Spatiotemporal characteristics of spontaneous alpha EEG activity patterns are analyzed in terms of large-scale phase synchronization. During periods with strong phase synchronization over the entire scalp, phase patterns take either of two forms; one is a gradual phase shift between frontal and occipital regions and the other is a stepwise pattern with a sudden phase shift in the central region. The former is regarded as a traveling wave of electrocortical activity, of which the direction of propagation is predominantly from anterior to posterior in three out of four subjects, and opposite in the remaining one. The other activity pattern observed may correspond to a standing wave composed of two traveling waves propagating in opposite directions. The duration distributions of these patterns have similar forms within a subject, which suggests that they share the same mechanism for their generation.