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Zao Eboshi Ski Resort

Home of the 4,300 meter ski run

Miyagi Zao Eboshi is a mid-size ski resort on the Miyagi side of the Oū mountain range. Eboshi boasts one of the longest continuous runs in Japan at 4,300 meters. That's longer than Mt. Fuji is tall! Accessible by a short drive through Shiroishi and Zao Town or by bus from Sendai and one of its neighborhoods Nagamachi. Eboshi is not crowded and has enough variety to keep things interesting. Eboshi is the most expensive resort in Miyagi at ¥4300 for the highest price single day ticket. That's like saying its the most expensive thing in the dollar store.

Getting to Zao Eboshi is very easy. There is a bus that for ¥4800 includes round trip fare and an all day lift ticket (but not rental gear). You must make reservations a day in advance; I was able to make the reservation in English but the girl on the other end didn't speak English very well. The bus leaves Sendai station at 8:00AM and also has pickups at Izumi-chuo and Nagamachi-minami stations. The bus pick up isn't too obvious at Sendai station. Common sense would tell you it would be near the other buses, but this is wrong. It's actually to the left of the taxi stand on the first floor, West exit, door 13. The bus arrives around 9:30AM giving you the majority of the day to ski or board. The return trip from the resort leaves the mountain at 4:30PM (16:30). You pay your whole fair on the bus in cash and the nice lady will give you a lift ticket when you leave the bus.

Eboshi measures 1,350m at its peak and has 12 total chair lifts and 14 runs depending on how you count the ones that join together. There is a very large cafe at the entrance to the gondola and a couple cafes about midway up the mountain. I had a massive bowl of ramen at the cafe by chair F. It was so big I couldn't finish it. There is a gear shop as well as a fancy crepe place by the ticket and information counter. There are onsite rental packages starting at ¥3200 and they rent clothes as well. The mountain, website and information center are all in Japanese but I was able to get everything I needed using my browser's built in translator.

There are three maybe four decently steep sections of Eboshi. I would not recommend going off the main runs near the top since the chair lifts hang only a few feet above the snow. Run number 6 was my favorite run. It was challenging, it had terrain, it was decently steep in parts and had deep snow. A novice snowboarder may have some serious trouble if they are unable to maintain speed through long, flat, and slightly uphill sections of the lower half of the mountain. There are two parks for the tricksters, a small one on the top half of the mountain and a large one on the bottom half. I went on a Saturday and the place was not very busy which was awesome. There are also three resorts of similar size all within a few minutes drive of each other so the crowd may spread out among them. The other resorts are Miyagi Zao Sumikawa, Miyagi Zao Shiroishi and Miyagi Zao Shiakishuku.

If you are south of Sendai this resort is easier to get to than Spring Valley and less money if you can take the bus (or drive). If you are north of Sendai, I would head to Spring Valley instead because they are basically the same ski resort. My advice for Zao Eboshi is to maintain speed and go to the steep stuff early in the day. Intermediate skill level boarders and skiers will find everything they want at Eboshi, and nothing they don't.

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