Zaosan 1841m (蔵王山) is a short and easy hike/walk with beautiful views of the Okama Crater Lake. Perfect as a dayhike from Sendai or Yamagata City.
Elevation Gain: 190m
If coming by car park at Kattadake Sancho Parking Lot. The road up costs 550Y per car and is open from late April to early November.
You can also park before the toll road and take a chairlift up. But there are no views from the lift and it's 750¥, so only makes sense if the upper parking is full.
If coming by public transport you can either take the ropeway from Zao Onsen or a direct bus from Togatta Onsen to Zao Katta summit. It's around 2000¥ one way and it only runs on the weekend and public holidays.
I almost didn't include Mt. Zao because the trail from the bus stop can hardly be called a hike, but it's such a beautiful mountain/volcano and it's a bit of a hike if you go to the actual peak (Kumanodake).
Start from Kattadake Sancho. The building has a restaurant, food stalls, toilets etc.
On the right is Kattadake and also a small shrine. Turn left to get to Kumanodake.
Should take you about an hour to get to the peak and 45min to get back. In total 2-3h is plenty of time to explore the whole plateau.
You could also take a bus to Kattadake Sancho, walk to the peak and then take the ropeway into Zao Onsen and stay for the night and enjoy the amazing Onsen.
There are some shelter huts but they are for emergency only.
Zao Onsen has plenty of options.
If you are looking for an amazing outdoor Onsen after the hike I can recommend Dairotenburo (big outdoorbath). Tattoos are ok and it's 700¥. No shower, you need to use the bath water and no soap.
Elevation Profile & Map
If you have any questions leave a comment below or message me directly through the chat!