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The Resorts

Shiga Kogen is located in the central Japanese alps, just outside of Nagano city. To Japanese standards Shiga Kogen is an absolute behemoth of a ski resort. It covers more than 600 hectares and has more than 100 runs split over numerous resorts, the major players being Yakebitaiyama, Ichinose and Okushigakogen. There are plenty of ancillary resorts that guests can explore, but it is well worth checking out the big three before ripping up some of the more niche areas. There is plenty for everyone at Shiga Kogen, however it certainly favors beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders.

Expert skiers will get a kick out of some of the steep runs available, but nothing to truly test a hardened veteran. Another facet to consider is that both Yakebitaiyama and Ichinose do not allow off piste skiing. This can make for a slightly dull environment for the avid backcountry skier, however Okushigakogen is far more relaxed with off piste skiing. Yakebitaiyama also has a reasonable terrain park, with some well maintained boxes, rails and jumps.

Resort Facts

  • Start Season: Mid December
  • Season End: Early May
  • Night Skiing: Yes, until 9pm
  • Max Elevation (m): 2,305
  • Vertical Rise (m): 1,071
  • Difficulty (beg/int/adv): 40% / 35% / 25%
  • Longest Course (m): 6,000
  • No. of Courses/Runs: 100
  • No. of Lifts  & Gondolas: 72
  • Max Gradient: 39 degrees

Getting there

Roughly 220km outside of central Tokyo, Shiga Kogen has benefited from the wonderful network of transport available throughout Japan, giving skiers and snowboarders ease of access from all major cities on the island of Honshu. There are various options for travelers to get to Shiga Kogen, these include train, bus and car. The fastest route to Shiga Kogen is a combination of train and bus, that would see you on the slopes in 3hrs. This gives you the fantastic experience of traveling on the Shinkansen bullet train, a must do whilst in Japan. The alternate route is by catching the Nagano Snow Shuttle. This service departs from Narita or Haneda airports and is the most direct option, albeit slightly more expensive and requires more time, roughly 5hrs.

Narita/Haneda Airport to Shiga Kogen - $163 per adult one way (coach, 5hrs)
Narita/Haneda Airport, Tokyo to Nagano - $222 per adult (5 day flexi JR East pass, 1.5 hours)
Nagano to Shiga Kogen - Local bus (1hr)

The Snow

Japan’s immense snow quality and quantity are thanks to its location, namely the fact that Japan is a huge archipelago and it is blessed with the ‘Ocean Snow Effect’. Some may know of the ‘Lake Snow Effect’ and for all intents and purposes, Ocean Snow Effect is very similar, wherein a body of cold air comes in contact with a warmer source of moisture. In Japan’s case a freezing cold air mass forms over Siberia and traverses the, relatively warmer, Sea of Japan. As it moves inexorably toward the western peninsula of Japan, it picks up a bunch of moisture from the Sea of Japan and once it reaches the coastline, it becomes unstable and creates a snow band. This unstable weather system blankets the mountains with the famed powder of Japan.

Shiga Kogen’s has an average snowfall of roughly 11m, which is bang on the national average. This location does not produce the prolific numbers such as Myoko or Hakkoda in the north, and the main reason is that it sits behind several of the massive peaks that constitute the central Japanese alps. It might be a little bit overly critical say that it is only on average, when in reality 11m of snow is an absolute blessing. This 11m is also of the highest order, boasting a low moisture content which makes the powder perfect for shredding.

The Food

Shiga Kogen as a whole provides a very insular environment wherein guests rely on the in house restaurants and bars for all of the extracurricular nightlife activities. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, particularly if you are staying in the Prince Hotels, who have plenty to offer in the way of heartwarming food and refreshing apres. However, there are options for venturing outside of the major hotels and exploring local areas such as Yudanaka. One of the most prevalent style of eateries in Shiga Kogen comes in the form of the humble izakaya, a down to earth pub style venue that serves up mouthwatering food and ice cold beverages. Ichinose is easily one of the best places to go and check out an izakaya!

Book / Enquire

We can tailor make your trip according to your requests

    Accommodation Standard

    FlightsLessonsLift PassInsuranceStopoverGear HireTransfersRail PassSnow Monkey Tour

    Onsen hot-springFamilySki-in/ Ski-out


    7 nights from $601* per person


    Stay 7 Pay 4 + daily breakfast +  3 days Yakebitaiyama lift pass

    Located in Yakebitai-yama ski field, this resort is perfect for both skiing and snowboarding as this area boasts excellent quality of snow. 

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    7 nights from $1,269* per person

    Includes 6 day lift pass & daily breakfast

    Located only a few steps away from Shiga Kogen’s highest slopes this is a Western style hotel with Japanese hospitality.

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    Onsen hot-springFamilySki-in/ Ski-out


    7 nights from $1,427* per person

    Includes 6 day lift pass & daily breakfast

    Many activities including an international ski school, snow cat tour, snow shoeing and kids park are available.

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    Ski-in/ Ski-out


    7 nights from $2,111* per person

    Includes 6 day lift pass & daily breakfast

    Located right at the slopes of Okushiga Kogen, only a minute walk to the lifts this European style luxury chalet is an ideal option for all snow lovers! 

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    More info