Iwate Kogen3.5 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%
Wagner Custome Skis

Iwate Kogen Snow Park
Iwate Kogen Snow Park
Nice tree skiing at Iwate Kogen
Nice tree skiing at Iwate Kogen
The only crowds are at the base
The only crowds are at the base
Well developed base facilities
Well developed base facilities
Some of the equipment rentals are antiquated
Some of the equipment rentals are antiquated
The cafeteria food is inexpensive
The cafeteria food is inexpensive
The Iwate Kogen gondola
The Iwate Kogen gondola
Iwate Kogen Japan
Iwate Kogen Japan
Off-piste skiing is officially not permitted
Off-piste skiing is officially not permitted
The beginners' lift at Iwate Kogen
The beginners' lift at Iwate Kogen
A range of tree skiing
A range of tree skiing
Tree Skiing Iwate Kogen Ski Resort
Tree Skiing Iwate Kogen Ski Resort
Nice retro outfit!
Nice retro outfit!
Another nice retro outfit!
Another nice retro outfit!
Iwate Kogen Ski Resort Japan
Iwate Kogen Ski Resort Japan
Mellow sidecountry trees
Mellow sidecountry trees
Long groomers
Long groomers
Iwate Kogen Ski Resort
Iwate Kogen Ski Resort
Powder Skiing Iwate Kogen
Powder Skiing Iwate Kogen
Iwate Kogen Snow Park
Iwate Kogen Snow Park

Iwate Kogen

Iwate Kogen Ski Resort is another one of those little Tohoku ski resorts that is worth visiting for a day as part of a DIY road trip of the Iwate Prefecture or a guided tour. Westerners are few and far between at the Iwate Kogen Snow Park, and off the slopes you’ll experience the real Japan.

Summary of Pros and Cons of Iwate Kogen

Pros
  • Iwate Kogen Japan has a range of good trees, the fall line is more consistent and there are steeper pitches than at neighbouring Amihari Onsen.
  • Rivalry for fresh lines is pretty much non-existent.
  • It’s cheap to ski/snowboard, stay and soak.
Cons
  • It’s not a big ski area.
  • All three of the Shizukuishi ski areas (Shizukuishi Resort, Amihari, Iwate Kogen) are situated on the southern side of Mt Iwate which is not perfect for snow quality. Of the three ski resorts, Iwate Kogen has the least favourable aspect and relies on cold temperatures to keep the snow nice.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • You’ll need to have a car to get to Iwate Kogen and your accommodation, go out for dinner (if you’re not dining at your hotel or pension), and travel to neighbouring ski resorts.
  • The region is pretty quiet at night.
  • The area is not really well geared up for English speaking guests, but the lack of international tourists is a major part of its appeal.

Iwate Kogen Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Like a lot of its nearby contemporaries, Iwate Kogen is a pretty small ski resort that will only entertain you for a day or two. Iwate Kogen Ski Resort has 6 lifts and 10 courses spread across a vertical drop of 583 metres (630-1,213m).

The trail statistics are 30% beginner, 40% intermediate, and 30% advanced, but like a lot of these little Tohoku ski areas, Iwate Kogen is ideally suited to powder hounds and not those that want to ski or snowboard the piste so we probably don’t care about the stats.

Iwate Kogen has some “low-hanging-fruit” trees in-bounds that can be easily scoped from the chair lifts, and there are also some super steep slopes that are a bit harder to recon without ending up in a no-mans-land gully. Sidecountry to the immediate skiers’ right has mellow trees, or if you go further skiers’ right you’ll find the big backcountry bowl between Amihari Onsen and Iwate Kogen. Your nose should help you find it because the bowl is littered with stinky fumaroles!

Lifts

Iwate Kogen has 6 lifts made up of 5 fixed grip double chair lifts that run at an OK speed, and a gondola. The gondie runs the full length of the ski area, although if it goes on wind hold, it is possible to ride the whole mountain via the chair lifts. The gondola even accommodates fat skis and snowboards in the racks, which is quite progressive for a Japanese ski resort, and nice so that you don’t have to wrestle yourself and your gear inside the cabin along with an equipment condom.

Iwate Kogen Snow

Like a lot of Japanese ski resorts, the snowfall statistic is unknown because Iwate Kogen doesn’t see the need to measure it or boast about it. The snow is best ridden when fresh or when it hasn’t warmed up, due to its mostly south facing orientation. The snow on the open piste can become pretty snotty, whilst as to be expected, the snow in amongst the trees is a little more protected from the sun, particularly on the skier’s right aspect.

Where is Iwate Kogen Snow Park?

Iwate Kogen (ie Iwate Highlands) is located in Shizukuishi, about 17km from the actual town of Shizukuishi and a 12km drive from the Shizukuishi Ski Resort. The Amihari Onsen Ski Resort is next door to Iwate Kogen Snow Park (3km by road).

The ski area is located on the southern flanks of the imposing Mt Iwate in the NW of the Iwate Prefecture of Tohoku. The telephone number for GPS navigation to drive there is 019-693-4000.

Iwate Kogen Accommodation

There is no accommodation on-mountain at Iwate Kogen, but there is the Iwateyama Pension Village just 2km down the road where you’ll find inexpensive and friendly lodgings such as Pension Sanrinsha. Or alternatively you could stay at the base of the Amihari Ski Resort at the Amihari Onsen Hotel or at the ski-in ski-out Shizukuishi Prince Hotel at Shizukuishi Resort.

Iwate Prefecture Accommodation Listings 

Facilities

The base facilities at the Iwate Kogen Snow Park cover the usual suspects: a cafeteria; small retail shop; equipment rentals (including lots of retro rear entry ski boots!); snowsports school (no lessons in English); kids play room; and lockers. There is a snowpark just in front of the day lodge with slides and other kids’ play equipment.

Evening Activities

As to be expected for a rural area that hasn't been taken over by the westerners, the nightlife is close to non-existent. You can have dinner at your hotel or pension, otherwise you’ll need to drive your car in search of a feed. There is a pizza and steak restaurant not far away at Genbu Onsen, or you can drive into Shizukuishi town and eat all the meat your stomach desires at one of the many yakiniku BBQ restaurants.

Tours That May Include Iwate Kogen

Safari (Road Trip) Tours
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 2,552
Book before Aug 31 2018 to get 20,000 yen off the advertised price.
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Trying to get away from the crowds & the tracked out snow? Away from the masses you will experience Japanese culture, food & unlimited powder on this Tohoku tour. Chase the best snow on the day in the far northern parts of Honshu.
More
Iwate Package DETAILS
AMIHARI + SHIZUKUISHI + IWATE KOGEN
6 Nights Customisable
Sample price is based on 6 night package, twin-share room.
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese Yen
Price may vary slightly to actual due to exchange rate fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 1,152
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
This 6 night tour offers skiers & boarders the opportunity to access ski areas less frequented by westerners; Shizukuishi, Amihari & Iwate Kogen + optional cat skiing. Tours can be customised & start any day from mid December to March with a minimum of only 2 people required to run.
More
See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Iwate Kogen here
Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours
Iwate Guided Day Trips DETAILS
IWATE GUIDED SKI & SNOWBOARDING DAY TRIPS
PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY | Max group of 6 per guide
Price is per person based on a group of 6 (full price is 6 x this rate).
Base/invoice currency is Japanese Yen
*Displayed price may vary slightly due to currency fluctuations
Price p/p
USD 81
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
If you are heading to the Iwate region these PRIVATE GROUP guided day tours are a must! In-resort powder hunting, lift-access sidecountry & backcountry touring are all options. Resorts include Shizukuishi, Getto Kogen, Tazawako, Hachimantai Shimokura & Panorama, Amihari, Iwate Snow Park & Appi Kogen.
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Iwate Kogen here

Ski lodging & accommodations
Hosted Ski Tours & Multi-Resort Safaris