Winter Escapade 1 – Zao, Yamagata

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Alaine’s travel essentials

Every winter since 2011, I have been visiting Ski resorts to take a dip into the snow. Well, I wouldn’t consider myself as a sporty person, but I can make a few moves in the snow.

The location: Mt. Zao in Yamagata Prefecture. Not so famous for the snow, but I was there for a something different.

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the resort

It was a fair day.. Too cloudy and it was snowing. Was there to actually see the famous Snow monsters.. But it was just to hard to see them in that weather. The picture may be deceiving though..but this was just one of the rare moments of the sun that day.

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me in action

We went up to see the lightened Jihyou. It was just to windy and cloudy that day that my hair literally got frozen.

The next day is a little different though. Though it was still cloudy, the gods were so good to us to make us see the snow monsters under the blue sky.

Snow Monsters
Snow monsters

To get there:
1. Hop on the Shinkansen to Yamagata station. It takes about 3hrs from Tokyo.
2. There are buses going to Mt. Zao from Yamagata station. It takes about 45mins to the actual location.

Some tips:
1. Lodges are available at the top. You need to reserve early though during the peak season.
2. If you think you’ll not be using the lift a lot, there are also prepaid lift options.
3. Natural onsens are just everywhere. Ask your lodge receptionist if they have discount coupons. Some onsens don’t have showers (costs around 200-300yen). For others, they have everything (entrance is around 650-700yen)

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