Zao-zan (Mt. Zao) is a volcanic mountain between Yamagata and Miyagi with a crater lake known as the “Five Color Pond”. This namesake is due to the water's color changing hue, which is based on the weather. Mt. Zao is primarily known as a hot spring and ski resort area in Yamagata. One of Japan’s oldest ski resorts, Mt. Zao is ideal for winter sports. The heavy snowfall and wind conditions create uniquely shaped “ice trees” known as “Snow Monsters.” Most popular in February, the gondola may be taken by skiiers and sightseers alike to view the Snow Monsters atop the summit. The hot spring water is available in all four seasons, offering relaxing hot waters. The acidic sulfur spring is infamous for making skin lighter, smoother, and more beautiful.