Shiga Kogen is a collection of 21 ski resorts strung out along the Shiga Plateau, making it one of Japan’s largest ski areas. Located in the Joshinetsu Kogen National park about 20km northeast of Nagano, the Shiga Kogen ski area comprises a wide variety of terrain within it’s 21 ski fields that ensures skiers and snowboarders will never get bored.

The host of various 1998 Nagano Winter Olympic events, including women’s downhill, slalom, super G and snowboarding events, Shiga clearly boasts some of Japan’s steeper runs. 980 metres of vertical, approximately 600 hectares of terrain and 80+ kilometres of designated ski trails, Shiga Kogen is arguably the largest ski area in Honshu and one of the largest in Japan generally.

Not far from Shiga Kogen, on the western edges of the national park is the Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park. More than 200 wild long tailed monkeys live here and bathe in the natural hot spring water. It’s an impressive sight and is not to be missed during your stay in the area. The region is also famous for Chimaki, rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo and the Inn at the Monkey Park does them particularly well. Finally, Nagano City’s Zenkoji temple and Matsushiro Kaizu castle also make interesting day trips if you want a break from skiing one day.

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