Zao Onsen

Hot Spring / Hot Spring Bath
A hot spring district located halfway up the Zao Mountain Range. The oldest hot spring district in Yamagata Prefecture, the area's history as a hot spring bath center stretches back over 1,000 years. One of the area's greatest charms is its seasonally changing scenery, from fresh verdure in the spring and summer to fall foliage in autumn to snowscapes and frost covered trees in winter. There are five hot spring clusters in the area and over 40 source springs, and the district has been designated a National Hot Spring Health Resorts. There are strongly acidic springs in the area, a rarity in Japan, as well as sulfur springs, and the milky white waters of the district, which soak into the skin with a tingling sensation, are said to be very effective at beautifying the skin, making this a renowned destination for those seeking lovely, smooth skin. There are three public baths in the district, and visitors can enjoy stopping by each to bath, compare, and pick their favorite.

Spot details

Yamagata Yamagata-shi Zao Onsen map map Map
Water type
acidic/Sulfur-containing-aluminum-sulfate/chloride spring
Temperature of spring
cuts, burns, chronic skin diseases, chronic women's diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, nerve pain, muscle soreness, aid recovery from fatigue, frozen shoulders, sensitivity to cold, Bruises, chronic digestive diseases, Hemorrhoids, skin beautifying propertiesetc
Number of source springs
Amount of water flow
Number of public baths
Number of day trip bathhouses

Information Sources:  NAVITIME JAPAN

Articles about this spot


  • A gem
    5.0 Reviewed : 2019.11.07
    An incredible natural hot spa experience with scenery straight from a postcard. Visited in autumn - when the surrounding forest was bathed in colour.
  • Way to hot!
    3.0 Reviewed : 2019.01.27
    This onsen was a lovely little public onsen in town that our lodge managers gave us a voucher for. It was so ridiculously hot I couldn’t even get in. I sat on the side just tipping the buckets of...
  • Quaint and authentic
    5.0 Reviewed : 2018.12.14
    This one of three public baths in Zao Onsen which cost Y200 or free with a coupon from where you are staying. Lovely carpentry. Being on the high street, however, it can be busy at certain times...

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