Zao Onsen

Getting Here

How To Get To Zao Onsen

Zao Onsen is located in the northern region of Honshu in the Yamagata Prefecture.  You can fly into either Haneda or Narita Airports in Tokyo and then you have a few options for making your way to Zao. The two main options are either flying or taking the bullet train to Yamagata and then a bus from there. Read on below for all the details and if you require assistance speak to one of our Japan travel specialists.

Shinkansen + Local Bus

Taking the famous Shinkansen or the ‘Bullet Train’ is a popular option for getting to Zao Onsen, with the overall journey from the airport taking approximately 4 hours. You can pre-arrange an All Japan Rail Pass or a 5 Day Flexi JR East Tohoku Rail Pass before you depart home. The best pass for you will depending on your itinerary in Japan. Alternatively you can purchase individual tickets at the station when you arrive.

If you’re traveling from Haneda or Narita Airport – here’s how you get to Zao Onsen.

  1. From Narita Airport take the Narita Express to Tokyo Station or if you’re coming from Haneda Airport you’ll need to take the monorail to Hamamatsucho Station and then the train to Tokyo Station. 
  2. From Tokyo station get yourself a ticket on the Yamagata Shinkansen which takes you directly to Yamagata Station in only 2 and a half hours, covering nearly 400kms.
  3. Once you arrive at Yamagata Station you can take the local bus directly to Zao Onsen. The buses run frequently throughout the day and only takes 40 minutes. You can see the timetable here.

If you have any issues during your journey, just ask one of the friendly Japanese staff at any of the stations and they will be happy to assist.

How to get to Zao

Flight + Local Bus

If you would prefer to fly, you can fly directly to Yamagata Airport from Haneda Airport in Tokyo, which takes 60 minutes. Flights to Yamagata are limited so if your international flight doesn’t line up with a domestic flight you may prefer the Shinkansen. Flights are also available from other cities such as Osaka and Nagoya. Once you arrive in Yamagata you can take the bus directly to Zao Onsen in only 60 minutes. The buses connect with all arriving and departing flights so it’s all very easy. Reservations are required and you can get all the details here.

Travelling From Other Cities

Japan is famous for its JR rail network which makes getting around the country easy. If you’re visiting Zao Onsen from other cities in Japan such as Kyoto, Osaka or Kanazawa, you can take the Shinkansen or “Bullet Train”. There are some helpful sites for planning your journey from city to city, we recommend Hyperdia or the Japan Travel App by Navitime.

Buying a JR Rail Pass is often the most cost effective option if you’re spending time in other cities before or after your ski trip. Speak to one of our Japan specialists and they’ll be able to recommend the best option for you.

Luggage Delivery Service

If you’re brining your own skis or snowboard and spending time in other cities of Japan, there is a convenient luggage delivery service. You can send your luggage ahead to the airport or accommodation and pick it up when you arrive. This is perfect if you’re wanting to spend time in Tokyo or other cities before or after your ski trip but don’t want to haul your luggage on the trains.

If you want to send your ski gear you can arrange this at the airport or your hotel reception. Luggage delivery usually takes about 1 – 3 days depending on where you send it from and costs between ¥1500-3000 depending on size and

Visit Yamato Transport or “Black Cat” for more info. 

HAVE ANY QUESTIONS? Speak to one of our ski travel specialists today!