Skiing might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of tourist attractions in Japan, but the country attracts many enthusiasts each winter keen to experience the powder-dry snow. Kansai has many skiing locations that don’t draw in quite as many tourists as regions such as Hokkaido or Nagano. Here is a pick of some of the best ones.
Situated on the northeastern side of Mount Hachibuse, Hachi Kita Kogen is the top-rated and largest ski resort in the Kansai region. It attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors during the peak seasons, from advanced skiers who like to test their skills on the 20 km of slopes to families who enjoy days out in the snow park.
There are 25 courses and slopes in total, with instructors offering sessions to all abilities. Peaks reach over 1.2 kilometers.
Costs: 4,500 yen for an adult 1-day ticket; 3,000 yen for a child 1-day ticket
Ojiro is a slightly smaller resort in Kami Town, Hyogo. It has peaks of around 900 m and over 6 km of slopes. There are family-friendly facilities, including a snow park for kids where they can try out the lower slopes and pet-friendly gondola cabins that travel up through the mountainside. There are classes available for all abilities as well as activities, including snowboarding.
Costs: 4,200 yen (adults); 2,000 yen (children)
A smaller facility in Shiga Prefecture, close to Kyoto, is none other than Biwako Valley. This location offers some great views of Lake Biwa and the surrounding mountain landscape. There are 10 km of slopes to choose from, with eight routes tailored towards different abilities from beginner to advanced. There are also tree-lined forest routes for those who want to try something a bit different. Lessons are offered throughout the winter season.
Costs: 3,500 yen (adults); 2,500 yen (children)
With a summit measuring at 1,250 km, Oku Ibuki in Maibara edges out Hachi Kita Kogen as the highest peak in the Kansai region. It also offers some notoriously steep descents, and so is, unsurprisingly, a venue that attracts many advanced-level skiers and thrill-seekers. Its New Challenge course has a drop of approximately 46 degrees.
However, there are also gentler courses and kids’ activities. In total, there are 12 trails spread across 7 km of slopes here.
Cost: 4,300 yen (adults); 3,000 yen (children)
Rokko Park ski resort is the only skiing facility within the Kobe city area. The ski park is within a wider set of tourist attractions that include an observatory, a botanical garden, a museum, and even a golf course. Popular with families due to the abundance of novice slopes and kids’ winter sports activities on offer. You can even try out a spot of floodlit skiing at one of the late-night sessions where the slopes are open until 10:00 p.m.
Cost: 2,200 yen (adults); 1,100 yen (children)