At a towering 1,841 meters, Mt. Zao is one of Tohoku’s tallest mountains. At the summit of this active volcano is a crater with a stunningly beautiful emerald-green lake. The crater is named “Okama” due to its resemblance to a large cooking pot. Time your visit on a clear day and enjoy a panoramic view over the crater from the lookout on Kattadake Peak. The more adventurous can also tackle one of the many hiking trails connecting the crater to the Zao Onsen hot springs on the Yamagata side of Mt. Zao, and the Gaga Onsen hot spring on the Miyagi side.
The roads to Okama Crater, the Zao Echo Line and High Line, are closed during the winter season due to heavy snowfall. For those with proper equipment and experience though, the crater is accessible year-round on foot. Novices wishing to visit Okama in winter can do so by hiring a guide through M’s Guide Service. Regardless of when you go, it is recommended to check for weather warnings before your visit as access to the area is sometimes restricted due to volcanic activity.
Mt. Zao Okama Crater
蔵王お釜 | Mt. Zao Okama Crater
Elusive caldera lake of emerald green
Photo by Tohoku Sightseeing Organization