TOP RECOMMENDATIONS Appi Kogen
First-rate powder snow in one of Tohoku’s top snow resorts
Appi Kogen is the largest-scale ski resort in Japan's northeastern Tohoku region. High-quality powder snow, rivaling that of Hokkaido, falls on the resort’s slopes, and is carefully compacted and groomed to form perfect pistes for smooth and stress-free rides. Eleven of the total 21 ski runs are over 2,000 meters in length, giving intermediate and experienced skiers and snowboarders plenty of slope satisfaction. Even if you are a beginner, you can enjoy gliding down the longest run of 5,500 meters. Whatever your level, Appi Kogen has something to offer. At the resort base, you can find a range of accommodation options including the Hotel Appi Grand, and the Appi Onsen hot springs — the perfect place to relax after a day on the slopes. Activity options are not just limited to the major winter sports, as there are a wide variety of other things to do.
How to get there
Take the Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Morioka Station, then change to the JR Hanawa Line for Appi Kogen Station. During the ski season, there is a free shuttle bus from Appi Kogen Station to the Appi Kogen resort area. A bus to Appi Kogen from Morioka Station takes around one hour. Alternatively, take a free shuttle bus from Sendai Station to the Appi Kogen area in around three hours.
Board the Appi Airport Liner bus from Iwate Hanamaki Airport and reach Appi Kogen in around one hour and twenty minutes. There are free shuttle bus services for guests staying at one of the resort hotels.
Discover the powder in the ungroomed Tree Run Zone
After a fresh snowfall, the six officially designated ungroomed routes at Appi Kogen provide a pure powder experience, and many head to the Yamagara and Inuwashi runs on the Nishimori ski slope in particular. If you are still looking for more, a section of the five forested areas across the Nishimori and Sailer ski slopes form the Tree Run Zone and cover a total of 60 hectares. The 1,000 meter-long Dragon Tail run forms part of the zone and is located between the Sailer ski slope and the Central ski slope. Before heading to Tree Run Zone, visit the 1st floor of the Appi Plaza building to sign a form acknowledging that you will abide by local rules and accept that you will be entering the zone at your own risk.
For a comfortable stay, book into the Hotel Appi Grand
The lemon-yellow main building and tower of the Hotel Appi Grand stand out in the Appi Kogen landscape. The hotel is ideal for snow enthusiasts as its slope-side location offers an easy path to the piste. There are five on-site restaurants — Japanese, Western and Chinese cuisine, as well as Korean barbeque and buffet-style dining — offering you plenty of culinary choices. You can also have a drink in one of the two bars and toast to your day on the slopes. There is a full range of sports facilities in the main building, including a heated swimming pool, gym, and squash courts, and you can soak away any strains in the large public bath, filled to the brim with natural hot spring water. The main building has both twin and maisonette-style rooms as well as a Japanese suite with a private hot spring bath made out of traditional hinoki cypress timber. The tower building provides a further level of luxury with its Executive Rooms.
Experience Appi snow through a wide range of activities
This vast area of high-quality snow set to the backdrop of pristine nature is the ideal setting for a range of snow activities. In the Appi Happy Snow Park you can try tubing or airboarding, while at the summit of Mt. Maemori you can take in superb panoramic views from a gondola. Explore Appi Kogen's forests on a snowshoe tour, or ride through the same forests on a snowcat. Tuck into a cheese fondue inside a traditional kamakura snow dome, or ride across the snow in a snow buggy on the Appi snow buggy tour. Alternatively, you can explore the backcountry on the Appi powder tour or Hachimantai CAT tour. Find the activity best suited to you in the expansive Appi Kogen resort.