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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.