Skiing in IWATE Prefecture

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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
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

Skiing in IWATE Prefecture

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IWATE Prefecture

IWATE Prefecture3.5/51
IWATE Prefecture3.5 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
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Skiing in Iwate

The Iwate Prefecture in Tohoku (the northern part of the island of Honshu) sits to the south of the Aomori Prefecture, to the east of the Akita Prefecture, and to the north of the Miyagi Prefecture. The Iwate Prefecture 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: Pros and Cons

The pros and cons apply to most Iwate ski resorts (with the exception of Appi 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 you'll be very thankful for google translate.
  • A 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 is the most well known of the Iwate ski resorts, with incredibly well developed facilities. It is family friendly and has English private 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 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, which is ideal for beginners. Nearby is snowcat skiing with Hachimantai Cat.

Just a little north of Hachimantai you'll find the little Okunakayama Kogen Ski Resort and very little competition for the powder.

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: Further out east is the small mellow ski area of Hiraniwa Kogen
Tours That Include Iwate

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

Tohoku Storm Chaser
GUIDED SAFARI - NORTHERN HONSHU
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 Share
Price p/p
USD 3,514
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 Early bird pricing - take off 30,000 yen - book before Aug 31
Tohoku Indy Trip
HOSTED (UNGUIDED) SAFARI - TOHOKU
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. Share
Price p/p Price per person in Japanese yen based on 8 night tour for 2025, early bird
USD 2,042
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 Early bird rates in effect until Aug 31
Northern Powder Odyssey
GUIDED SAFARI - NORTHERN TOHOKU
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 2025 season.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,633
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit IWATE Prefecture here

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Morioka Freeride Tour
GUIDED FREERIDE TOUR
7 Days | 6 Nights | 5 Days Riding
Ability: 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 Price per person for 2025 group tour
USD 2,790
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Central Iwate looking at Amihari & Iwate Kogen from Shizukuishi
TOHOKU GUIDED TOURS
PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
These PRIVATE guided trips will maximise your Northern Tohoku powder experience. Minimum 3 nights/3 days guiding. Options of cat skiing, 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 1,290
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit IWATE Prefecture here

Backcountry Skiing Tours

Tohoku Backcountry Tour
LIFTS + TOURING BACKCOUNTRY
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 2025.
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese yen inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 3,808
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See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit IWATE Prefecture here

Cat Skiing Tours

Hachimantai Cat Ski Trips
CAT SKIING SKIING - UPGRADE
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Advanced
You can score yourself some Hachipow with a day or more of Hachimantai cat skiing added onto your private guided trip in the Iwate region. PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY
Price p/p
Enquire Enquire
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Shizukuishi Cat Skiing Guided
SHIZUKUISHI CAT
PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Cat skiing from the disused area of Shizukuishi Resort is ideal to do with an international guide so that you can be guided to the powdery tree zones. Snowcat skiing can be added to a private multi-day guided trip of the Iwate area
Price p/p
Enquire Enquire
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See all Cat Skiing tours that visit IWATE Prefecture here
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