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Mt. Zao Snow Monster Private Tour

Marvel at the sight of the snow monsters atop of the frosty Mount Zao.

The rare natural phenomenon of snow monsters can be viewed every winter on the upper alpine area of Zao Onsen. Best viewed in February or March, viewing the number of snow monsters from above and up close at the peak of the mountain, which can be as cold as -20°C (4°F), be in awe of the natural beauty of the frozen snow figures.

As well as its snow monsters, visitors also enjoy the mountain’s natural sulfuric hot spring sources, a myriad of things to eat and drink, including Japanese sake, as well as the ski slopes it offers.

Yamagata city is a city with character; local food, friendly residents and if you know where to look, you can also experience traditional Japanese arts. It is a city not experienced by many travelers, but thoroughly enjoyed by those who do choose to come off the beaten path. 

Accessible just shy of three hours via bullet train from Tokyo, on this private tour, you can have a taste traditional and modern Japan in Yamagata city, where you can experience Japanese tea ceremony and local life with bar hopping at night, and then the following day travel to see the amazing snow monsters on the mountains of Zao and enjoy the hot spring onsen town before continuing on with your travels.

Tour at a glance


What this private tour includes



Starting from ¥158,000 per person

Minimum number of participants

2 people
Solo applicants may be accepted on a case-by-case basis for an additional fee.

Tour Length

2 Days 1 Night

Meeting Location

This private tour starts at Yamagata Station.

Important notes

We have allocated this tour during a period most likely to see the snow monsters, but we cannot fully guarantee viewing this natural phenomenon as it depends on the weather and climate of the mountain. 
It is recommended you make a reservation request 3 weeks in advance of your desired tour date. Experience availability may vary. Reserve to confirm availability.
Customization of this tour is available on request.

Day 1: Traditional and modern Yamagata City

Start your private tour by meeting your English-speaking local guide at Yamagata station. Drop off your luggage at your hotel conveniently located from the station, and go with your guide to have something you want to eat, whether it be a famous tonkatsu shop, local-made soba or local street food served in a charming local restaurant. 

Following this, walk to the tea ceremony venue with your guide and taste the matcha tea with a traditional Japanese sweet made in Yamagata. 

After the tea ceremony, you have free time to explore the city, with self-guided options like visiting the elegant Bunshokan, discovering the hole-in-the-wall boutique stores (zakka-ya) or souvenir shopping at the mall. Post check-in, rest and freshen up and get ready for tonight’s barhopping tour.

Meet your guide at your hotel lobby and walk to your first location out of three for the night. Spend one hour at each place with side dishes and drinks served to you at each place, taking in the different ambiance, cuisine and appreciating the personality of every owner of each local spot. 

After your night out, rest in your hotel near the station for tomorrow’s Zao Onsen outing.

Day 2: Mount Zao Snow Monsters

Start your morning with breakfast at your hotel. Check out and leave your bags at the hotel. Meet your guide at your hotel lobby and take a private charter taxi to Zao Onsen. Ride the Zao ropeway up and admire the winter view of Mt. Zao. Have the opportunity to see the sea of snow monsters from above. When on the summit, see the fabulous snow monsters up close in the freezing temperatures, or gaze upon them through the windows in the warmth of the rest area building with a warm drink. Upon returning to the first ropeway station, have lunch with your guide- choose from reservation-only sushi, or try out Genghis Khan, a grilled mutton dish typically prepared with various vegetables on a convex metal skillet or other grill. It is said that this dish originated from the Zao Onsen area. If not, other options not needing reservations are also available, from Japanese-western food, ramen and cafe food. 

Following lunch, embark on a stroll through Zao Onsen, perfect for photos with its traditional Japanese architecture throughout the town. You can also partake in some shopping in the local stores as well as see the public bathhouses and foot baths around the town. After your stroll, arrive at a sake museum where you can learn about Japanese sake with your guide’s assistance, before tasting sake complimentary to your tastes. 

The hot spring water of this town was said to be discovered in 110 AD, helping people for hundreds of years to relieve fatigue. It is said that the waters have the ability to improve the skin and heal wounds because of its acid, aluminum, chloride, and sulfide components, thus making it known as the ‘Springs of Beauty’. As an additional option for this tour, you can choose to have a soak in one of the hot springs of Zao Onsen according to your preferences, with a rundown explanation from your guide to ensure a smooth bathing experience. 

After enjoying Zao onsen, travel back to Yamagata station with your via guide private charter taxi. Upon arrival, upon parting with your guide our tour ends, and you continue on with your travels.


You can send a booking inquiry for your private snow monster tour below. After we receive your inquiry, we will confirm if we can accommodate your group and tour dates and contact you from there. 

Cancelation Policy

Our general cancellation policy for our experiences is below. Cancellation fees may vary according to exceptional circumstances. Changes to your tour dates can generally be made up to 45 days before your tour.

45 days or more before date of tour

No penalty

30 days before date of tour

20% of total price

14 days before date of tour

50% of total price

Less than 14 days before date of tour

100% of total price