Where to Find Snow Resorts Near Osaka (Our First Snow Experience)

By Sarah Aterrado - July 23, 2019

When we went to Japan last March, it was transitioning from winter to spring. That means, we were able to experience both snow and sakura season at the same time.

You see, even though the season was leaning toward spring, a deep-rooted fascination for snow has definitely gotten my mind fixed to experience snow by any possible means. Well, you must understand that this utmost desire to see snow is coming from someone who has spent an entire life in a tropical country and has never seen one. This Japan trip—that happens once in a blue moon⁠—was my chance.

An obligatory snow shoefie.

Honestly, there would have been a lot of snow resorts outside Tokyo. However, 4 days is not enough to explore the city alone. So we planned to have our first snow experience somewhere in Kansai since we will be spending more time in Osaka. Also, it is a lot cheaper.

Snow Resorts Near Osaka

Biwako Valley in Otsu (an hour and a half away by train from Osaka) was the first on our list. It is easily accessible and would have been a great choice as it offers a magnificent view of Lake Biwa, Japan's largest lake. So even if we choose not to do snow sports, the trip would still be worth it.

Unfortunately, winter season for the valley is over at that time and snow was already melting. By the time we were in Kansai, the valley was already closed to tourists and will reopen for other activities come spring.
Biwako Valley. Photo courtesy of Shoryudo.
Okuibuki in Maibara (around 2 hours away by train from Osaka) is open until the first week of April (with 50-60cm snow). We figured, since we will be there in the last week of March, an 80cm snow (according to forecast) is still suitable for a snow trip.

Here's the funny thing. Since spring was fast approaching, I visited Okuibuki's website every day to watch the live broadcast and monitor snow activity. I got excited on every snow shower because it only meant more snow. I imagined white mountains and snow-capped trees that will give a dreamy, magical vibe. I already had my heart, mind, and our itinerary set to have our first snow experience there. In fact, I was excited. Way too excited.

Okuibuki Ski Resort
A few days before our Japan trip, I already kept on monitoring snow activity.
The only inconvenient thing about Okuibuki is that you have to make a phone call to get shuttle reservations to get to the resort. So a day before our scheduled Okuibuki trip, we called the resort's number a few times and every time we started speaking in English, the person on the other end of the line would hang up. It was so frustrating, we ended up looking for the nearest ski resort in Osaka instead. 

Mount Rokko in Kobe was the map's first suggestion. And because Kobe is just less than an hour away from Osaka and it was undeniably spring in the city already, I was afraid a thick, powdery snow is not something we can expect. Snow is going to be thin at worst, slushy at best. But at least, there will still be snow and that was all that mattered to me. Basta may snow.
Mt. Rokko Snow Resort
Mt. Rokko Snow Resort, almost ready for spring activities.
To our surprise, while some parts of the resort were already plowed and cleared to give way for spring, some slopes still have enough snow for winter sports. We opted not to go skiing and chose a safer activity because we still have a few more days to enjoy Japan and an injury is most definitely not welcome.
Rokko Snow Park

Ski/Snowboard at Rokko Snow Park

So we went sledding with the little kids (we were the only playing adults in the kids' area) and WE HAD SO MUCH FUN!

Snow in Kobe

Snow Resort Near Osaka

Rokkosan Snow Near Osaka
Hello, Olaf!
Dream come true!
Snow in Kobe
Our first snow experience!
We went home having both cold and sun burns, eyes that hurt (now I know what those snow goggles are for), and wet pants, albeit we had one of the most wonderful time of our lives. We will surely be back and by that time, it will be with our kids. :)


How to get to Mt. Rokko Snow Park (from Osaka)

From Osaka, ride a train that would stop to any of the following stations:
- JR. Rokkomichi Station
- Hankyu Rokko Station (HK13)
- Hanshin Mikage Station (HS25)

From the train stations, ride a Kobe City Bus No. 16 or Bus No. 106 (this is available in Hankyu Station only).

Alight at the Rokko Cable Shita Station and ride a Rokko Cable Car.
Mt. Rokko Mountaintaop View
Overlooking the city of Kobe from the cable car
At the Rokko Mountaintop Tourism Area, hop on to the Rokko Sanjo Bus and alight at Rokkosan Country House (R06), walk for about 10 minutes going to the resort entrance.You may alight at the Rokkosan Snow Park (R09) during winter time only.

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