with the territory should book a guide through M's Guide Service.

Home Mt. Zao Hiking