Shizukuishi Ski Resort
The Shizukuishi Ski Resort in Iwate Japan is owned by the Prince Hotel group, and during the bubble era it was known as the flagship destination of the Prince dynasty. Perhaps the flag is now just flying at half mast because the resort is starting to show its age a little, despite Shizukuishi marketing itself as “pristine grandeur”. Some parts of the ski area have closed down, a major lift no longer runs, and other signs of financial constraints are creeping in.
However Japanese ski resorts that are shiny and glitzy don’t necessarily equate to fantastic, and one possible allure of Shizukuishi for westerners is the lack of other gaijin. At Shizukuishi, you’ll definitely know you’re not at Niseko
, but a real Japanese ski resort.
One good sign that Shizukuishi is a genuine Japanese resort is the proliferation of Hello Kitty. Hello Kitty makes guest appearances at the resort, there are Hello Kitty ice sculptures, and there’s even a Hello Kitty Snow Land just a few minutes away – only in Japan…..!
Where is Shizukuishi?
Shizukuishi ski resort is located in northern Honshu in the prefecture of Iwate, 560km north of Tokyo. The Shizukuishi Resort is situated just north of the town of Shizukuishi and about 13km from the Akita Shinkansen’s Shizukuishi Station, and 28km northwest of the city of Morioka (a drive of about 35-45 minutes). From Tokyo, train travel is the easiest way to get there (see Hyperdia
for routes and timetables) and from the train station, the Prince Hotel provides free shuttles to the resort.
There are various other ski resorts around Morioka and the flanks of the massive Mount Iwate. Nearby ski resorts include Appi Kogen
, and Geto Kogen
, but these are not easily interconnected via a public transport network, so you’ll need your own wheels or private transport to get around. A great way to explore the powder gems in this area is on a multi-resort tour (see below).
Shizukuishi Prince Hotel
There’s no village at Shizukuishi, with the Prince Hotel
acting as the centrepiece of the base area. The Shizukuishi Prince Hotel
is perfectly ski-in ski-out and provides western style accommodation. The hotel has a couple of restaurants, a ski and snowboard rental outlet, and a 3Ss retail shop - snacks, souvenirs and sake (OK they have beer too!).
One of the highlights of the hotel is the Takakura Onsen, a hot spring that has been recognised as an onsen heritage site. The outdoor undercover onsen is particularly beautiful, surrounded by snow-covered rocks, little waterfalls and a large pond that has oversized goldfish that you can peer at.
See all available Shizukuishi accommodation options here >>
||Shizukuishi Prince Hotel (3 Star)
|Ski-in/out western-style hotel rooms for 1- 2 guests. The hotel has a lovely indoor & outdoor hot springs and a couple of restaurant options. Free wifi, massage services and Karoake are available in the hotel.
Facilities & Services
In addition to ski and snowboard rentals, other ski resort amenities include on-mountain restaurants and ski and snowboard lessons. For English speaking guests, lessons are only conducted in a private format.
Single run cat skiing operates on some days on Mt Ko-Takakura.
Summary of Pros and Cons
- Shizukuishi has the convenience of a fully ski-in ski-out hotel.
- The Takakura Onsen is beautiful.
- The Skizukuishi ski resort is great for intermediate riders.
- Some of the side-country terrain is super fun.
- The resort is not westernised, yet it caters somewhat for English speaking guests. A few staff speak English and there are lots of signs in English.
- The area offers dramatic views of Mt Iwate.
- Shizukuishi doesn’t receive as much snowfall as many other Japanese ski resorts, although the powder is generally of very good quality.
- Shizukuishi is not a very steep mountain, which can play out for powder hounds if the snow is a little heavy. There’s pitchier terrain above the lifts if you’re prepared to hike to the peak.
- Despite the presence of Hello Kitty (!), the resort doesn’t cater particularly well for western children.
Pro or Con Depending on Your Perspective
- Off-piste skiing is frowned upon but it is possible. The advantage of the prohibition on tree skiing is that combined with only minimal gaijin visiting, there are abundant freshies.
- For powder hounds, Shizukuishi probably only has enough variety on offer for one to two days, but there are other ski resorts nearby that also act as powder skiing playgrounds. Shizukuishi is a ski resort that might be visited as part of a multi-resort tour.
Tours That May Include Shizukuishi