Many places in Japan are well known for great powder to ski or snowboard, yet somehow, Iwate is often overlooked for more popular places like Hokkaido or Nagano. Iwate has over a dozen great places to enjoy, 19 in all, there's certainly something for all levels. Amihari is no doubt one of my favorite places to go in Iwate.
Amihari is one of 3 ski resorts located on the south west side of Mt. Iwate. The other two are, Iwate Kogen and Shizukuishi. Actually, Amihari and Iwate Kogen are on the same road, they're just one turn off away. The resort itself has 5 pair lifts and about a dozen runs of various levels. It has the second highest vertical drop in Iwate at over 700 meters. That makes for long runs. It has a couple of non groomed runs and a very large tree run from the top if that's what you're looking for. As you can see you"ll find something for your level. Don't forget to enjoy the magnificent panorama from the top runs. We can see Shizukuishi and Morioka on clear days and endless mountain ranges to the west towards Akita.
In terms of prices it's very competitive. One day pass is 3300 yen and 3000 yen for 5 hours, for children it's 1200 yen across the board. One good thing is that senior discount starts at 50 and it's only 2800 yen for a day or 2500 yen for a 5 hour pass. It's only 2000 yen on weekdays. Students can ski for free on weekdays but you have to be able to navigate Japanese web sites. You can also find great deals for hotel and ski or snowboard again with Japanese ability. They also have ski and snowboard rentals at very reasonable rates.
The hotel and hot spring command an impressive view over the city of Morioka and Shizukuishi. They have outside bath available (rotenburo) and several of the rooms have their own private bath. Prices start around US$75 for two to around $150, the prices include dinner for two. You can find more details on their web site here; https://www.qkamura.or.jp/en/iwate/
Their web site is also available in English, Korean and Chinese. Worth nothing, there are outdoor activities all year round. It's a great place to escape the heat in summer, you can also go camping and hiking around the mountain. . Pick mountain vegetables in the spring and more. Check their site for some ideas. I personally like to ride up there in the summer for training.
Getting there; by car, take the Morioka exit, follow route 46 west for about 6 kilometers. Turn off at Route 219, look for the Koiwai Farm sign. Continue up the hill for about 10 kilometers, route 219 will turn into route 212, Amihari is at the end of route 212.
If you come by train or Bullet train, take the shuttle bus, Iwate Kenpotsu to Koiwai and Amihari, it takes about 1 hour
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I grew up in Quebec, Canada and studied electronics in college, never worked in that field. Moved to Vancouver in the early 80's where I found my real passion, cooking. I ran my own restaurant for 14 years after that worked as a financial advisor for 4 years, I really enjoyed that too but we had to move to Japan for family reasons. After moving to Japan I started teaching English and French. I enjoy teaching too but most of all I enjoy challenges, moving here was challenging but really interesting. Another challenge that I had been thinking about for about 20 years was renovating a house, so for the last 2 years that is what I have been doing. I bought a 25 year old house and am bringing it to modern standards in terms of comfort and earthquake strength. In my time off I like cycling, hiking and snowboarding in winter. Of course I still enjoy cooking. Hope you like my articles.