Appi Ski Resort

Appi Ski Resort

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Appi 3.5/59
Appi 3.5 out of 5 based on 9 reviews
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Appi Ski Resort Japan

At Appi Kogen Ski Resort in Japan it’s a case of “Don’t Worry be Appi”! There’s no need to worry because Appi Kogen is the biggest ski resort in Tohoku and one of the better quality ski resorts in Japan. Appi Japan has been labelled the St Moritz or Aspen of Japan, but this is Japan so you should keep your expectations on the down-low!

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. The Appi Kogen Ski Resort features a tower hotel, a new luxury hotel and lots of well developed facilities and services. Appi Kogen caters very well to discerning skiers and boarders who are happy to pay a little more for a quality experience.

Pros and Cons of Appi Kogen

  • Appi is a very good destination ski resort with decent services and facilities and some good lift infrastructure (by Japan standards).
  • 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 range of restaurants and food is fabulous.
  • The ski-in ski-out Intercontinental Appi Kogen Resort and ANA Crowne Plaza Resort provide the ultimate in convenience and service.
  • English is spoken across many parts of the Appi Kogen Ski Resort.
  • The nightlife is very limited (as with most other Japanese ski resorts unless they’re westernised).
  • The Appi hotels have become expensive, but there are affordable accommodation options in the Appi pension village.
  • There are negligible options for self-contained accommodation (apartments, houses).
  • 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
  • Appi is a resort. There is no real town or village to stroll around like you’ll find at Nozawa Onsen or Niseko.
  • Off-piste and sidecountry skiing is now permitted within several designated tree skiing areas, although they still seem pretty anal about whether they’re deemed open or not. Now that off-piste skiing is not prohibited, one downside is that it’s a little harder to find freshies.
  • Fair weather and lots of snow don’t go hand in hand. The upside is that it snows a lot at Appi but the downside is that blizzard conditions are somewhat common.
  • Appi Kogen is not over-run with westerners, yet it’s Chinese owned and the resort hotels are frequented by lots of Chinese tour groups, so it’s lost its Japanese flavour.

Appi Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The Appi Kogen Ski Resort is below the tree line and has 21 slopes and 620 metres of vertical (it was 828m back when the Sailor gondola was operational). Appi is well renowned for fall line skiing – perfect for some major schussing at Mach 1.

The grooming is a highlight of the Appi Ski Resort. It’s obvious that the groomed runs are a strong point of the resort considering that they measure the amount of snow fall AFTER they’ve smoothed it down!

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. They leave quite a few runs ungroomed, and there are designated tree skiing areas.

In keeping with the upmarket status of the Appi Ski Resort, the lift system is reasonably well developed which includes 1 gondola (the other gondola is no longer operating) and 3 high speed hooded quad chairs, and there are also 11 dinky double chairs.

Appi Kogen Snow

Powder hounds will also be kept ‘appi because the resort does well in the snowfall stakes with an average of 8 metres of “aspirin powder” per season (after it’s squashed down!), 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. 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 a few 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 accommodation options as well as restaurants and extensive facilities.

Appi Resort has a new luxury hotel in a ski-in ski-out position, the ANA Intercontinental Resort Appi Kogen.

Other Appi Kogen 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

Culture and Language

Appi is a resort in the conventional sense, and it doesn’t have a village or town per se. Consequently Appi Kogen might be somewhat lacking in its ability to provide a traditional Japanese cultural experience (relative to places such as Nozawa Onsen or Zao Onsen). However, Appi Resort offers bus tours to nearby Hachimantai so that you can experience traditional Japanese culture.

Don’t worry if you don’t speak fluent Japanese. Appi caters really well to English speaking visitors with lots of English signage and English menus in the restaurants. They also have a fantastic English Service Centre with bilingual hosts who can assist with any queries before you arrive or during your stay. There are also Chinese speaking staff. At Appi you’re not likely to have many lost in translation moments!
Tours That Include Appi

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

Tohoku Storm Chaser
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Ski Areas + Cat Skiing
Ability: Strong Intermediate 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.
Price p/p
USD 2,805
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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 2023 season.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,204
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Tohoku Powder Tour
10 Nights | 8 Days Skiing/Riding
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Tohoku skiing & snowboarding is all about heading to ski resorts that most people have never heard of, where there are freshies galore in the off-piste areas. Head to Geto Kogen, ski areas near Morioka & the mighty Hakkoda.
Price p/p From price based on twin/double-share mixed-group tour for 2023.
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese yen inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 3,367
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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
If you are heading to the Iwate & Akita regions these PRIVATE guiding trips will maximise your Tohoku powder experience. Minimum 4 days. In-resort powder hunting, lift-access sidecountry & backcountry touring options. Resorts include Shizukuishi, Geto Kogen, Tazawako, Ani, Hachimantai, Amihari & Appi Kogen.
Price p/p Displayed based on 4 days per person if 3 in a group 1-3 People: ¥55,000JPY flat rate per day plus tax 4-5 People: ¥65,000JPY flat rate per day plus tax 4-6 People: ¥55,000JPY flat rate per day plus tax
Base/invoice currency is Japanese Yen
*Displayed price may vary slightly due to currency fluctuations
USD 543
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Appi here

Backcountry Skiing Tours

Shizukuishi Cat Powder Adventure
PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY up to 6 guests
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
This fantastic PRIVATE GROUP day-tour includes 3 epic cat skiing runs at a disused ski area plus up to 3 adventurous powder runs in the backcountry of Shizukuishi ski resort. Grab up to 5 other friends & enjoy what is sure to be one of the most memorable days you will have skiing in Japan.
Price p/p Price is per person based on 6 in group for 3 cat runs
Base/invoice currency is Japanese Yen
*Displayed price may vary slightly due to currency fluctuations
USD 157
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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 2023.
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese yen inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 3,034
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See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Appi here

Cat Skiing Tours

Hachimantai Cat Ski Trips
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Advanced
Score yourself some Hachipow with 1 day of Hachimantai cat skiing + 1 day of snowcat assisted backcountry. Add a couple of days on the snowcat to your Iwate itinerary or make it your main reason to head to the region.
Price p/p Price per person for 2 days skiing & 2 nights at Mountain Hotel twin-share accommodation. Base currency in Japanese yen.
USD 1,132
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See all Cat Skiing tours that visit Appi here