For many people, wintertime in Hiroshima means oysters and nihonshu. While these are great winter indulgences, there are many other experiences worth having during the colder months. While the rest of Japan either goes into hibernation or ski season, Hiroshima has its own options for winter fun that don’t allow for hibernating. Despite minimal snowfall in the city, there are still ample opportunities to get involved in winter sports. From team activities, to solo adventures, to family trips, if you’re interested in getting outside this winter, Hiroshima and the surrounding area have all your options covered.
No winter in Hiroshima would be complete without at least a few visits to the Higashi-ku Sports Center in Ushita for some fun on the ice. While renting skates and riding around the frozen pool is exciting on its own, you could also give curling, figure skating, or ice hockey a try. There are skating lessons to sign up for that occur twice a month, and hockey teams to join for every age group.
Where: Hiroshima Big Wave – Higashi-ku Sports Center, 1-8-3 Ushita Shinmachi, Higashi-ku, Hiroshima (next to the “Ushita Big Wave” Astram stop)
Open: November to April, 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. (occasionally changed due to competitions or tournaments)
General skating: 1,560 JPY (adults) 930 JPY (children)
Book of 11 passes: 15,600 JPY (adults) 9,300 JPY (children)
Skate rental (up to size 30): 300 JPY
Website (Japanese): www.sports-or.city.hiroshima.jp/locate/02
Throughout the year, Mominoki Forest Park is a beautiful option for a retreat into nature, and winter is no exception. While many national parks close for the snowy months or convert to ski resorts, Mominoki remains open and offers some alternative options for enjoying the snow up close. The most popular use of the area is for sledding, but you can also rent (or use your own) snowshoes or cross country skis to trek around in.
Depending on driving conditions, it can take up to two hours to get to the park from Hiroshima city, but it is still very possible to experience on a day trip. The mountain views are beautiful, and the sledding hills tend to be a lot less crowded than the surrounding ski slopes. The best part of the snow park? It’s free to use, as long as you have your own gear!
Where: 1593-75 Yoshiwa, Hatsukaichi City, Hiroshima 738-0301 (Approx. 15 min. from Yoshiwa IC of Chugoku Expressway) (Google map)
Admission – Free
Sled Rental – 1 person sled: 600 JPY, 2 person sled: 850 JPY
Snowshoe Rental – 2,000 JPY (adults)
Cross Country Ski Rental – 3,000 JPY
Website (Japanese): www.mominoki.or.jp
With fifteen ski resorts in the area, Hiroshimans could try out new slopes just about once a week in winter. Unfortunately, many of these resorts are located far from Hiroshima-shi, and for people wanting to make a day trip to ski there aren’t so many options to choose from.
Of course, less options doesn’t mean less quality options, as the closest resort to the city offers great skiing and snowboarding with full coverage of snow all season. Megahira Hot Spring Ski Resort has a total of 5800 meters of runs with the longest run being 2300 meters. There are various types of slopes ranging in difficulty and terrain. There is also a snow park for sledding or playing in the snow, which makes it a nice option for families with children.
In the resort area visitors can relax in the onsen, have a meal in the cafeteria or even enjoy a walk through the art museum. With its proximity to Hiroshima, Megahira can get quite crowded especially on weekends. If you need more incentive to head over on a weekday, there is also the option to try night skiing that starts up just as the daytime skiers head home.
Where: 4301 Yoshiwa, Hatsukaichi City, Hiroshima 738-0301 (Google map)
When: Open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and weekends from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
December 2nd~March 18th
Full day (9 hours): 5,400 JPY (adult) 4,000 JPY (child)
Half day (4 hours): 4,400 JPY (adult) 3,300 JPY (child)
6 Hour ticket: 5,000 JPY (adult) 3,800 JPY (child)
3 Hour ticket: 3,900 JPY
Night skiing: 2,500 JPY
Website (Japanese): www.megahira.co.jp/pc/ski.html