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Shizukuishi: Insider Ski & Snowboard Tips
Historically known for hosting the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in the early 90’s, nowadays the Shizukuishi Men’s downhill course offers an impressive 4.5km of consistent vertical, whilst the women’s Super-G trail has since been converted into a Cat Skiing zone – and a very affordable one at that! A single run will cost you a mere ￥400 –even less if you’re doing multiple runs, and let’s be honest, you’ll want to do more than one.
While the cat skiing only operates on Saturday, Sundays and public holidays and skiing is confined to the piste, if you’re lucky and it’s a powder day (a fairly regular occurrence in Japan) you’ll have over 700m of open pow filled vertical laid out before you.
Shizukuishi Ski Resort is located in the northern Honshu prefecture of Iwate. Most international travelers will arrive at either Narita International Airport or Haneda International Airport in Tokyo.
Travelling to Iwate from Tokyo is as easy as any other Japanese resort and can be done so by either boarding the Akita Shinkansen (bullet train) or the Tohoku Shinkansen. The Akita Shinkansen stops at Shizukuishi Station and takes around 2 hours 35 minutes. A short 20 minute taxi ride will then take you to the resort. Alternatively, the Tohoku Shinkansen stops at Morioka Station and takes around 2 hours 11 minutes to reach. It takes another 40 minutes by taxi to reach the resort, or hop on one of the many buses organises by the folk at Shizukuishi Prince Hotelfrom there.
There is no ski village or many other accommodation options to speak of at Shizukuishi aside from the Prince Hotel. The hotel has all bases covered though, with several internal restaurants, a rental outlet, retail outlets and more. Undeniably the biggest attraction here is the Takakura Onsen, a natural hot spring serviced by the hotel that has deservedly been recognized as an Onsen heritage site.
Shizukuishi: Restaurant & Après
As there is no ski village to speak of, the restaurant and apres scene is also fairly sparse. There’s a family style restaurant on the seconds floor of the Prince Hotel. On mountain eateries include Ramen Akenko at the bottom of the Ropeway Station – try the “Anekko Miso Ramen’. Alternatively, catch the Ropeway to the top and enjoy a Japanese-style western menu at Restaurant Alyeska – try the rice omelette.
Shizukuishi: Non-skiing Activities
A rugged and sparsely populated region, Shizukuishi offers stunning views such as that across the valley and up to Mount Iwate. For those looking to truly rest their legs, the ‘Asabiraki’ sake factory is understandably a first point of call for many, whilst kids will be entertained by the ninja themed ‘play field’.
Shizukuishi Ski Resort
The most redeeming feature is the Onsen, which is one of the most beautiful I've been to. One bath that's small, but at the edge of a koi pond and waterfalls. NOT TATTOO FRIENDLY.