Appi Kogen Ski Resort

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Appi Kogen Ski Resort

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Appi

Appi 3.5/59
Appi 3.5 out of 5 based on 9 reviews
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    67%

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 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

Pros 
  • 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 Hotel Appi Grand provides the ultimate in convenience and service.
  • Appi is rather family friendly. Apart from the many beginner slopes, Appi has a child specific ski area, child care, snow play areas, and a few other kids’ activities.
  • English is spoken across many parts of the Appi Kogen Ski Resort.
Cons
  • The nightlife is very limited (as with most other Japanese ski resorts unless they’re westernised).
  • The Appi hotels have become very expensive, but there are affordable accommodation options in the Appi pension village.
  • There are negligible options for self-contained accommodation (apartment, house).
  • 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 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 828 metres of vertical (or 620m when the Sailor gondola is not operational). Appi Kogen is very proud of its long runs with many of the runs being longer than 2km, and the longest being 5.5km. These lengthy runs are well renowned for the fall line skiing they offer – 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 2 gondolas (or possibly just 1) 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

Whilst not as distinctive as the yellow Portillo Hotel (in Chile), the golden tower of the Hotel Appi Grand is a major feature of the landscape at Appi Kogen. This grandiose hotel is only steps away from the slopes and offers a range of quality hotel accommodation options as well as restaurants and extensive facilities.

Other Appi Kogen accommodation includes the Appi Hills Shirakabano-mori and Appi Kogen Onsen Hotel, which provide 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 Kogen 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, and the English concierge service at the Hotel Appi Grand is particularly impressive. 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
GUIDED SAFARI - NORTHERN HONSHU
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 From price based on twin-share room occupancy for 2021 season.
Base/invoice currency is in yen not including consumption tax.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Base/invoice currency is in yen not including consumption tax.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,903
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Tohoku Yuki
GUIDED ROAD TRIP NORTHERN TOHOKU
8 Nights | 7 Days Skiing | Up to 7 Ski Areas
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
This hosted & guided road trip travels to the northern reaches of Tohoku and includes off the beaten track powder areas such as Zao Onsen, Tazawako, Appi Kogen, Geto Kogen, Aomori Spring & Hakkoda.
Price p/p From price is per person based twin/-share for 2021 group tour
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese Yen inclusive of tax
*Display price may vary slightly due to fluctuation in exchange rates.
USD 3,358
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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 2021 season.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,183
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
TOHOKU SKI & SNOWBOARDING TRIPS
PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY
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 667
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Appi here

Backcountry Skiing Tours

Shizukuishi Cat Powder Adventure
SHIZUKUISHI CAT + BACKCOUNTRY DAY TRIP
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 193
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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 2022.
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese yen inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 3,595
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See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Appi here

Cat Skiing Tours

Hachimantai Cat Ski Trips
2 DAYS CAT SKIING, 2 NIGHTS LODGING
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Advanced
Score yourself some Hachipow with 2 days of Hachimantai cat skiing. Share the cat skiing slopes with only 7 others! Add a couple of days of Hachimantai cat skiing to your Iwate itinerary or make it your main reason to head to the region.
Price p/p Price per person for 2 days cat skiing & 2 nights at Mountain Hotel twin-share accommodation. Base currency in Japanese yen.
USD 1,365
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See all Cat Skiing tours that visit Appi here
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