IWATE Prefecture3.5 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
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Japan Ski Tour Tohoku Area

Ski Iwate Prefecture
Ski Iwate Prefecture
Iwate skiing is often devoid of crowds
Iwate skiing is often devoid of crowds
Iwate Snowboarding
Iwate Snowboarding
Amihari Onsen Iwate
Amihari Onsen Iwate
Appi Kogen Iwate Prefecture
Appi Kogen Iwate Prefecture
It's easy to find virgin powder
It's easy to find virgin powder
A good concentration of ski areas around Mt Iwate
A good concentration of ski areas around Mt Iwate
Geto Kogen Iwate
Geto Kogen Iwate
Morioka City
Morioka City
Views from Shizukuishi
Views from Shizukuishi
Lots of onsen in the region
Lots of onsen in the region
Onsen in the Hachimantai area
Onsen in the Hachimantai area
Appi Kogen deep powder skiing
Appi Kogen deep powder skiing
Lots of BBQ restaurants in Shizukuishi
Lots of BBQ restaurants in Shizukuishi
No skier traffic
No skier traffic
Geto Kogen tree skiing
Geto Kogen tree skiing
Lots of great onsen
Lots of great onsen
Amihari Onsen in-bounds
Amihari Onsen in-bounds
Appi Kogen Iwate
Appi Kogen Iwate
Great for soak after a day on the slopes
Great for soak after a day on the slopes

IWATE Prefecture

The Iwate Prefecture in Tohoku provides a fabulous opportunity for powder hounds to get away from those crazy busy high profile Japanese ski resorts, and easily score fresh tracks. There are various Iwate ski resorts, and they are generally only large enough to warrant a day or two of skiing or snowboarding at each. Head there on a guided tour or rent a car and do your own road trip.

Ski Iwate: Summary of Pros and Cons

The pros and cons apply to most Iwate ski resorts (with the exception of Appi Kogen which is an international, full service resort).

Pros

  • The Iwate ski resorts can feel deserted at times, and pretty much no one rides in the trees so fresh tracks are so easy to score.
  • Accommodation, food and beverages are much cheaper than at the mainstream ski resorts in Japan.
  • The region has lots of great onsens.
  • An Iwate ski trip can provide an unadulterated Japanese experience.
  • There are several ski areas within easy driving distance for day trips.
Cons
  • Iwate takes a little more time to get to compared with the mainstream Japanese ski regions further south.
  • The ski areas are not ideal for English speaking families that require childcare or lessons (except Appi Kogen).
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • Iwate ski resorts tend to receive drier snow compared to Nagano and Niigata, but not quite to the same magnitude.
  • Many of the ski resorts are small to medium sized and don’t provide adequate variety for a multi-day visit.
  • Tree skiing is generally not allowed officially, but it is definitely possible with discretion and self-responsibility.
  • Don’t expect much English to be spoken. At times, thank goodness for google translate!
  • The bus system between the Iwate ski resorts is not well developed, necessitating a guide to drive you around or a rental car (GPS are in English and very easy to use).

Iwate Ski Resort Regions

Depending on the length of your Iwate ski trip, you may choose to base yourself in one or two sub-regions of Iwate.

Hachimantai

Appi Kogen is the most well known of the Iwate ski resorts, with incredibly well developed facilities. It is family friendly and has English group snowsports lessons. Appi Kogen accommodation includes a fancy hotel and economical pensions about a kilometre from the ski area. The ski area is reasonably sized by Japanese standards. For powder hounds, there is a little bit of tree skiing in-bounds and some lovely sidecountry. Appi is 14km from the town of Hachimantai.

Appi Kogen Accommodation Listings

Hachimantai Shimokura Resort is a small ski resort that has a little bit of pitch and some easy to find trees. Hachimantai Resort is 14km from town and 20km from Appi. Adjacent is the other Hachimantai ski resort, Panorama.

Shizukuishi
Another place to base yourself is in or near the town of Shizukuishi, which is south of Hachimantai.

The Shizukuishi Ski Resort is the largest in the area and offers some good piste riding, nice tree skiing in-bounds (for those who can be discrete), and absolutely fabulous northeast facing sidecountry trees. The Shizukuishi ski area is 12km northwest of the town of Shizukuishi.

Shizukuishi Resort Accommodation Listings
Shizukuishi Town Accommodation Listings

Amihari Onsen Ski Resort is a reasonably small ski resort, but it’s a great for easy to find tree skiing. Adjacent to Amihari is a massive backcountry bowl (and Mt Iwate further afield) which has some gnarly lines for those with well honed backcountry skills. Amihari Onsen is 15km north of Shizukuishi ski resort and 21km north of town.

Amihari Onsen Accommodation Listings
Iwateyama Pensions

Next door (3km by road) is the small Iwate Kogen Ski Resort, which has some easily sourced mellow trees as well as steep trees that require some clever route finding to stay out of the deep gullies. Iwate Kogen has a very sunny aspect, so it’s ideal for storm riding or powder days when the temperatures are cold.

Tazawako is located in the Akita Prefecture but can be accessed from Shizukuishi (about 45 min drive from town). Tazawako can receive massive weather which can be a huge plus or a bit of a curse.

Tazawako Accommodation Listings

Geto Kogen
Geto Kogen is a little further south than the main Iwate ski resorts (84km south of Shizukuishi town), so it requires more commitment to get there. This is a favourite ski area of the Powderhounds as Geto is renowned for big dumps of snow and excellent tree skiing.

Geto Kogen Accommodation Listings

Morioka
The city of Morioka is another option to utilise as a base. The daily commute to the ski areas can be a little further, but it provides the advantage of being a vibrant city with easy access to lots of restaurants.

Morioka Hotel Listings

Approximate road distances from Morioka:

Tours That Include Iwate

Safari (Road Trip) Tours
Frontier Explorer DETAILS
GUIDED SAFARI - NORTHERN HONSHU
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Ski Areas + Cat Skiing
From price based on twin-share room occupancy.
Base/invoice currency is in yen not including consumption tax.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,610
Book before Aug 31 2018 to get 20,000 yen off the advertised price.
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Trying to get away from the crowds & the tracked out snow? Away from the masses you will experience Japanese culture, food & unlimited powder on this Tohoku tour. Chase the best snow on the day in the far northern parts of Honshu.
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Powder Odyssey DETAILS
GUIDED SAFARI - TOHOKU
7 Nights | 6 Days Guided Skiing
From price based on twin/double-share option.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 1,862
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
If you are looking to go off-the-beaten track in Tohoku (northeastern Honshu) where there are abundant lines of fresh powder and no foreigners, this tour is perfect! Visit Tohoku ski areas you've probably never heard of before and immerse yourself in the Japanese culture.
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Tohoku Powder Tour DETAILS
OFF THE BEATEN TRACK ROAD TRIP
10 Nights | 8 Days Skiing/Riding
From price based on twin/double-share mixed-group tour.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 3,599
Deposit must be paid by end of promotion date to qualify for appropriate discount
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Tohoku skiing and snowboarding is all about heading to ski resorts that most people have never heard of, where there are freshies galore in the off-piste areas. Head to Geto Kogen, ski areas near Morioka, and the mighty Hakkoda.
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit IWATE Prefecture here
Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours
Iwate Guided Day Trips DETAILS
IWATE GUIDED SKI & SNOWBOARDING DAY TRIPS
PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY | Max group of 6 per guide
Price is per person based on a group of 6 (full price is 6 x this rate).
Base/invoice currency is Japanese Yen
*Displayed price may vary slightly due to currency fluctuations
Price p/p
USD 82
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
If you are heading to the Iwate region these PRIVATE GROUP guided day tours are a must! In-resort powder hunting, lift-access sidecountry & backcountry touring are all options. Resorts include Shizukuishi, Getto Kogen, Tazawako, Hachimantai Shimokura & Panorama, Amihari, Iwate Snow Park & Appi Kogen.
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit IWATE Prefecture here
Backcountry Skiing Tours
Shizukuishi Cat Powder Adventure DETAILS
SHIZUKUISHI CAT + BACKCOUNTRY DAY TRIP
PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY up to 6 guests
Price is per person based on 6 in group
Base/invoice currency is Japanese Yen
*Displayed price may vary slightly due to currency fluctuations
Price p/p
USD 262
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
This fantastic PRIVATE GROUP day-tour includes 4 epic cat skiing runs at a disused ski area plus up to 3 adventurous powder runs in the backcountry of Shizukuishi ski resort. Grab up to 5 other friends & enjoy what is sure to be one of the most memorable days you will have skiing in Japan.
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See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit IWATE Prefecture here