Some residents of Kobe visit the artificial ski slopes on Mt. Rokko. But there’s a much better place to enjoy winter sports in Hyogo – the Hachi-Kita ski area on Mt. Hachibuse in northern Hyogo. Mt. Hachibuse is adjacent to Mt. Hyono, the highest mountain in Hyogo.
This ski slope is a three-hour bus ride from Kobe or Osaka. You can bring your own skiing or snowboarding gear, but if you haven’t brought all of your gear with you to Japan, their rental service is convenient. I was able to rent everything, including snowboard and wear such as jacket, snow pants, goggles, and gloves, for about 8,000 yen.
They have an ample variety of sizes for foreigners. The lift ticket vendor told me that they were accustomed to receiving non-Japanese visitors – she herself was Filipina and spoke Chinese as well as English.
After I had gotten outfitted, it was time to hit the slopes. I’ve done some snowboarding before, but I would still call myself a beginner. At Hachi-Kita there’s a variety of courses suited for all levels. I started out on the lower slopes remembering how to snowboard (yes, it’s been a while), but then headed up to some of the higher slopes.
The higher runs were steep, curvy, and blessedly free of crowds. The heavy snow that day added a bit of excitement.
After your day of exhaustion, you can head straight back to the big city, but there’s an onsen and several lodging facilities in the area, so you might find it more relaxing to soak in the hot springs, have a hot meal, and collapse into bed.
Hachi-Kita will be open until the first week of April, so it’s not too late to hit the slopes!
2011-2012 season: December 3rd to first week of April
Lifts open 8 AM to 4:50 PM.
Address: 580-1 Osasa Muraoka-ku, Kami-cho, Mikata-gun, Hyogo 667-1344
Website: http://www.hachi-hachikita.co.jp/ (Japanese)
How To Get There
Buses depart from Shin-Osaka and Sannomiya. Contact Shinki Bus for more details and to reserve a ticket. It may be easiest to do this in person at the Sannomiya Shinki Bus Terminal.