Good morning in Yamagata!
Since I did not get the provided hotel breakfast, I just took a very short walk to Matsuya for a cheap breakfast!
I got the grilled fish breakfast set (450 Yen) which consists of a bowl of rice, salad, blended carrot, miso soup, a place of grilled fish and seaweed.
I didn’t have much time to go search so just settled with a simple meal.
After that, packed up my stuff and checked out of the hotel.
Since I’m going to Zao Mountains, I left my luggage with the hotel and pick it up later when I’m back.
Getting to Zao Onsen
To get to Zao Onsen, all you need to do is to take the bus at the bus stop #1 just outside of Yamagata station.
It costs 1000 yen per trip and is about 30 – 40 minutes trip.
You’ll then arrive at the Zao Onsen bus terminal.
Zao Onsen is a huge skiing resort area where many people go there to ski and also to soak in the onsen during winter.
It is also the place where you can see the famous “Zao Snow monsters” which is an amazing sight!
Zao Snow Monsters
To view the Zao Monsters, you need to take the ropeway to the top.
So you have to take a short walk from the bus terminal to the ropeway. Make sure to walk to the correct one!
It costs 2,600 Yen for round trip.
Enjoy the beautiful sights along the way up!
Once at the top just head out to view the snow monsters!
How these monsters were formed is because of the geographical location where the cold siberian jet streams freezes the cloud water droplets on the fir coniferous trees causing the formation of shrimp tail-like shapes.
That day was pretty cloudy and there were strong winds and snow blowing so visibility was quite poor.
But I got to take photos with them!
If you are staying there to ski, the experience will be so awesome on a good weather as you can ski through them!
It’s really cold outside, thankfully there is a cafeteria where you can warm up after staying out in the cold blasting wind and snow!
The snow is very soft and powdery.
Also I recommend to bring sunglasses when you travel to ski places to protect your eyes from the bright snow reflection.
At lower level of the ropeway where there is lower levels of winds, you can play in the snow with lots of photo taking opportunities in the snow!
The way down via the ropeway is also a beautiful sight to see if you manage to squeeze to the window of the cable car.
After that headed back down to take the Yamagata Shinkansen from Yamagata to Tokyo which is a very scenic train ride.
It’s a long journey and we transited from a snowing region to non-snowing place.
By the time I reached Tokyo it’s already dark in the night.
After reaching Ueno station, took a few minutes walk to my hotel which I had booked online while I was in Yamagata.
Hotel Sardonyx Ueno
Sardonyx Ueno Hotel is located a few minutes walk away from the main Ueno hotel.
It’s also located very close to the subway train station to the many different lines.
Checked into the hotel.
The room was pretty small but I guess that’s quite a norm in Tokyo.
There’s many usb ports at the bedside for you to charge your phone and there’s a sofa for me to sit and put my laptop for my blogging.
As I was starving and tired, I just popped by to the nearest ramen shop near the hotel.
I find it ok, pretty normal ramen. Though the grilled beef shop beside it smells more tempting. Too bad I can’t eat beef.
After that had a walk around in Ueno city.
Walking in the streets in Ueno reminds me of streets of Hong Kong or China where there are many Chinese shops, stalls selling authentic Chinese street food and aggressive touting and bargaining.
There’s many Chinese tourists there so it seems to be a popular tourist spot where they can get their Chinese food fix.
Some parts of the alley are darker and there are some red light districts with pimps approaching you and feels pretty underworld. So do be careful walking these streets in the night.
But there are many small restaurants and Izakaya in many alleys where I see alot of salary men stay there for a drink and snacks late in the night.
While I still have time before closing, I travelled Kamiyacho station to see the Tokyo Tower.
Dropped by at 7-11 to buy some snacks. 7-11 is a snack haven! They have really good and cheap snacks!
After that back to the hotel to rest for the night relaxing and drinking beer and eating snacks bought from 7-11.
Rest for the night and get ready for Day 8!
Check Out My Itineraries
- Amazing Japan 11D10N: Day 1 (Singapore – New Chitose – Sapporo)
- Amazing Japan 11D10N: Day 2 (Sapporo – Nijio Market – Odori Park – Mt Moiwa)
- Amazing Japan 11D10N: Day 3 (Sapporo – Wholesale Curb Market – Hokkaido University – Otaru)
- Amazing Japan 11D10N: Day 4 (Sapporo – Noboribetsu)
- Amazing Japan 11D10N: Day 5 (Noboribetsu – Hakodate – Mt Hakodate)
- Amazing Japan 11D10N: Day 6 (Hakodate – Yamadera – Yamagata)
- Amazing Japan 11D10N: Day 7 (Yamagata – Mt Zao – Tokyo)
Thinking of going to Japan?
Check out my guide on How to Plan a Trip to Japan!