Okama crater, MT Zao – Japan

It all started once we arrived in Tokyo. While we were at the train station activating our JR pass. I was standing in line and saw this picture of this amazing crater on a brochure, the one and only Okama crater on Mt Zao.

I was like “Man I have to see this place with my own eyes!”

So once we activated our JR pass, we quickly worked out if the JR pass covered our trip on the shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) up to Kaminoyama Onsen. Which is near where the crater is located.

And you bet ya it sure did! So after some research our last three days in Japan was our mission to find this crater.

We had our last night in Kyoto, then the next morning we started our six hour mission by train, up north to Kaminoyama Onsen.

We had already booked our hotel so checked in after working out how to get to the crater.

Check out Renee’s post about our stay in Kaminoyama Onsen HERE!

At first it was a bit tricky cause we hardly speak any Japanese and this town isn’t really built for tourists. After some charades and Google translate we worked out where the free shuttle bus that takes you straight to the top of the mountain leaves from. And it’s FREE!!

Kaminoyama Onsen station
Shuttle bus stop

So we returned the following morning to embark on this mission to the crater. The free shuttle bus departs twice a day at 9:20am and another at 1:25pm

Okama crater MT Zao free shuttle bus time table.

There was one other guy waiting for the shuttle bus when we arrived. So we waited for him to get on the bus so we knew which was the right bus haha.

shuttle bus up to Okama crater MT Zao

Now as we started driving up the mountain we passed huge lumps of snow on the side of the road.

Now I had no idea that there was still going to be snow up here as it has been super hot in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. Neither of us were dressed for the cold let alone snowy conditions!

Okama crater MT Zao

All the way up the mountain all the stops were at ski resorts. As it was summer, there was no people around. All the hills had grass on them as all the snow has melted on them.

Once we arrived to the top we had to get a chair lift to the top of the mountain for the small fee of 680 yen.

These were single seat lifts and it was nice just slowly cruising up the hill, taking in the view.

Okama crater MT Zao chair lift

Once we got to the top I was super excited to see the view of the Okama crater AKA Mt Zao!

Okama crater MT Zao

It was very barron land up there not much foliage at all. So we quickly headed towards the edge of the mountain to see the view.

Okama crater, MT Zao

WOW! This amazing view did not disappoint! We were high above the clouds and looking down on the crater.

Okama crater, MT Zao

Large chunks of ice lay around the edge of the mountain. The green water inside the crater was a great contrast to the dry brown ground, white ice and blue skies.

Okama crater, MT Zao
Okama crater, MT Zao

We spent about 45 minutes on top of the mountain checking out the crater from different vantage points. Before the cold took over and we decided to head back.

We got back to the carpark from the chair lift just in time to catch the shuttle bus back down the hill.

Little did we know that we had a 50 min stop over at one of the ski resorts. We went inside for a beer then built a snowman in the ice to kill some time.


The we got back on the bus and headed back to town so we could spend the rest of the day exploring Kaminoyama Onsen.

It sure was an amazing sight! If you are ever in the area I highly recommend checking it out!

Okama crater Mt Zao Japan

Check out the video and as always… Happy travels 😊

For more cool Japan blogs check these ones out!