Appi Ski Resort

Appi Ski Resort

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Appi 3.5/511
Appi 3.5 out of 5 based on 11 reviews
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Appi Ski Resort Japan

The Appi Ski Resort Japan was developed in the early 1980s in the peak of the economic boom, and is a fairly quintessential Japanese bubble era ski resort. APPI is a very snappy resort that caters very well to discerning skiers and snowboarders who don’t mind paying more for a quality experience. You know it’s fancy when the name is in capital letters! APPI is the largest ski resort in Tohoku, has some decent lifts, a luxury hotel and a deluxe hotel that are ski-in ski-out, quality dining experiences and other bells and whistles.

If you don’t need all the trimmings, Appi is also good for powder hounds who are just there to chase the powder skiing and riding. Despite it being a high profile resort, the number of powder chasers is reasonably low at APPI which should keep you happy. 

Pros and Cons of Appi Kogen

  • Appi is a good destination ski resort with decent services and facilities, and a good range of restaurants and food.
  • The quality of the Appi snow tends to be very good to excellent and some of the deep powder skiing may make you a very appi chappy!
  • The groomed slopes are very good.
  • The Appi Resort has a very relaxed approach to off-piste and sidecountry skiing, and they continue to glade to improve the experience.
  • The lift system copes reasonably well with windy conditions, so the lifts don’t go on wind hold that often relative to some other major Japanese ski areas.
  • The ski-in ski-out Intercontinental Appi Kogen Resort and ANA Crowne Plaza Resort provide the ultimate in convenience.
  • In addition to an indoor onsen, there is a lovely outdoor onsen complex at APPI.
  • Group snowsports lessons in English are available for children and adults in the main part of the season.
  • Kids 0-12 ski for free (2023-24 season).
  • The nightlife is very limited with is also the case with most other Japanese ski resorts unless they’re westernised.
  • Appi Kogen takes a little more effort to get to compared with some of the mainstream Nagano ski resorts.
Pro or Con Depending on Your Perspective
  • The Nishimori lift was retired in 2023, which previously provided access to primo sidecountry. It’s been replaced by a snowcat service, which attracts an extra charge of 3,000 yen per run on weekdays, whilst on weekends it is only for those with the uber expensive Black Pass.
  • The limited release Black Pass offers exclusivity and perks such as Nishimori snowcat access on weekends and holidays, and an hour of first tracks off the gondola. Those who can’t afford it will have to work a little harder for freshies on the weekend.
  • You need a generous budget to stay and dine at the Appi hotels, yet there are affordable accommodation options in the Appi pension village.
  • Appi Kogen is becoming more international and popular with the Chinese, so the Japanese flavour isn’t as pronounced as it used to be. The upside is that English is spoken across many parts of the Appi Kogen Ski Resort.

Appi Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The Appi Kogen Ski Resort is below the tree line and medium sized for a Japanese ski resort. It has 19 courses and about 600 metres of vertical. The snowcat accessed terrain adds another 2 courses and a little more vertical.

Appi is well renowned for fall line skiing which is perfect for some major schussing at Mach 1, and the grooming is another highlight of the Appi Ski Resort.

At first glance you’d think that powder skiing is not Appi’s forte, but on further inspection, hidden behind the façade of the groomed runs is some fantastic powder riding. Quite a few runs are left ungroomed, there is plenty of tree skiing in-bounds, especially if you like technical trees. There is also some sidecountry, especially if you take the Nishimori snowcat shuttle.

Appi has retired lots of lifts and focussed on the key ones, although you often have to ski the full vertical of the hill rather than just the part that you most enjoy. Sometimes short lift queues develop on the weekends, but if you don’t want to wait, you can pay the extra yen to get priority access.

See the Appi Ski Resort page for more on the lifts and Appi skiing and snowboarding terrain.

Appi Kogen Snow

The Appi snow is all about quality and not necessarily about the quantity that you might find with some of the coastal Japanese ski resorts. The annual snowfall at Appi is thought to be about 8 metres of snow per season, but they measure the accumulation at the base, and they had a long history of measuring the snowfall after they’d squashed it down with the groomer.

The snow is often blower dry powder, and many of the slopes are north facing which is advantageous for the snow conditions.

Where is Appi Ski Resort Japan?

The ski resort is located at latitude 40 degrees north in the western part of the Iwate Prefecture of the Tohoku region of Japan, in the Hachimantai region. This is the northern part of the island of Honshu, about 580km north of Tokyo.

You can fly into Hanamaki Airport which receives flights from Shanghai and Taipai and then get a shuttle, or from Tokyo the easiest way to travel to Appi Kogen is via train and bus. The Tohoku Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo to Morioka takes about 2 to 2.5 hours, and there’s a shuttle bus that goes directly from Morioka Station to Appi.

If you have a car or are on a multi-resort tour, there are various other ski resorts in northern Tohoku for powder hounds.

Appi Accommodation

The golden tower of the ANA Crowne Plaza Resort is a major feature of the landscape at Appi Kogen. This striking hotel is only steps away from the slopes and offers a range of quality hotel accommodatioanipowden options as well as restaurants and extensive facilities.

The ANA Intercontinental Resort Appi Kogen is a new luxury hotel in a ski-in ski-out position that includes services such as a ski valet.

Other Appi Resort accommodation includes the Holiday Inn Resort, which provides a more casual form of hotel accommodation.

For the more budget oriented, Appi has a pension village about a kilometre away from the ski resort.

Appi Kogen Accommodation Listings

Appi is a resort in the conventional sense,Appi mostly provides a modern curated resort experience, as opposed to a town or village experience like you’d get at Nozawa Onsen or Zao Onsen. There are a few restaurants and a bar in the pension village, but most of the shops and other eateries are contained within the resort hotel buildings.
Tours That Include Appi

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

Tohoku Storm Chaser
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Ski Areas + Cat Skiing
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Get away from the crowds & the tracked out snow, and also experience Japanese culture, food & unlimited powder on this Tohoku tour. Chase the best snow on the day in the far northern parts of Honshu, using the lifts as well as touring gear at times
Price p/p
USD 2,765
View Details
Tohoku Indy Trip
8/10 Days | 7/9 Nights | 5/6 Ski Areas
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Venture away from the masses on this 8 or 10 day hosted (unguided) powder trip in northern Tohoku. The package includes all lift passes however if you have an Indy Pass the price is discounted. All accommodation, most meals & private ground transport are taken care of.
Price p/p
USD 1,907
View Details
Northern Powder Odyssey
7 Nights | 6 Days Guided Skiing
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Get off-the-beaten track in Northern Tohoku where there are abundant lines of fresh powder and negligible foreigners! Visit Northern Tohoku ski areas you've probably never heard of before and immerse yourself in the Japanese culture.
Price p/p From price based on twin/double-share option for 2024 season.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,364
View Details
See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Appi here

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Central Iwate looking at Amihari & Iwate Kogen from Shizukuishi
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
These PRIVATE guided trips will maximise your Northern Tohoku powder experience. Minimum 3 nights/3 days guiding. Options of in-resort powder hunting, lift-access sidecountry & backcountry touring options. Resorts include Shizukuishi, Geto Kogen, Tazawako, Ani, Hachimantai, Amihari & Appi.
Price p/p Rate per person for private group of 5 for 3 night 3 day trip
Base/invoice currency is Japanese Yen
*Displayed price may vary slightly due to currency fluctuations
USD 832
View Details
Morioka Freeride Tour
7 Days | 6 Nights | 5 Days Riding
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Advanced
Stay in the city of Morioka in Northern Tohoku & explore restaurants & bars by night. By day get guided to powder stashes at nearby ski areas within the off-piste and lift-accessed backcountry zones.
Price p/p
USD 2,150
View Details
See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Appi here

Backcountry Skiing Tours

Tohoku Backcountry Tour
8 Nights | 7 Days Skiing/Riding
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Head to Northern Tohoku on this lift accessed backcountry tour where you'll use the lifts as well as touring gear to score the best powder. This region provides an authentic Japanese cultural experience & lots of historic onsen.
Price p/p From price based on twin/double-share mixed-group tour for 2024.
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese yen inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 3,003
View Details
See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Appi here