Iwatake

Closed
Iwatake
Jack Lee
SnowPak Local Insider
Jack Lee

Pros

  • Plenty of terrain for intermediates
  • Simple trail layout makes meeting up easy for groups and families
  • Has the best 360 degree views of Hakuba Valley
  • Wind protection thanks to low elevation and abundance of trees

Cons

  • No beginners area at base
  • Limited advanced runs and no expert terrain
  • Limited on-mountain and off-mountain dining options

Overall

4.7

Like the rest of the resorts around Hakuba Valley, Iwatake serves up that legendary Japanese powder and sees over 30 ft of snow a year. But here, even though the summit offers an unparalleled 360-degree view of the Japanese Alps, its lower elevation and multiple aspects mean you can always find shelter when the wind kicks up. While the nightlife is generally subdued, it does boast Japan’s only ski-in/ski-out brewery!

Best month to go

February

The best time to visit Iwatake is February as it sees lots of snowfall, but also has plenty of sunny days. It's also after the major winter holidays, so the slopes are generally quieter.
Airplane

FLY TO

Narita International Airport

Train

TRAIN TO

Tokyo station (40 mins)

Train

TRAIN TO

Nagano via bullet train (2 hours)

Bus

train/bus to

Happo Information Center (1.5 hours) or Hakuba Station (1 hour 15 minutes)

Car

TAXI TO

Iwatake (10 minutes)

Base of Iwatake (Walk)

  • Only a handful of hotels
  • Apartment rentals
  • Retains an authentic Japanese atmosphere

Find accommodations around here

Hakuba Village (2-3 mi)

  • Much wider selection of places to stay than Iwatake
  • Larger variety of shops and restaurants
  • Free shuttle to Iwatake

Find accommodations around here

For beginners

With no real learning area for beginners, never-evers might struggle here as they will have to hike up around the base to practice. More experienced beginners can try out Big Bahn off the Rai Pair lift before testing out the more difficult longer trails further up the mountain. Just beware of the more experienced skiers coming back to base!

For intermediates

Intermediates will have plenty of runs to choose from at Iwatake. The Sun Valley course is by far the most popular, a long wide open slope with some narrow sections for speeding through! The intermediate runs off the Gondola Noah are also worth a mention although those looking for a real powder-filled challenge should check out View A or View B on the backside.

For experts

While Iwatake doesn't have the steepest slopes nor the most challenging terrain, it's few black trails still provide plenty of fun. Test your limits on the Kamoshika Course, a steep groomed run that's great for fast carving! Otherwise, our other favorites for advanced skiers and snowboarders are the ungroomed View A and View B where you'll find fantastic natural terrain and plenty of pow!

Find freshies

The black trails on the upper mountain has great powder after a dump, otherwise freshies can be easily spotted from the chairlifts! Our top tip is to keep an eye out and remember the lift tower number to find your way there. Just beware some areas are signposted out of bounds area and you could lose your lift pass taken it you're caught by ski patrol.

Ditch the crowds

Iwatake's slopes are generally uncrowded! The only time there might be a rush is at the end of the day when everyone is trying to get back to down the base. The Sun Valley course sees the biggest hit with skiers traffic funneling through. This might become overwhelming for learners and beginners so it's best to take the Gondola Noah back down.

Non skiers

For those who aren't into shredding the slopes, Iwatake offers snowshoeing from the summit as well as cross-country skiing. Away from the slopes, day trips to the nearby Matsumoto Castle and Jigokudani Monkey Park are a must! Other than that, non-skiing activities can be limited.

Families

For families, Iwatake's trail layout makes it easy for members with different abilities to meet up again either at the base or the summit. The best spot for families to ride together are on the wide open slopes near the summit such as South.

Iwatake vs
IwatakeCortina
beginner30 %40 %
intermediate50 %30 %
advanced20 %30 %
expert--
total runs26 16
ski area296ac 124ac
summit elevation4,229ft 4,600ft
total lifts12 7
child lift ticketFree Free
adult lift ticket¥4,400 JPY ($40 USD) ¥4,000 JPY ($36 USD)
uncrowded
snow
back country
value for money
average total snowfall-448″

Iwatake Reviews

Superb

4.6 / 5

based on 11 reviews

How well the resort caters for beginner skiers / boarders

Beginners

How well the resort caters for intermediate skiers / boarders?

Intermediates

How well the resort caters for advanced skiers / boarders

Advanced

How accessible and convenient it is to get to this resort from a major destination

Accessibility

Quality of the off-piste terrain

Side/Backcountry

Overall value for money of the resort

Value for money

Quality of lifts, lift speed and lift layout in the resort

Lifts

Quantity and quality of the snow

Snow

How uncrowded is the resort

Uncrowded

Après ski and dining options

Town

Services and facilities e.g. child care, tubing, health care, equipment hire

Facilities

How family friendly is this resort?

Family Friendliness
Fabulous!

4.3 / 5

May 01, 2018
Jeremy C. Jeremy C.
advanced snowboarder
Of all the different mountains in the Hakuba area, Iwatake is by far my favourite. I've been to Hakuba 6 times now and I still thoroughly enjoy my days spent here. Best suited for beginner to intermediate riders as the majority of the slopes are fairly mellow and the black runs aren't too steep in comparison to other black runs in Hakuba.... More
Fabulous!

4.3 / 5

Dec 27, 2017
LELachlan E.
intermediate snowboarder
I spent roughly 3 weeks in Hakuba with the pure desire to Snow Board every day and of course - enjoy the strong zeroes that were on offer. I was in a group of 6 Adults with varying degrees of experience in the snow. We found ourselves at Iwatake for 70% of the time. Its variance in runs (powder, terrain, park etc) was able to accommodate for... More
Fabulous!

4.5 / 5

Dec 13, 2017
LGLuke G.
intermediate snowboarder
It is a great place to board lovely runs beautiful sceanary that takes your breath away, just amazing I would love the chance to be able to go back there and experience it all over again... More
Fabulous!

4.5 / 5

Dec 09, 2017
DFDale F.
advanced skier
Great resort for uncrowded slopes, and the free shuttle bus made getting between the resorts super easy. With its Great restaurant at the top of the mountain it has everything there to please every skier or snowboarder... More
Superb!

5 / 5

Dec 08, 2017
BGBentley G.
intermediate snowboarder
Stayed there last winter and had a very memorable experience. The property is very professionally managed by MySnow.com Our room was very new and comfortable. Fully equipped with all appliances needed for our stay. While it is a walk away from the ski area, there was shuttles going off to other ski areas and other available mountains, as... More
Fabulous!

4.2 / 5

Dec 06, 2017
SHSam H.
advanced snowboarder
My favourite pick of the local Hakuba resorts. Not as busy and they are ok with some off piste use age. Good runs and well maintained with everything you need.... More
Fabulous!

4.5 / 5

Dec 05, 2017
PHPaul H.
advanced snowboarder
Part of the Hakuba valley mountains, Iwatake is a great change from the monstrous Happo One. With views across the valley on to Happo and Hakuba47, find those fresh tracks for days, just keep an eye out for the mountain goats if you hit the trees and out of bounds.... More
Superb!

4.7 / 5

Dec 04, 2017
JSJames S.
advanced snowboarder
Iwatake is my favourite terrain for all-mountain snowboarding, it has so much variety with banks, trees, and wide groomed runs. It’s the perfect place for a beginner too, and that’s why I took my fiancé there to learn how to board. I even have an Iwatake sticker on my helmet. It’s not the biggest mountain, but it’s by far the most fun, and it only... More
Superb!

5 / 5

Dec 04, 2017
DWDaniel W.
intermediate skier
Fantastic resort with a little of everything, we had great fun skiing through the wooded sections and up and down the paradise lifts with long runs coming from the Noah gondola and back down. Awesome cafe and restaurant at the top with great views over Hakuba Valley. Friendly staff, easy drop off with a range of different on-ski rentals and hire... More
Superb!

5 / 5

Dec 03, 2017
SCShawn C.
intermediate snowboarder
My wife and I have had nothing short of an amazing time at Iwatake when we have visited there. It is our first stop when we visit Hakuba. The views are incredible, the snow amazing, the runs are super fun, staff are very friendly. We love Iwatake! ... More
Other ski resorts in

Hakuba, Japan

Cortina
40% 30% 30%
Hakuba 47 & Goryu
30% 40% 30%
Happo One
30% 50% 20%
Iwatake
30% 50% 20%
Tsugaike
50% 30% 20%