Skiing on Mount Rokko, near Kobe, Japan

The Sochi Winter Olympics are on and the mountains have been calling our names, echoing across the sea and could be heard whispering throughout the air through Rokko Island where we live.  The Olympics have inspired one boy in particular insisting that he wanted to go skiing so we set out to see if this soon to be forty year old could take the pounding on his body that beginners get from the snow.


Mount Rokko is the nearest mountain from Osaka and Kobe which has a ski/snowboard run however it takes a bit of an effort to get there even though it can be seen looming in the background from the balcony of our apartment. To get there it still entails a train, a bus, a cable car and another bus to reach the ski fields.


Quality of Snow

The recent weather, the temperatures have plummeted. It had snowed for two consecutive days dropping a bucketload of snow. The day we went was a mild Winter’s day, blue sky’s, perfect for our first time skiing. Mount Rokko usually needs man made snow to sustain the ski season, however no snow was being made the day we were there and there were no machines to be seen. There was a lot of snow going up  the mountain so the snow may have very well have been natural.

The Runs

Mount Rokko has three runs perfect for beginners with none of the runs being too long or too steep. Most of the people on the runs were families or beginners if you are an experienced skier or snowboarder then I would suggest a different mountain. Japan has some great mountains for experienced skiers or snowboarders having once held the Winter Olympics in Nagano.

On weekends snowboarders are only allowed on the mountain from 4pm. Weekdays skiers and snowboarders share the mountains.

The Experience

My son Rei was going to ski and I was going to snowboard having done it a few times many years ago when I first moved to Japan. I was kind of shocked that when purchasing rental hire that I was told that you could only snowboard from 4pm so this lead to my first time skiing.

Rei was going to take lessons from the ski school but they only take reservations prior to the day. This left us to defend for ourselves on the mountain. The snow, skiers zooming down the mountain making it look so easy built up the excitement.

We saw little children some who looked like they were three or four years old go down the runs unattended by parents but when it came to our turn we would build momentum before crashing down, sometimes face first, chest first but always hard. If it wasn’t the skis digging into the snow or crossing over then it would be the stocks which I saw wasn’t really needed for a beginner. The staff must have thought we were too dangerous, out of control “go down, turn right, walk don’t ski” chided the staff in half broken English.

This is where the beginners train before they are ready to go on a run from here it got a little bit easier, we could eventually weave through skiers but still occasionally came crashing down, we never really managed how to stop, Rei worked it out towards the end of the day but not me.

It was a frustrating day but fun never the less. We are both eager to try and master the art of skiing or at least get to use a ski lift at least once.


What we didn’t like

The basics of skiing is really difficult but as the day goes on you gradually improve in these areas but the one thing we both couldn’t manage to do was stand up after we had fallen down. Each time we fell, we took our skis off and walked back to the top.  Since coming home I have watched a few videos on how to stand up from a fallen position. Looking forward to trying next time.

Which is more difficult skiing or snowboarding

I personally think that skiing is more difficult to do than snowboarding. It has been about  twelve years since I last snowboarded but I still can remember that within an hour I could get through the practice area without falling down, after that I moved to the chairlift and could start to go on runs. A whole day of skiing and we were still trying to navigate the practice area.

Skiing was fun though and it is something we both want to get better at. You never know one day you may be reading about us skiing the Canadian Rockies or  the European Alps. That’s the beauty with travel and sports you just never know where they will take you.


Entrance.                   Adults       2000¥.     Children 1000¥.

Ski and clothes.       Adults        4500¥.      Children 3500¥.

Snowboard.             Adults       5500¥.      Children 4500¥.

Lift tickets.               3000¥

*On returning your rental gear you will be given a 1000¥ back per person. This was a nice surprise as we were not expecting it.


Day time.    9.00- 15.30

Night.         16.00- 21.30


Have you skied or snowboarded in Japan. We would love to hear about it. 

Which do think is more difficult skiing or snowboarding?

12 thoughts on “Skiing on Mount Rokko, near Kobe, Japan

    1. Thanks for reading. It is only a small mountain near Kobe. It is good for beginners and families for experienced snowboarders I would suggest a different mountain.

  1. stella

    May I know if they offer ski lesson for young children (5 yrs old) in English or Mandarin? I tried to reach the office but apparently they only offer Japanese class.

  2. Hello, is it ok if we just go to mount rokko snow park just to play with the snow? I mean we dnt want to ski or snowboard… just to experience snow since we come from tropical country… is it compulsory to rent the clothing, or can we just wear our own winter clothing n own shoes? We’ll be there mid dec. Tq

  3. Cindy Khor

    Hi, this is good. My children can hardly wait to go there. We will be there in 8 December. Do you think there will be snow by there? Thanks!

    1. Hi Cindy, thanks for reading. The ski season starts in December around the first week. I would think that early in the season there would most likely be a lot of man made snow. I hope your children enjoy it as much as our son.

  4. Brian C.

    Great blog post, very informative. Would you happen to know if mid December is a good time to try skking there? And any suggestions of a nearby hotel?

    1. The mountain is open for skiing from December but January and February are the best months to ski in Japan. Mount Rokko is a good mountain for beginners or families but if your an experienced skier then I would suggest a different mountain.
      The bus stops on its way to the ski area at Rokko San Hotel rates start from about 20,000yen

  5. Wow…. sounds like a great family day….. I haven’t tried to ski in 40 years….. Bet I’m worse than I was then…. Great post………. PS … our son in law is going to Osaka to cook a dinner for 30 in March…..

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