Oze Iwakura4 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%
Wagner Custome Skis
Japan Ski Tour Tohoku Area

Oze Iwakura blower powder
Oze Iwakura blower powder
White World Oze Iwakura
White World Oze Iwakura
Base area of Oze Iwakura
Base area of Oze Iwakura
Oze Iwakura Ski Resort has plenty of pitch
Oze Iwakura Ski Resort has plenty of pitch
Many of the aspects are rather sunny
Many of the aspects are rather sunny
A former part of the Oze Iwakura Ski Resort
A former part of the Oze Iwakura Ski Resort
Oze Iwakura village is a step back in time
Oze Iwakura village is a step back in time
Lots of mellow and steep trees
Lots of mellow and steep trees
Short skins open up lots of terrain
Short skins open up lots of terrain
No competition for powder in the trees
No competition for powder in the trees
Views across to Marunuma Kogen
Views across to Marunuma Kogen
Oze Iwakura Katashina
Oze Iwakura Katashina
A former piste
A former piste
Sidecountry at Oze Iwakura Gunma
Sidecountry at Oze Iwakura Gunma
Oze Iwakura Japan
Oze Iwakura Japan
Oze Iwakura is near Katashina village
Oze Iwakura is near Katashina village
Oze Iwakura Gunma
Oze Iwakura Gunma
Negligible ropes on the side of the runs
Negligible ropes on the side of the runs
Lovely snow quality
Lovely snow quality
A former part of the ski resort
A former part of the ski resort

Oze Iwakura

White World Oze Iwakura

The White World Oze Iwakura Ski Resort near Katashina in Gunma Prefecture is a little gem for powder hounds, with fun and easily accessed off-piste terrain that isn’t shy when it comes to pitch. Oze Iwakura hasn’t been discovered by the overseas masses yet, so there’s little competition for the powder that’s often sublimely dry.

Summary of Pros and Cons of Oze Iwakura

Pros
  • Midweek crowds are non-existent and there are generally plenty of freshies on offer, even on the weekends, because the Japanese visitors just ride on-piste.
  • The terrain lay-out is ideal to allow an abundance of off-piste powder lines with easy exits back to the lifts.
  • Whilst not super steep, Oze is certainly not a flat hill so there are adequate challenges for advanced and expert riders.
  • Oze Iwakura is also very well geared to intermediate skiers and snowboarders who like to carve plenty of turns in a row.
Cons
  • This is not the best spot for park riders.
  • There are much better places to head if you’re on a Japan family ski holiday. 
  • There’s little to do in Katashina besides chasing powder or onsen soaking.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • Oze Iwakura is a delightful spot to get away from the Nagano gaijin hordes, but don’t expect too much English to be spoken.
  • It’s somewhat difficult to get there (unless you have a car) compared to many other Honshu ski resorts, but that equates to more freshies for you and I!
  • The Katashina ski resorts don’t receive the same massive snow dumps as the Niigata and Nagano ski resorts, but being further inland, the snow is delightfully dry and Oze Iwakura has good elevation.

Oze Iwakura Ski and Snowboard Terrain

White World Oze Iwakura is the biggest Katashina ski resort, but don’t have expectations of something similar sized to Shiga Kogen because it isn’t really that large. Oze Iwakura Ski Resort has 16 courses, 10 lifts (including a gondola), and 697 metres of vertical (1,006-1,703m).

Beginners only have a couple of runs near the base, whilst intermediates have several courses to choose from. For advanced riders, there are a few ungroomed runs that are typically covered in moguls, including one that hits a pitch of 40 degrees.

The real attraction for advanced and expert skiers and snowboarders is the off-piste and sidecountry skiing in amongst the pine and white birch trees. Some of it is steep and tasty, it’s a no-brainer to find, and generally the egress is super easy due to the bowl layout of the ski area. Ski patrol typically doesn’t get too antsy, but of course it depends on who you see (or who sees you!) on the day.

Where is White World Oze Iwakura?

The Oze Iwakura Ski Resort is situated between Mt Hotaka and the Oze National Park, in the north east corner of Gunma Prefecture. White World Oze Iwakura is 7km north of Katashina and 41km northeast of Minakami. There are various other Katashina ski resorts, including Katashina Kogen next door (but they’re not interconnected).

It’s easiest to get to the ski resort via car, and it’s about one hour drive from the nearest highway interchange depending on traffic.

Accommodation

Iwakura Resort Hotel is the main accommodation at White World Oze Iwakura, located right at the base of the ski area. The hotel has western rooms, Japanese style rooms, or combo rooms, as well as a café lounge, restaurant and onsen.

There is also a bit of a ski-in village at Oze Iwakura that looks like it’s stuck in a time warp, with some dinky hotels and pensions providing very simple lodging, or there are other accommodation options just down the road. Mizubasho no Yado Higashi is a cute little ryokan located about 7 minutes drive from the ski resort. The ryokan has traditional Japanese style rooms with futons on tatami flooring, and onsen baths including a rotenburo.

Katashina Hotel Listings

Ski Resort Facilities

The ski resort has well developed facilities and services. There are a few dining options that cope well with the weekend crowds, a rental shop with equipment and clothing, a basic retail shop, and an onsen in the Iwakura Resort Hotel which is open to non-guests (you can purchase a lift and onsen combo pass).

Oze Iwakura is very child friendly and has a kids’ park and a creche, but it’s not particularly geared to foreigners. For example, there are no ski or snowboard lessons in English.

Evening Dining

As is commonplace with the non-westernised ski areas, the Japanese visitors tend to have an onsen and then dinner at their hotel or ryokan, so there isn’t much of a market for evening restaurants in Katashina. There are only about 8 Katashina restaurants open for dinner, and don’t expect English menus or English to be spoken, so you’ll know you’ve found the real Japan.