About Shiga Kogen
Shiga Kogen is one of Japan’s biggest resorts, and the country’s second highest. There are in fact 21 resorts strung together across 600 hectares so you can spend hours exploring new terrain. Shiga Kogen was also home to some of the events for the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. Most of Shiga Kogen’s accommodation options are family-run ski-in ski-out lodges and the whole resort feels very Japanese. Nearby you’ll find the Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park where you can see Japanese macaque monkeys relaxing in natural hot springs.
Insider Ski & Snowboard Tips
Shiga Kogen is paradise for intermediate to advanced riders who love long, cruisy groomers. There are a number of mogul runs and tree runs too, but powder hounds will be disappointed as off-piste riding is predominantly banned. Regardless, there are still some deep powder bowls to be explored under the Yakebitayama gondolas.
Ichinose is the main area of Shiga Kogen and caters well to families and beginners with wide groomed runs. Higashitayama area is good for intermediate riders to gain some speed on the runs that go for over 2km. Yakebitayama is one of the biggest areas and caters to more advanced riders with steep runs, powder bowls, moguls and a terrain park. Okushigakogen is for skiers only.
Getting to Shiga Kogen takes just shy of 5 hours. From the airport you’ll need to take a bus or train to Nagano, followed by another bus or the shinkansen (bullet train) to Nagano. From there a bus or taxi is the best option to take you to your accommodation on the hill.
Pre-booking a shuttle like Chuo Taxi frequently works out better in terms of time, effort and even cost. Once you’re in Shiga Kogen there’s a free shuttle bus to take you around the resort.
Not surprisingly, Shiga Kogen has a lot of accommodation options spread out across the different resort areas. Hotels and ryokans are the main type of accommodation, with self contained apartments and hostels lacking. Many of the hotels are ski-in ski-out and most restaurants and bars are attached to these hotels so it’s common to have your meals included in your accommodation cost. The Shiga Kogen Prince Hotel in the Yakebitaiyama area is a popular choice with a great location and facilities like restaurants, bars, shops, a rental store and bathhouse.
Restaurants & Apres
Shiga Kogen is quite traditional in the sense that most meals and drinks are provided in-house in your accommodation and included in the price. There are only a handful of restaurants, izakayas and bars that are separate to hotels. If this is your preference then Ichinose village is the place to stay but still, the nightlife is meagre. Time Izakaya is a solid place for drinks and has an English menu with plenty of options. Kamoshika is an Indian restaurant that is ideal for hungry groups as they offer delicious banquets full of curries and naan. Be aware that Shiga Kogen really ramps up with the Snow Monkey Beer Live festival in March that celebrates craft beer and live music with day trips to see the snow monkeys.
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