Zao mountain range straddles the border of Miyagi and Yamagata prefectures and Togatta Onsen is located on a 330-m high plateau on the Miyagi side of Mt. Zao. The hot spring is said to have been founded some 400 years ago, in 1601, but another story says that it had been opened by gold dealer Kaneuri Kichiji long before. The hot spring resort flourished as a post-station town of Zao Gongen Shrine (current Kattamine-jinja Shrine’s Okumiya, or rear shrine) and also as an area for a hot-spring cure during the Edo period (1603-1867). There is a legend that a big eel living in the Fudo-taki Waterfall was defeated by a big crab living in the Sankai-taki Waterfall and the eel’s cut off tail flowed to this place. Because of this, the onsen is believed to be effective for physical fatigue and strengthening the lower body. Okama, a crater lake and a symbol of Zao, is nearby and hiking is enjoyable around the lake area. The three waterfalls of Fudo-taki, Sankai-taki, and Jizo-taki are worth seeing and driving along the Zao Echo Line is recommended (note: closed from early November to late April due to snowfall). In winter, skiing and snowshoeing are available and juhyo, which are trees covered with snow and ice and also called “snow monsters,” are a mustsee. In addition, Togatta is well known for kokeshi wooden doll making, along with Tsuchiyu Onsen (Fukushima Prefecture) and Naruko Onsen (Miyagi Prefecture), and the area is dotted with kokeshi studios.