Shiga Kogen: The Unspoiled Skiing Paradise at the Top of Japan

The Nagano Prefecture is famous for its skiing destinations, which have hosted some of the biggest winter sports events in the world. It is also home to the highest of them all, the famous Shiga Kogen. With one skiing area located at an elevation of 2305 meters, it held several events during the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics.

Shiga Kogen is probably the largest ski resort in all of Japan, with at least 600 hectares of on piste terrain. The high altitude guarantees quality snow, plenty of which falls on these scenic mountains. The terrain at Shiga Kogen is suited mainly for beginners and intermediates, and features a vertical drop of 980 meters.

The whole resort consists of 21 ski areas spread over 21 km. Each ski area is located near a village, where most of the nightlife is centred at the hotels. Shiga Kogen has a relaxed Japanese atmosphere, so visitors can experience a non-western resort with great culture. The resort is also close to various historic sites and the Shiga Kogen onsens, with the famous snow monkeys.

Travelling to Shiga Kogen

Shiga Kogen lies 50 Km to the northeast of Nagano, within the Joshinetsu National Park. The villages that make up the resort are spread along two mountain roads, which pass through Okushigakogen, Hasuike, and Yamanouchi, at the lower end of the mountain.

Getting to Shiga Kogen is easiest through Narita Airport. From here, a bullet train takes an hour to Tokyo. A connecting train from Tokyo to Nagano takes one and a half hours. From Nagano, there are regular bus services to Shiga Kogen, which last just over an hour.

There is also a direct shuttle bus that leaves Tokyo Narita for Shiga Kogen once a day. Alternatively, you may opt to drive from the airport to the resort, a journey of 5 hours through windy and snow covered roads.

Getting there

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