Shiga Kogen ranks among the top ski resorts of the world – for very good reasons. The largest skiing area in Japan, Shiga is a combination of twenty-one ski resorts accessing a common mountain and which share a common ski lift pass. Known for its abundant snow fall, fine powder snow, the latest speedy lift operation system and endless skiing opportunities, it is small wonder that Shiga Kogen is popular with Japanese and international skiers alike.
Situated in the breathtaking Johshinetsu Kogen National Park in central Nagano prefecture, Shiga Kogen covers a huge area and offers a great diversity of natural terrain. All the twenty-one villages can be accessed on one ticket and they are all interconnected either by ski lifts or shuttle buses. It is possible to ski at Shiga Kogen for several days without repeating the slopes. Most of the villages have accommodation for all budgets, and offer extensive skier and snowboarder facilities.
Only three ski areas do not permit snowboarding and eight of them have night skiing facilities. A good way to begin here is to take a guided ski tour program with a local expert which will give you an idea of the slopes available and also includes ski lessons. There are more than fifty miles of skiing terrain divided into 179 runs, the longest of which is 3.6 miles. Eighty modern lifts including a tram, gondolas, quads, triples, doubles and singles access the slopes. Shiga Kogen has several promotional programs such as getting a stamp at all the lifts, which entitles the skier to receive a commemorative gift.
Each resort has its unique traits. Yakebitai Yama is the best equipped, with excellent facilities and fast ski lifts, while nearby Ichinose village has a central location with bars and restaurants that offer a lively après-ski atmosphere. The exclusive Grand Phoenix Hotel at Oku Shiga is one of the finest hotels in the country.
The non-skiing activities at the various ski resorts of Shiga Kogen include hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice-skating. Enjoy excellent wellness facilities at the villages and in the top hotels. Shiga Kogen’s long ski season runs from late November to early May with best conditions from late January to early March.