Oze-Iwakura, or White World Oze-Iwakura to give it the full title, is an excellent medium size Gunma Prefecture ski resort still virtually unknown to western visitors. It offers great snow and great value, with a choice of a 3-4 star hotel or budget hotel at the base. You can book a 3 night inclusive package from $AUD 1130 or as many nights as you want with Japan Holidays.
So you can still get a lot of powder lines with less competition for them here, especially midweeks. Tenjindeira near Minakami is getting better known, but the Katashina Village area is a bit further off the shinkansen and freeway routes.
Size-wise Oze-Iwakura is more like Madarao, a smaller area that exploded in popularity thanks to a pro-active tree course and powder policy.
If the same happened here a similar effect would likely follow, because there are a decent amount of tree lines and powder courses at gradients up to 40° on the marked runs.
The healthy vertical drop of just under 700m from the top back to the hotels at the base is served by the usual Japanese mix of fast and slow lifts. The gondola is the best of them, accessing nearly the whole vertical and most of the terrain.
Further over the back side you need to ride successive pair lifts to ski the black runs and trees on offer there – slow, but worth it, especially lapping here on pow days.
With a top altitude of 1700m snow quality is usually good, and from late December to late March there’s usually a decent base.
Long groomers over 3km long keep intermediates and cruisers happy.
Off most lifts there are easier options so groups of different standards can hook up at the bottom and keep skiing together.
Oze-Iwakura also boasts easy night skiing of the base quad chair.
At the base there’s a perfect beginners area, with an indoor starter option for little kids too. Oze-Iwakura is very convenient for families.
The kids get a choice of snow sliding options from snow trikes to tubing off the magic carpet lift.
Oze-Iwakura accommodation options
There are two choices at the base.
Oze Iwasaki Resort Hotel features 36 rooms sleeping up to 200 guests. Choose Japanese (with toilet), Japanese/Western or Western rooms (both styles with ensuite).
Japanese dinner featuring local ingredients and a buffet breakfast are included.
Natural onsen with high alkaline content is great for recovery.
The hotel also has a lounge bar.
Iwakura Resort Hotel rates (includes taxes, dinner & breakfast)
¥ 15,270 per person per night 2 share (¥ 17,430 Saturday nights/holidays)
deduct dinner = less ¥ 2,160; deduct breakfast = less ¥ 1,080
For bookings and packages check with these Japan snow experts:
Iwasaki House offers 40 twin bed rooms, all with ensuite and a kitchenette with a one ring electric stove so you can make simple meals in your room.
It also has a daycare facility, laundry and a small onsen bath.
Iwasaki House rates (includes taxes, no meals)
¥ 5,292 per person per night 2 share (¥ 5,832 Saturday nights)
Add dinner ¥ 2,160 breakfast ¥ 1,080
Oze-Iwakura lift prices
Lift prices at Oze-Iwakura are great value, especially for 2 days or more – a 3 day pass works out less than $AUD 50 a day for example.
Adult ¥4,500 day / ¥7,800 2 day / ¥11,200 3 day
(plus night skiing ¥5,200; night skiing only ¥1,800)
High School ¥3,400 day / ¥5,800 2 day / ¥8,100 3 day
Primary School ¥2,400 day / ¥3,700 2 day / ¥5,600 3 day
ski or board full set or clothing jacket/pants
Adults & high school ¥3,500 day, primary school ¥2,500 day
discounts for multi day hire
Getting to Oze-Iwakura
Easiest way to get from Tokyo to Oze-Iwakura is on the Katashina Snow Express direct bus from Tokyo Station, around 180 minutes.
By train take the Joetsu shinkansen to Johmo-kogen, around 75 minutes, then shuttle bus, around 80 minutes, to to Oze-Iwakura.
By road take the Kan-Etsu Expressway 125km to Numata Interchange, then Route 120 & Route 401 32km more to the resort, which takes from around 150 minutes in good traffic conditions.