蔵王お釜 / Mt. Zao Okama Crater
Crater lake atop a volcano
Photo by Tohoku Sightseeing Organization
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.
October 8, 2019
Area Mt. Zao
In Kuraishidake National Forest , Zao-machi, Togatta-gun, Miyagi Prefecture
ACCESS BY PUBLIC TRANSIT
By bus from Shiroishi-Zao, Shiroishi, & Yamagata Stations.
By free shuttle bus from Kaminoyamaonsen Station.
From Shiroishi-Zao & Shiroishi Stations (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. Timetables in English are available at the Kaminoyama Onsen Sightseeing Information Center.
Roads to Okama (the Zao Echo Line and High Line) are closed during winter (early November–late April).
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