Embryonic stem (ES) cells display heterogeneous responses upon induction of differentiation. Recent analysis has shown that Hes1 expression oscillates with a period of about 3–5 h in mouse ES cells and that this oscillating expression contributes to the heterogeneous responses: Hes1-high ES cells are prone to the mesodermal fate, while Hes1-low ES cells are prone to the neural fate. These outcomes of Hes1-high and Hes1-low ES cells are very similar to those of inactivation and activation of Notch signaling, respectively. These results suggest that Hes1 and Notch signaling lead to opposite outcomes in ES cell differentiation, although they work in the same direction in most other cell types. Here, we found that Hes1 acts as an inhibitor but not as an effector of Notch signaling in ES cell differentiation. Our results indicate that sustained Hes1 expression delays the differentiation of ES cells and promotes the preference for the mesodermal rather than the neural fate by suppression of Notch signaling.