Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Kannabe Kōgen – The Crater and Other Astonishing Landscapes

If you are looking for resorts during your visit to Kansai, consider Kannabe Kōgen in Hyōgo Prefecture‘s Toyooka City! It is a plateau located in the outer ring of Mt. Kanabe (神鍋山) and is known as one of the leading ski resorts in Kansai. When the breath of spring releases the Kannabe Kōgen from the long cold winter, it is a perfect place for outdoor recreation activities.

The volcanic activities of Kannabe volcanoes started about 25,000 years ago. After repeated eruptions, it was estimated that the eruption about 3,000 years ago was the last. In the prolonged absence of volcanic activity, the crater of Mt. Kannabe and its lava flow spanning as far as 15 km are rare natural attractions in the area. In autumn, the crater is decorated with golden Japanese pampas grass ears that attract many people to admire the gorgeous scenery.

1,000-meter tall mountains surround Mt. Kannabe and Kannabe Kōgen. Apart from being a winter ski resort for the past couple of centuries, it has now been transformed into a popular all-season outdoor leisure destination where you can enjoy hiking, grass skiing, and paragliding from spring to fall!

Below is a list of places for you to visit around Kannabe Kōgen.

How to Get to Kannabe Kōgen

From JR Ebara Station (江原駅), change for Zentan Bus Co., Ltd’s (全但バス) Kannabe Kōgen Line (神鍋高原線) from bus stop no. 1. Depends on which attractions below you are heading to first, the closest bus stop differs.

Please refer HERE for the service’s timetable. It is in Japanese only, so please use the bus stop’s Japanese name that we specified with each of the attractions below to read.

Taking the Sightseeing Bus – Tajimawaru Kannabe Uwa no Kōgen-gō

From late May to early July, on weekends and public holidays, there are also sightseeing buses called Tajimawaru Kannabe Uwa no Kōgen-gō (たじまわる神鍋うわの高原号) departing JR Kinosaki Onsen Station (城崎温泉駅) at 9:35 am.

The cost is 500 yen per person. No reservation is required.

For more information, you can translate THIS PAGE with Google Chrome’s translation function on the right of the address bar.

Roadside Station Kannabe Kōgen (道の駅 神鍋高原)

The Roadside Station Kannabe Kōgen, or Echi no Michi Kannabe Kōgen, is the sightseeing capital of Kannbabe Kōgen.

The first stop upon arrival would be to get some sightseeing information and maps from Kannbabe Kōgen Tourism Association (神鍋観光協会), which is just next to the vegetables and souvenirs corner.

Before you head off to find out what a crater looks like, remember to utilize the toilet facilities here. And if your water bottle’s water level is running low, there are also vending machines around.

The association also holds guided trekking tours (see links below) but only in Japanese. If you would like to participate in one of these, please contact the association by submitting your request HERE and translating the webpage using Google Chrome’s translation function. You can give them a call as well.

It takes approximately 30 minutes to reach the summit of Mt. Kannabe from the Roadside Station Kannabe Kōgen. All trails suit people of all fitness levels, making hiking at Mt. Kannabe a great choice for a family trip!

If you want to cycle around the area, rent one of the five power-assisted bikes from the tourism association between 9 am and 4:30 pm.

  • 500 yen for 2 hours
  • 200 yen per hour afterwards
  • 1,500 yen for a full-day rental

Kannabe Onsen Yutorogi (神鍋温泉ゆとろぎ)

After a day of hiking and trekking, you can relax in the hot spring facility at the back of the Roadside Station Kannabe Kōgen. Although it doesn’t have a private onsen pool, it does come with a sauna. Note that towels aren’t provided but can be purchased at the counter.

  • Adults: 700 yen
  • Children from 3 years old to primary school students: 450 yen
  • Yutorogi Original hand towel: 210 yen
  • Bath towel: 420 yen

Due to COVID-19, the opening hours of the onsen facility are from 1 pm to 8 pm on weekdays and open earlier at 12 pm on weekends and public holidays. The final admission is at 7:30 pm.

Kannabekōgen Rest Area’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • The roadside station is open from 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays and closes later at 6 pm on weekends and public holidays.
  • It closes on Wednesdays, but if Wednesday is a public holiday, it will close on the next business day instead.
  • Note that during peak seasons such as July, August, January, and February, it is likely that the station is open every day.
  • If you are taking the Zentan Bus from JR Ebara Station, please get off at Kannabe Onsen Yutorogi-mae (神鍋温泉ゆとろぎ前). The station is just within a one-minute walk from the bus stop.

Kannabe Kōgan’s Wind Cave (風穴)

© 日高神鍋観光協会

Mt. Kannabe has a total of four trailheads. You can refer to HERE for a visual picture of all the trails you can choose from. The trailheads are marked as “登山口” with trail no. 4 involving taking the lift in the ski resort.

Trailhead no. 2 is the best trail because you will trek through the scoria layer created when the volcano erupted around 20,000 years ago.

Then, as you hike further, Mt. Kannabe’s wind cave (風穴) is a great place to chill down with the 8-degree wind blowing out of the cave!

Although it certainly doesn’t look like it from the entrance, the wind cave is as deep as 6 meters and has a height of 8 meters at its tallest inside the cave. Before the refrigerator was invented, it was used as a natural fridge. While the cave is closed to the public now due to concerns of collapsing, it is still used as a storage facility.

Mt. Kannabe Crater (神鍋山噴火口)

The hiking trail to the summit of Mt. Kannabe is surrounded by trees and seasonal flowers rarely seen in our daily life. And once you get to the top, the sky will suddenly open up!

Although once bursting with molten lava, the crater is now completely covered with grass. Despite this, it isn’t hard to tell that it used to be a crater from the shape of the summit.

© 日高神鍋観光協会

Once you take a 15-minute stroll around the crater, the name “Kannabe” will begin to make sense.

Kannabe, meaning god’s pot in Japanese, is the perfect name to describe the shape of Mt. Kannabe’s summit. And with an elevation of 469.5 meters, it is easier for gods living in the high sky to “use” the pot to cook if they really want to (´▽`*).

Paragliding and Hot Air Balloon at Kannabe Kōgen

©  山陰海岸ジオパーク推進協議会

For those who wish to enjoy the scenery of Kannabe Kōben from the sky, you can either get an instructor to paraglide with you or board one of the hot air balloons. Both are offered at UP Kannabe Ski Resort.

For paragliding, ALEX JAPAN can accept English speakers. Please email them at [email protected] for availability.

You can refer to their website HERE for videos and photos.

UP Kannabe Ski Resort holds hot air balloon sessions on weekends and public holidays from late April to October. Each session lasts 90 minutes.

  • April to September: 6:30 am to 8 am
  • October: 7 am and 8:30 am

The prices are:

  • 3,500 yen for high school students and above
  • 2,000 yen for children
  • 2,500 yen for the elderly who is 65 years old and above
  • Free for children of 3 years old and younger

Note that the hot air balloon sessions must have at least four passengers for the session to be held.

Skiing at Kannabe Kōgen

The slopes of Mt. Kannabe aren’t steep. Thus, when the snow covers the mountain, the UP Kannabe Ski Resort is the perfect place for inexperienced skiers and snowboarders to sharpen their skills while having fun.

The ski season at Kannabe usually starts from mid-December to February and possibly lasts until early March. Nighttime sessions are also held on most weekends and public holidays for those who would like to end their day actively.

For more information, please refer to their website HERE.

You can also take advantage of the slopes at UP Kannabe Ski Resort during the warmer seasons, as UP Kannabe Ski Resort offers dry skiing or grass skiing throughout the year (≧▽≦).

© 豊岡市

Okukan Ski Resort (奥神鍋 スキー場)

© 豊岡市

If you are a veteran skier looking for more challenging slopes, travel a bit further from Kannabe Crater to Okukan Ski Resort. You can also enjoy paragliding there.

The ski season is the same as UP Kannabe from mid-December to early March. As a popular ski resort in the area, there are several accommodation providers for you to shop around.

For more information, please check out their website HERE and translate it by Google Chrome’s translation function at the right of the address bar.

How to Get to Okukan Ski Resort

If you are taking the Zentan Bus from JR Ebara Station, please get off at Yamada (山田).

Kanabe Kōgen Pension Snowland (神鍋高原ペンション・スノーランド)

©  ペンション・スノーランド

The gorgeous European-style house features a high ceiling inside, creating a relaxing atmosphere for the guests to chill out and rejuvenate.

The gorgeous European-style house features a high ceiling inside, creating a relaxing atmosphere for the inn’s guests to chill out and rejuvenate.

Apart from the dustless common area and guestrooms, the Bed and Breakfast is known for its delectable French dinner course and Japanese-style breakfast. So impressive were their culinary abilities that they would even earn commendations from French tourists!

©  ペンション・スノーランド

Tip: To book a stay with a vegetarian dinner and breakfast, please email them at [email protected]. They will then be able to advise you of their availability and cost. As the owners don’t speak English, they would appreciate it if you could communicate with them in Japanese. If you need assistance, contact us HERE, and we will be in touch. For the non-Japanese-speaking guests, the hosts here have found some success communicating with translation apps.

©  ペンション・スノーランド

From June to mid-July, during which fireflies are flying around Kannabe Kōgen, remember to check with the owner for where you can find them (=゚ω゚)ノ. The owners are really kind and may even drive you there if they have time!

If you want them to drive you around to find the fireflies, please advise them of your request upon booking.

Guesthouse Snowland’s Basic Information

  • Check-in at: 3 pm, check-out at 10 am
  • Room types: 2 Japanese-style rooms, 4 Western-style rooms, 1 Japanese and Western-style room
  • Towels and toiletry will be provided, but please bring your pyjamas.
  • Payment method: cash only
  • Car park: free for weekdays from April to the first snow, 1,500 yen during your stay otherwise.

Sobunosato (蘇武の里)

Important: The restaurant is currently closed due to COVID-19. However, the shop is still open.

To all the tofu lovers, welcome to Sobunosato!

This tofu shop with a restaurant attached is where you can source various types of soy products, from silk tofu and fried bean curd to deserts like soy milk ice cream and soy milk donuts. The soy products here are all freshly made on the day.

During lunchtime, there are also delicious tofu menus and a tofu buffet with award-winning rice served at a reasonable price!

The restaurant is open from 11:30 am to 2 pm, with a lunch set costing only 1,100 yen.

If the volume of the lunch set is too much for you, you can also order single items such as Yubadon Set (湯葉丼セット), which is a tofu skin donburi.

Important: Please note we have confirmed with the restaurant that the broth/sauce they use contains fish extracts.

How to Get to Sobunosato

From JR Ebara Station, please get off at Mangō (万劫). Sobunosato is only a one-minute walk away.

Kannabe Lava Flow (神鍋溶岩流)

© 山陰海岸ジオパーク推進協議会

When Mt. Kannabe was erupting eons ago, its lava flowed down the valley as far as 15 km, resting and resulting in some interesting formations. Later on, with the water flow of Inaba River (稲葉川) continuously carving the basalts created by the lava, the area became home to many waterfalls and pools.

From Jūgo Falls (十戸滝) in the east all the way to Tawara Falls (俵滝) in the west, the scenic route stretches as far as 7 km with more than 30 natural attractions along the track.

The closest bus stop to the waterfalls at both ends is Kurisuno (栗栖野) for Tawara Falls and Jūgo (十戸) for Jūgo Falls. From end to end, considering the time required for sightseeing at each attraction, the required trekking time is around 2.5 hours. Of course, you can shortcut this course if you cherry-pick the waterfalls that interest you the most as the waterfalls and pools are a short walk from the main road where you can get off the bus.

Important: The lava flow trail is uneven and slippery compared to the trail to Mt. Kannabe’s crater. Please come with at least sneakers, if not hiking shoes.

The Hattan no Taki Falls in the photo to the right is the most popular waterfall among all the waterfalls. The 24-meter tall waterfall with a large azure-colored basin can be accessed by getting off the bus at Nashiki (名色). From the bus stop, it is less than 10 minutes away on foot.

If you plan to drive, there is a small free car park close to the waterfall. A staircase from the car park will take you to Hattan no Taki Falls in five minutes.

© 日高神鍋観光協会
© 日高神鍋観光協会

HERE is a map of the scenic spots along the lava flow trail (in Japanese).

From Hattan no Taki Falls (八反の滝) to Tawara Falls, please refer to the map HERE. If you want to cut the course short, the bus stops along the Inaba River are also mapped with a bus stop symbol.

Ase Valley (阿瀬渓谷)

If you are looking for a hidden gem, Ase Valley is the valley in the uppermost stream of the Ase River (阿瀬川). The number of waterfalls scattered in the 3 km long splendid valley is even more than those at Kannabe Lava Flow, although the trail is slightly more challenging.

You will be trekking through a broad-leaved forest which is extra stunning in fall. Just note that trees don’t cover parts of the track, so you will want to apply sunscreen, especially in summer.

Amongst the Ase Valley 48 Waterfalls ( 阿瀬渓谷 四十八滝), there are five known as Ase-gobaku (阿瀬五瀑) deemed to be extra scenic. One of these is just a 20 to 25-minute walk from the Asekeikoku Dai-ichi Parking lot (阿瀬渓谷第1駐車場)!

The Gendayu Falls (源太夫滝) in the photo on the right boasts a height of 30 meters and is the premier waterfall in Ase Valley. So if you are short on time, at least stop by Gendayu Falls to admire its beauty (=゚ω゚)ノ.

© 山陰海岸ジオパーク推進協議会
©  日高神鍋観光協会

If you have time, take the Ase Valley Forest Bath Course (阿瀬渓谷森林浴コース) to see other gorgeous waterfalls such as the Nidan Falls (二段滝) pictured on the left.

It will take 2.5 – 3 hours for a return trip from Asekeikoku Dai-ichi Parking lot (阿瀬渓谷第1駐車場).

HERE is the map of Ase Valley. This map is also in Japanese, but it has marked and numbered all the waterfalls in the valley. The Ase-gobaku (阿瀬五瀑) mentioned previously are marked in green.

The Fall Foilage at Ase Valley

The color of the leaves usually starts changing in late October. The season peaks from early to mid-November.

How to Get to Ase Valley by Public Transport

From JR Ebara Station (江原駅) west exit, take Toyooka City Community Bus Innaka (豊岡市営バス「イナカー」) Mikata Line (三方線) and get off at Kanaya (金谷). From the bus stop, it is approximately a 20-minute walk to Asekeikoku Dai-ichi Parking lot (阿瀬渓谷第1駐車場).

As the number of services is limited, please refer to HERE and click “三方線” for the service’s timetable.

Tonosan Soba (殿さんそば)

After trekking through the Kannabe Lava Flow, how about enjoying freshly made soba noodles made from 100% buckwheat flour each morning?

The buckwheat flour is ground from buckwheat grown from organic fertilizers without pesticides, making it one of Japan’s most healthy soba noodles!

Fields of buckwheat surround the restaurant Tonosan Soba. These buckwheat plants are harvested to produce delicious noodles and are quite calming to observe.

Important: The broth of the noodle soup does contain bonito.

Tonosan Soba’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Tonosan Soba is open from 11 am to 3 pm daily except Tuesdays.
  • From JR Ebara Station (江原駅) west exit, take Toyooka City Community Bus Innaka (豊岡市営バス「イナカー」)’s Mikata Line (三方線) and get off at Tono (殿). From the bus stop, it is around a 5-minute walk to Tonosan Soba.
    • As the number of services is limited, please refer to HERE and click “三方線” for the service’s timetable.

Tokose Soba (床瀬そば)

There are many handmade soba noodle restaurants in Japan. But how many of these would make noodles from freshly grounded soba flour?

Tokose Soba is a restaurant in the mountains of Tajima (但馬), particularly about making noodles from scratch every day. The buckwheat grown with the melted snow water from surrounding mountains is said to be the key to the exquisite taste of their soba. The extra chewy soba noodles are completed by adding yam harvested from local fields.

The restaurant is also a great place to visit for its hearth dining area. If you don’t have the budget to stay overnight at one of the traditional Japanese houses in the country, come to Tokose Soba to experience what it is like to eat around a traditional hearth (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Important: The restaurant isn’t a vegetarian restaurant. Therefore, the broth used for noodles or dipping sauce contains fish extract. If you are strict with your diet, we recommend that you bring your own broth/sauce to enjoy the otherwise vegetarian soba and side menus.

Tip: On weekends and public holidays, there might be a queue to dine at Tokose Soba. If you do have a Japanese phone number, make a booking HERE, so you don’t need to wait as long. You can also check with your accommodation provider to see if they can make a booking on your behalf.

Tokose Soba’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Tokose Soba is open from 10:30 am to 5 pm daily.
  • To get to the restaurant, it is a 10-minute drive or 25-minute by bike from Kannabekōgen Rest Area (道の駅 神鍋高原). Unfortunately, no convenient bus services connect Kannabe with the restaurant.

Tip: If you arrive at Kannabe by public transportation, you can get to Tokose Soba by bicycle!

Festivals at Kannabe

© 日高神鍋観光協会

HERE is the link to a list of festivals held during the year. On top of this list, usually on a Sunday in mid or late June, there is also the Kannabe Cabbage Festival (神鍋キャベツまつり) from 10 am to 3 pm held at Kannabekōgen Rest Area (道の駅 神鍋高原)!

During the few hours, stalls sell cabbage dishes, such as cabbage croquette. Please check with the staff if the dishes have any meats or seafood by utilizing the phrases in our Essential Japanese Travel Phrases for Vegetarians and Vegans before you order.

During the festival, you can even participate in their cabbage eating competition, where you will be eating raw cabbage within a set time limit. The person who eats the most cabbage gets to bring home a free cabbage (≧▽≦).

And if you want some seasoning to help you eat faster, miso paste or salt is available. There will even be a bottle of green tea if you need some help swallowing!

© 日高神鍋観光協会

Also, the freshly harvested Kannabe cabbages are sold at 100 yen each during the festivals. If you plan to cook during your time in Japan, consider bringing some of the cheap but super sweet cabbages home!

We will update this article with the exact date when the date of the next festival is confirmed!

Discover Other Awesome Attractions in Toyooka City

Click the photo to find out more information about this traditional township!

Kannabe Kōgen isn’t the only amazing attraction in Toyooka City. It also has a stunning coastline and a town that is nicknamed Tajima Province’s Kyoto.

To find out more places to visit that you might be interested in, refer to our article on Toyooka City!

Visit Kinosaki Onsen for Extraordinary Michelin Certified Sceneries

For those who are looking for a hot spring resort with rich historical and cultural elements that also sports many recreational activities, make sure you visit Kinosaki Onsen. The spectacular view from Mt. Daishi is the recipient of a two Michelin star rating!

For more information, please refer to our article on Kinosaki Onsen!

Click the photo to find out more about the stunning Onsen Town

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