Skiing at Shiga Kogen

There are large on piste skiing terrains for beginners and intermediates. Advanced skiers will also find some steep runs to test their skills. However, expert skiers will not push themselves to the limit at any of these resorts.

There are many groomed runs, the widest range on offer in the country. Yakebitaiyama and Okushigakogen skiing areas are the largest. The rest are much smaller. A few of the ski areas offer limited night skiing, moguls, and a bit of tree skiing.

It is easy to get around the resort, despite its huge size. This is partly because 15 of the 21 ski areas are interconnected. They include most of the north eastern ski areas, such as the popular Ichinose and Yakebitaiyama. The other ski areas are connected only partially, and can be accessed by shuttle buses.

The main ski areas include:

The Northern End:

  • Okushigakogen: Has long groomers that are steep and perfect for intermediates. There are great lift facilities, good snow, and a bit of tree skiing.
  • Ichinose: Has steep groomers, a magic carpet, and easy runs for beginners.
  • Higashitateyama: Is home to the impressively long Nagano Olympic run.
  • Terakoya: The second largest ski area, with great powder and a few off piste areas.
  • Takamagahara: Has both green and black coded areas. Most of the runs are intermediate.
  • Hasuike, Maruike, Giant, and Nishitateyama: These areas are located at much lower elevations. They are popular with intermediates, although the snow quality is less superior.

The Southern End:

  • Yokoteyama: This is located at the highest elevation, and has good snow. There is limited powder skiing here, although it is mostly made up of green courses.
  • Kumanoyu: This area is great for speed skiing, with a short vertical and a little off-piste skiing.
  • Shibutoge: Composed mostly of flat terrain with good powder. It is an easy terrain for those learning the ropes on powder.


Facilities at Shiga Kogen

Shiga Kogen has some of the best facilities in the country. They include:

  • Lifts: There are 68 lifts throughout the resort including quad chairs, gondolas, ropeways, and double chairs. Yakebi has some of the best lift facilities, while Yokoteyama has some old looking lifts, but these can be pretty fast. There are single day lift passes and 3, 5, or 10 day super passes. They cover all the ski areas and include the shuttle buses.
  • Ski hire: The hotels around the ski areas have shops that provide ski rentals. These are available at very good prices, although a reservation may be necessary during busy periods. Backcountry equipment is also available at some of the shops.
  • Ski schools: There are many schools around the resort. Most of them offer group lessons in Japanese. For lessons in English, you will need to get private lessons at the Shitaka Shingo Yakebitaiyama Ski School, or the Sugiyama Ski and Snowsports School. Both are located at the Prince Hotel.
  • Children’s facilities: There is a snow park at Maruike, where kids can learn to ski. There are a few child care services at the Prince Hotel and the Takamagahara Mammoth ski area. They both close over lunchtime and reopen in the afternoon, which can be inconvenient.

Other activities

Shiga Kogen is a complete ski resort, with many activities available for adults as well as kids. There are nearby ski resorts including the famous Hakuba, Nozawa, and Myoko Kogen. Day trips are available to these resorts, with some great backcountry skiing on offer.

Sightseeing is a big part of the Shiga Kogen area. Visits can be made to the Matsushiro Kaizu Castle, the Zenkoji temple, and the Jogokudani snow monkeys. The area is also popular with onsens, which were a major attraction long before the skis arrived.

Shiga Kogen has many other family friendly activities including snowmobiling and snow rafting. This resort has a plethora of offerings for visitors, unseen in other Japanese resorts.