5-6 hours drive from Tokyo is the largest ski resort in Tohoku Region and is well-known for excellent powder conditions.
One of the oldest and most respected resorts in Japan because of its history and traditional onsens (hot springs) it is a great place to take the whole family.
Featuring 4 gondolas, 41 lifts and a super long 10km course stretching from one side of the mountain to the other! There is a large variety of courses perfect for beginners, intermediates and experts.
It is also very famous for its “snow monsters”, which are trees that take on various shapes when they are clumped with ice and snow.
Zao’s Famous Snow Monsters
Like any ski resort it’s best to avoid the crowds and go on a weekday.
Whilst this year, 2016, has not been a great year for snow, we waited for the right weather conditions then jumped in the car at 3am to arrive at Zao at 9am.
The first 2 days, it snowed continuously, the third day was beautiful blue skies.
Love Powder Love Zao
The whole time, we had fresh deep powder and tracks.
The Center of the Ski Resort has an Onsen (Hot Spring)
Zao ski resort is quite large and can be quite confusing for first timers. You will almost certainly get lost and turned around a few times. Be sure to grab a map.
Map of Zao Onsen Ski Resort
You can watch a video of our trip at the top of this article.