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Appi Kogen


Don't worry ... ski 'Appi!

In a remote location on the north of Honshu Island is one of the best ski resorts in all Japan, rarely visited by anyone other than the Japanese. This is a large(ish) purpose-built resort, with a first class infrastructure, excellent facilities and grand accommodation. It’s one hotel, one mountain, one resort ... but don’t let this put you off! The powder snow is particularly outstanding, the long groomed trails are second-to-none in all Japan, it’s refreshingly free of other Westerners, the hotel is welcoming and very comfortable and it’s all so ... convenient! Appi really has a certain charm, and families are particularly ‘appi’ here due to the exceptional customer service, well groomed trails, dedicated children's ski areas, snow park, child care and English-speaking ski school.

Skiing in Appi Kogen

At Appi, you’ll find wide, long pistes – there are 21 recognised trails, many of which are over 2km long, the longest being almost 6km. This is fall line skiing at its purest, the corduroy immaculate and hidden behind the façade of the groomed runs are some fantastic powder stashes - they leave quite a few runs ungroomed. There are two gondolas and three high-speed hooded quad chairlifts, meaning on a cold day you get up the hill quickly and warmly, and then they also have another 13 double chairlifts. 

Off Piste

You are in powder heaven at Appi. It may have taken the locals a long time to realise this, but they're slowly coming around - head off-piste and the rewards are other-worldly. Whilst it still may be 'frowned upon' by the patrollers, the inbounds area around Nishimori has superb tree skiing and no hiking is required to get back to the lifts. Indeed, as long as you are not flaunting yourself you'll find fresh lines to be realised in the deep stuff all over the mountain - most stay on-piste here....and more fool them. And the quality of the powder here is absolutely outstanding, the perfect result of altitude, aspect (north facing) and a lack of other powder-seekers.

Advanced

In Appi Kogen they know to give a powder-hungry public what they want - reasonably steep runs, left ungroomed...and all in-bounds. The Yamagara run on Mount Nishimori is a classic and the longer Sailor (2) piste is often equally epic. 

Intermediate

A carvers paradise, with long runs cut through the trees from top to bottom. And those ungroomed blacks offer just the right amount of challenge for those intrigued by the possibilities presented by powder. A rapidly-improving intermediate we recently skied with in Appi simply described the whole experience as "bucket-loads of powder fun", choosing Appi Kogen as his favourite resort of all in Japan. a great place for intermediates to learn to ride powder, either on the sides of the runs or on the “light powder runs”

Beginners

Is there a finer beginner slope in all Japan than Shirakaba?...low down, groomed to perfection throughout the day, gentle and without suprise. Once you've mastered this, then gorgeous Yamabato beckons - from top to bottom (over 5 km), but mellow and stunningly pretty.

All told, this is a great mountain for tentative first steps, with the lower slopes characterised as being wide, empty and sheltered from the winds. The personal attention lavished on you from the friendly ski school will have you progressing in no time.

Snowboarders

Brilliant. Just that...'brilliant'. So much to go at and very few other people taking your lines.

Après Ski

In Appi you are 100% resort bound - the large hotel at the base is also where you eat dinner, grab a beer, enjoy an onsen, take a swim in the pool, sink cocktails and then sing karaoke until the early hours...etc. It's a good job it's a fine hotel, really. The restaurants within the hotel are varied - five main options, with an international choice along with high-quality Jaanese cuisone - and all are good. Very good, actually.

Actually, there are a few options to escape - the hotel runs a shuttle bus to a local town (Hachimantai) and this provides a welcome change for one night. However, it's not essential and most are happy with what the Appi Grand has to offer.

Family Suitability

Appi Kogen is incredibly well suited to children. The little kiddie winks can learn to ski in the dedicated fenced off kids’ area. The area is serviced by magic carpets and attracts a small fee. The park also has lots of play features and other activities for kids.

RESORT SCORECARD

Snowsure:  

Beginners:  

Intermediate:  

Advanced:  

Snowboarders:  

Après Ski:  

Families:  

Season:  December - mid April

Base elevation:  500 metres

Top elevation:  1,330 metres

Vertical drop:  830 metres

Number of lifts:  16

Number of runs:  21 (recognised)

Longest run:  5.5 kilometres

Access:  Bullet-train from Tokyo to Morioka City (just over 2 hours) and then resort shuttle from the railway station to Appi. Alterntaively, direct coach transfers from Sendai City.

Suggested Itineraries featuring Appi Kogen

These suggested itineraries will give you a starting point for what your ski holiday to Japan could entail. Sometimes we combine ski resorts and we often cherish the opportunity to explore and experience Japan beyond the ski slopes. We hope these itineraries will inspire, excite and inform you as we begin the planning process. They’re not set departures or tours, as every holiday we plan is completely tailor-made for you - treat them as inspiration only.

The Alternative Ski Safari

Appi Kogen - Zao Onsen - Tokyo

Duration: two weeks

Explore the Tohoku region to discover some the best skiing in Japan. Deep, untracked powder snow awaits in the remote north.

from £2,780 per person, including flights

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The Honshu Powder Hunter

Appi Kogen - Tokyo - Hakuba

Duration: two weeks

Nine full days on the slopes, skiing the best Japan has to offer. Bullet-train journeys and the excitement of Tokyo to break it up.

from £2,990 per person, including flights

Read More

Snow & Beach - Honeymoon

Japanese Ski Resort - Tokyo - Asian Beach

Duration: two weeks

First the powder snow of Japan, then it's a city break in Tokyo, before heading to Thailand or The Philippines and a tropical beach.

from £3,250 per person, including flights

Read More

Prices are indicative only and include accommodation (low season), lift passes, transfers and – because we are ATOL-bonded – your flights from the UK. Different Snow can also include ski hire, backcountry and off-piste tours, rail passes, private transfers, English-speaking guides, cultural excursions and activities.

Accommodation

Let's keep this simple - one resort, one mountain, one hotel. Well, whilst it's one hotel there are several different accommodation options within its sprawl. But for us, we'll either put you in the main building or the tower (nicer rooms) of the Appi Grand, which is a fine establishment. The only decision remaining is whether we book breakfast-only or half-board?

Appi Grand Hotel

A big yellow tower of a hotel at the foot of the slopes...and there's nothing wrong with that!

If you are pre-disposed to shy away from single-resort, multiplex hotels then the Appi Grand may actually change your mind. It actually delivers a comfortable high standard of accommodation, a very extensive range of facilities, and exceptional service - the 'English-speaking team' on the front desk are as enthusiastic ans they are friendly.

The hotel has 230 rooms in the main building and 174 ever-so-slightly-nicer rooms in the adjoining tower, all of which are Western style and made up of twin rooms, family rooms and suites. Meals can be included in your package (in this instance, worth it) and the hotel has five high quality restaurants with a wide range of cuisine.

Located at the base of the ski area, the hotel is very conveniently ski-in ski-out.

Distance to…

Restaurants & Bars: 0 metres

Ski lifts: 20 metres

Activities

For the powder purists, then a real treat is on hand at Hakkoda Ropeway. It's a bit of an expedition, more than merely a day trip, and the rewards are outstanding - this is why you came to Japan! Other than this, they hotel also operates a coach to Hachimantai, not quite as epic...but just as powder 'tastic. For both, you'll need to brings your own equipment with you from Appi.

When not neck deep in powder snow, the hotel has plenty to keep you entertained. Specifically - it has an onsen, swimming pool, a well equipped gymnasium, mini climbing wall, spa and squash courts. They also operate several worthwhile excursions.

Ski Hachimantai & Matsukawa Hot Springs

Powder skiing & then to the onsen. A perfect day!

the Shimokura area of small Hachimantai ski resort has three chair-lifts, bottomless powder and (possibly) no other skiers. Of course you'll ski it out in no time, but not before you've had an amazing and quite privileged couple of hours. What better next than to head to Matsukawa Onsen - where the outdoor hot springs are nationally-famous, picture-perfect and wonderfullyy relaxing. This hugely enjoyable excursion operates every Wednesday and Friday during the season.   

Hakkoda Powder Day

A remote mountain, one ropeway up, countless ways down through the powder.

Every Thursday and Sunday the hotel operates a coach to Hakkoda - make sure you are on it. This is a pure powder paradise - course routes follow the natural inclination of the mountainside, and continue for up to a satisfying 7 kilometers. For the purist, who wants to explore the region in more depth, take the Thursday coach up, we'll sort (basic) accommodation in Hakkoda and a ski guide, and then head back to Appi on the Sunday. Heaven.

Evening in Hachimantai

For a change of scenery, head to the local town one night for dinner.

Hachimantai is a pleasant provincial town, with plenty of local restaurants and/or night shopping. The possibilities include yakitori, sushi, sashimi, katsudon and ramen....all washed down with sake. If you are on the half-board plan at the Appi Grand Hotel then fear not - they issue a dinner coupon holder which can be spent in participating restaurants in town. The bus is laid on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night.

Ski Concierge

In the Appi Grand Hotel you'll find all the facilities and amenities you need on tap - the 'one stop' shop. This is where you'll find the rental outlets (within the hotel and on the main concourse), ticket office, retail shops (though not much kit for sale, beyond the usual gloves, helmets, snoods...etc) and ski school. Your hotel has a huge locker room, your allocated with your room key, and it is then literally out the doors to the first lift of the day. Other than one on-mountain option, you'll find yourself back down at this base station for lunch each day, the canteen-like food hall is lined with a variety of tasty outlets (both Western & Japanese).

Lift Passes

One pass, one mountain, great value. We usually buy a package from the Appi Grand hotel that has your lift pass included, but itemise out the cost and it's amazing value compared to Niseko, Hakuba...et al.

Equipment Hire

There is a ski / snowboard hire outlet right in the middle of the Appi Grand Hotel. Pick up your skis (and boots), then down to the locker room or straight out on to the slopes. The kit is good - not outstanding, but decent enough. If you want specialist powder equipment that a trip to the concourse is required as the outlets here have more variety, the latest gear and are, consequently, a little more expensive. 

Lessons

Over the last few seasons the resort has begin to employ a small group of English / Australian / American / Kiwi instructors. They are largely here for the Hong Kong & Taiwanese guests, who similarly can't speak Japanese, and they are visibly delighted when they get the occasional Western guest to instruct or ski with. It's a long, lonely season when you are stuck in remote and isolated Appi for four months of the year! Therefore, they may be young, they may not be hugely experienced...but they are keen as mustard and you get great value from them. We need to book private lessons (all group lessons are in Japanese) and we need to book in advance.

Travel Insurance

Winter sports travel insurance is an important part of your holiday booking and we strongly recommend that you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy to cover all your winter sports holiday requirements. We're happy to be able to offer our customers a 10% discount on all policies from Ski Club Travel Insurance.

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