Hachimantai3.5 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%
Our Terrain Ratings
 Beginner  
 Intermediate  
 Adv. on-piste
 
 Off-piste  
 Slackcountry not rated 
 Expert  
 Extreme
 
 Tree skiing
 
 Powder  
 Freshies  
 Uncrowded  
 Lifts  
 Terrain park
 
 Powderhound  

powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded


Hachimantai Ski Resort Japan
Hachimantai Ski Resort Japan
The Hachimantai snow is of good quality generally
The Hachimantai snow is of good quality generally
The Shimokura side has one beginner run at the base
The Shimokura side has one beginner run at the base
The base facilities on the Shimokura side of Hachimantai Resort
The base facilities on the Shimokura side of Hachimantai Resort
The trees offers plenty of fun
The trees offers plenty of fun
Off-piste is officially not permitted
Off-piste is officially not permitted
Hachimantai is one resort visited on the Powder Odyssey Tour
Hachimantai is one resort visited on the Powder Odyssey Tour
There are lots of freshies
There are lots of freshies
This was the busiest we saw the ski resort
This was the busiest we saw the ski resort
Hachimantai Ski Resort has 3 chair lifts at Shimokura
Hachimantai Ski Resort has 3 chair lifts at Shimokura
The "Canadian" cafeteria
The
More fun in the trees
More fun in the trees
Hachimantai Japan
Hachimantai Japan
This piste run was deserted
This piste run was deserted
Hachimantai is located in the Iwate Prefecture
Hachimantai is located in the Iwate Prefecture
Some of the off-piste runs are short but sweet
Some of the off-piste runs are short but sweet
Hachimantai Resort
Hachimantai Resort

Hachimantai

Hachimantai Ski Resort consists of two ski areas that share a common lift ticket. Hachimantai Resort Panorama and Hachimantai Resort Shimokura are not interconnected via the slopes, but are linked via a 5-minute free shuttle bus service.

For powder hounds, Hachimantai Shimokura is worthy of hitting up for a day of fresh powder lines, as an adjunct to visiting the various other ski areas around Morioka.

Hachimantai Ski Resort - Shimokura

The Hachimantai Shimokura Ski Resort is rather small with only 7 courses (marked trails), 550 metres of vertical, and 3 lifts; 1 triple chair and 2 double chairs. All 3 chair lifts are fixed grip but they run at a decent pace.

Despite the trail stats being 30% beginner, 40% intermediate and 30% advanced, and the bottom lift servicing a green run, intermediate and advanced riders largely frequent this ski resort. One black run off the top lift, the Wall of Shimokura, has a maximum gradient of 37 degrees (for a nano-second!) and due to low skier traffic it moguls up slowly.

Like most Japanese ski resorts, advanced riders will want to play in the trees, and like most non-westernised Honshu ski resorts, it’s not (officially) permitted. It’s easy enough to discretely ride the short off-piste tree runs on the skiers’ left of the lifts. The trees are reasonably widely spaced and there are lots of pillows, tree forks, and other natural features to hit or leap off. The best off-piste & side-country terrain is to the skiers’ right of the lifts, but it’s rather difficult to get to it in a clandestine manner without being noticed by a whistle blowing party pooper.

On weekdays you might only have to share the ski resort with a handful of army dudes, and generally you don’t have to share the off-piste with anyone except your powder buddies.

Hachimantai Panorama Ski Resort

The Panorama side of the Hachimantai Resort is slightly bigger with 14 courses, 590 metres of vertical and 4 lifts, including a high speed quad chair lift. Even though the trail stats indicate a spread of terrain for different ability levels (40% beginner, 40% intermediate and 20% advanced), the terrain is very gentle and is best suited to beginners and low-end intermediates. The red and black rated runs are best described as beginner and gentle intermediate runs at best. As an indication, the steepest point of the “steepest” run is only 20 degrees.

Hachimantai Snow

Many of the Japanese ski resorts don’t get too excited about maintaining accurate snowfall stats to aid with marketing BS, and the Hachimantai ski resort would be no exception. The resort possibly gets around 7 metres of snow on average per season, and importantly the quality of it is usually excellent. Many of the Iwate ski resorts are renowned for the amazing powder which they call “aspirin snow”, which is nearly as silly as describing powder as “champagne” (which is yellow!). And to make the aspirin even better, the resort is largely north facing so the powder generally stays in super-aspirin condition! And wait there’s more…. pretty much no one skis in the trees so the powder is highly likely to be untracked and bottomless.

Where is Hachimantai Ski Resort?

The base areas of the two parts of Hachimantai Resort are 3km apart by road. The Hachimantai Resort sits on the flanks of the imposing Mt Iwate (which shows off on fine days), and the Hachimantai Resort Shimokura Ski Area is 15km west of the town of Hachimantai in the Iwate Prefecture. Hachimantai Resort is 47km northwest of the city of Morioka and the Morioka Shinkansen station (which is 544km north of Tokyo).

It’s possible to get there from Tokyo by catching the Tohoku Shinkansen (bullet train) to Morioka which only takes 130-180 minutes. From Morioka station, there are buses to Hachimantai Onsenkyo, but the public transport systems are not really adequate to travel around the area. Having a car is the best way to get to the resort and your accommodation and to explore the various ski resorts in the region. Otherwise going on a multi-resort tour (see below or email us for advice) which includes transport, is a fabulous way to get the most out of the Iwate ski resorts.

Nearby Ski Resorts

There are various other ski resorts near Morioka on the flanks of the Mount Iwate volcano. Some are destination resorts (e.g. Appi Kogen) whilst others are best suited to a one day powder fix. The weather around the region can be very fickle and the big snow storms are usually accompanied by big winds, but considering that Mt Iwate is a big bertha, the weather can vary from one resort to another (Hachimantai ski resort is probably a good place to visit on windy days versus Appi Kogen which is more exposed). One of the advantages of being on the Powder Odyssey Tour is that the guides can assist in chasing the pow at the resort with the best conditions.

Appi Kogen is 26km by road to the north of Hachimantai Ski Resort, whilst Shizukuishi is south of Hachimantai on a 57km road that travels around Mt Iwate. Geto Kogen is also in the region.

Hachimantai Hotels

There is no on-mountain accommodation but there are various Hachimantai hotels nearby or you can stay at Appi Kogen accommodation or the flagship Shizukuishi Prince Hotel.

Hachimantai Hotel Listings

Ski Resort Facilities

The Shimokura ski resort has one building at the base that houses the amenities for skiers and snowboarders. These include basic ski and snowboard rentals, a simple retail shop, lockers, and a little café that sells Canadian style cinnamon buns – the aroma lures you in! They have a “Canadian” cafeteria and bakery upstairs and you could be forgiven for thinking they might sell poutine or other typical Canadian ski resort food. Alas they just trick you – the fare is definitely Japanese.

The Panorama ski area has reasonably good ski resort facilities and also offers family friendly activities such as tobogganing, snow tubing, banana boating and snowmobiling.

Summary of Pros and Cons of Hachimantai Japan

Pros

  • The Hachimantai snow quality is often divine.
  • The Hachimantai ski resort is well and truly off the beaten path of Japanese ski resorts that foreigners usually visit, so cultural experiences are high on the agenda, and there are only trifling gaijin to steal your fresh powder.
  • The ski resort is generally uninhabited, especially on weekdays, and the few locals and army dudes aren’t likely to head into the trees.
  • Hachimantai Shimokura probably only has enough terrain for one day, yet there are various other ski resorts near Morioka that have plentiful offerings for powder hounds.
  • The region has lots of great onsens for a soak after a big day of pow.

Cons

  • The terrain size at both ski areas is rather small and with the exception of beginners, it’s really only good for a one hour visit if you stay on-piste or one day if you head off-piste at Shimokura.
  • If the patrollers (the powder police) are guarding the terrain off the top lift to the skiers’ right, it limits the off-piste terrain even further.
  • It’s unlikely that many foreigners (with the exception of Misawa air base folks) would visit the mellow Panorama ski area for beginners. Hachimantai doesn’t cater well for your average English-speaking beginner.
  • There are no ski-in ski-out accommodation options, day spas, or shops selling bling bling gear (if that’s your thing!).

Tours That May Include Hachimantai

Safari (Road Trip) Tours
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 1,649
Ability: Strong Intermediate, Advanced, 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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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 2,168
Book and pay deposit prior to COB August 30 2016 and get 10% off the advertised price.
Ability: Strong Intermediate, Advanced, Expert
If you are looking for an adventure away from the masses where you will experience Japanese culture, food & unlimited powder then this tour could be the one you are looking for. Chase the best snow on the day in the far northern parts of Honshu.
More
Hokkaido - Honshu Expedition DETAILS
HOKKAIDO & HONSHU GUIDED BC TOUR
12 Nights | 11 Guided Ski Days
From price based on twin/triple-share.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 3,817
10% off advertised price. Must book via Powderhounds.com booking form by midnight Oct 11, 2016 to qualify. Payment of deposit required by Oct 20, 2016 to retain discounted rate.
Ability: Advanced, Expert
This ADVANCED+ ski and snowboard tour starts with 4 days in the Southwest of Hokkaido and then heads south to Honshu where you will ski or ride some of Tohoku's epic hidden gems. The tour includes some ski touring / split boarding (or snow shoeing) but you don't necessarily need to have any experience in this area.
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Hachimantai here

Ski Tours
Ski Lodging & Accommodations