Owani Onsen

Owani Onsen Ski Resort
Owani Onsen Ski Resort
Owani Onsen Ski Resort doesn
Owani Onsen Ski Resort doesn't usually have abundant snow cover
Owani Onsen Aomori Prefecture
Owani Onsen Aomori Prefecture

Owani Onsen

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Owani Onsen

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Owani Onsen Ski Resort is a good one to keep up your sleeve for when a storm is in full force at Hakkoda and the ropeway is closed. It’s a little local ski hill with reasonable pitch for a Japanese ski resort, but it’s at reasonably low elevation, so you’d want to visit when it’s dumping with snow.

Owani Onsen Ski Resort is one of those unfortunate Japanese ski resorts that has seen a major demise. It used to be a higher and larger ski resort that had a gondola, and now it is just a shadow of its former self.

Pros and Cons of Owani Onsen

  • It has the charm of a local Japanese ski-jo and you’re highly unlikely to see any gaijin.
  • Any fresh powder will be all yours for the taking because the locals will be carving it up on the groomers.
  • The lift tickets are super cheap.
  • Owani Onsen is reasonably well protected from the brutal winds that afflict Hakkoda and Aomori Spring
  • Owani Onsen Ski Resort doesn’t get the same bountiful snowfall as Hakkoda and it can suffer from a lack of snow cover. The elevation is low, especially at the base where it’s only 100 metres above sea level.
  • Like a lot of local Japanese ski hills, Owani Onsen is small and has old lifts.
  • The intermediate terrain is naff.

Owani Onsen Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The section of the Owani Onsen Ski Resort that remains is the Kokusai (International) area. It has 3 double chair lifts, 9 courses and 433 metres of vertical from 533m down to just 100m. The former version of the ski resort had 9 lifts including a gondola, the elevation went to up 709 metres, and there were twice as many trails and a halfpipe.

Beginners are very well catered for at Owani Ski Resort. Intermediates really only have 2 short runs, because the other one requires some time on an advanced run to get there, and unfortunately it requires 3 slow lifts to lap the intermediate runs. There are a few advanced runs that are fun when there’s fresh snow.

Of course the real fun is storm skiing in the off-piste areas when there’s adequate snow base, which includes open zones and trees. You can drop into the piste of the former resort which is no longer summer groomed, or if you want to put more work in there is a flattish plateau at the top that you can hike or skin up. This old zone has some sexy terrain that’s not shy on the pitch front and if you have access to a car and driver then road runs open up a lot of options.

Owani Onsen Snow

Snow quantity and snow maintenance are not Owani Onsen’s strength and the lowest elevation is only 100 metres. The snow base often only reaches about 80cm in the peak of the season, and it’s common that the courses have some bare patches. At least many of the existing slopes are north facing, whilst some of the former ski slopes don’t have a very favourable aspect.

Due to the limited snow, the Owani Onsen ski season usually only lasts from late December to mid March.

Where is Owani Onsen?

Owani Onsen Ski Resort is located in Owani town in the Aomori Prefecture, 50km southwest of Aomori City, 16km from Hirosaki and 18km from Kuroishi. Owani Onsen is 45km southwest of the Hakkoda Ski Area and 42km southeast of Aomori Spring Resort.

Considering it’s primarily a storm skiing resort, you’ll want to have access to wheels to get there. It’s a very easy drive and only 5km from the Owani Hirosaki Interchange on the Tohoku Expressway. The telephone number for GPS navigation is 0172-49-1023.

Alternatively the ski resort is located 1.5km from the Owani Onsen train station and you can try to get a taxi from the train station to the ski area.

Owani Onsen Accommodation

You could choose to stay in one of the ryokan in the onsen village near the ski resort, but considering it’s not really a destination ski resort, it’s more likely that you would travel to Owani Onsen for a day trip from your base in Aomori City, Kuroishi, Aomori Spring or Hakkoda.

Accommodation Listings:

Ski Resort Facilities

This is a reasonably no frills ski resort. Amenities include basic ski and snowboard rental equipment and clothing, ski lessons, and a cafeteria.

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

Tohoku Powder Sessions
12 Days | Up to 10 Days Guided Skiing/Riding
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Visit northern Tohoku's under the radar gems and stay in Hirosaki, a small castle city, & at slope side hotels in Iwate. Your guide & driver will show you the powder stashes and the cultural side of Aomori, Iwate and Akita Prefectures.
Price p/p From price based on twin or double-share room; 4 on tour for 2024 season.
Base/invoice currency is in USD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 4,485
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Owani Onsen here