Shiga Kogen Ski Resort

Shiga Kogen Ski Resort

Readers Ratings

Shiga Kogen

Shiga Kogen3.5/522
Shiga Kogen3.5 out of 5 based on 22 reviews
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit

Shiga Kogen Ski Resort

The Shiga Kogen Mountain Resort in Nagano Japan is a good all-rounder as a ski holiday destination. It first gained international notoriety when it hosted various events at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, including the women’s downhill, slalom, super G and snowboarding events. Since that time many other skiers and snowboarders have flocked to the Shiga Kogen ski resorts to get a taste of what this area has to offer.

Shiga Kogen provides a large variety of ski and snowboard terrain, and quality snow because it’s the highest proper ski resort in Japan. It’s not called Shiga Heights for nothing (Kogen means heights or highlands)!

Shiga Kogen Mountain Resort has mostly remained staunchly Japanese and conservative, which some view as undesirable if they’re looking for a more westernised ski resort, yet this helps to keep the major international crowds away.

Pros and Cons of Shiga Kogen Japan

  • have bestowed the Shiga Kogen Ski Resort with a best skiing in Japan award for the best intermediate terrain.
  • Shiga Kogen also scores 5 out of 5 from us for the ski-in ski-out accommodation.
  • It also gets 5 out of 5 for snow because of quantity and quality that is often excellent thanks to high elevation.
  • Unlike Myoko and Hakuba where most of the ski areas are not connected via the slopes, Shiga Kogen is inter-connected (in the main north zone and the south zone). The overall ski area is very large (by Japanese standards) and provides good on-piste diversity for beginner, intermediate and low end advanced riders.
  • There are group ski lessons in English with a ski school based at Okushiga Kogen.
  • Some of the Shiga ski areas have some great off-piste skiing and competition for fresh lines is significantly less than other high profile Nagano ski resorts.
  • There is no self-contained accommodation (e.g. apartment or house), which is common amongst unwesternised Japanese ski resorts.
  • Many of the Shiga Kogen hotels are old-school and dated.
  • The Shiga areas are made up of collections of hotels, and there are no proper villages. Don’t expect much in the way of shops, restaurants, or bars, so the nightlife is very limited (as is the case at all non-westernised ski resorts in Japan). If you want a village, stay down in Yudanaka.
  • The “villages” are very spread out. It’s easy to ski or snowboard between the villages, but it’s more difficult to get around in the evenings.
Pro or Con Depending on Your Perspective
  • Shiga Kogen Ski Resort isn’t over-run with westerners, it feels very Japanese and many of the hotels have Japanese tatami rooms along with some western style rooms. In many parts of Shiga Kogen, there’s not a lot of English spoken although this varies between the areas.
  • Other than skiing and snowboarding, there aren’t that many activities on offer at Shiga Kogen. However Shiga Kogen is the closest ski resort to the snow monkeys and Shibu Onsen, and Nagano is not far away where you can partake in some culturally interesting day trips.

Shiga Kogen Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Shiga Kogen Mountain Resort is made up of 18 different ski areas that are largely interlinked via the slopes and a comprehensive lift system that can be accessed off the one lift pass.

With approximately 600 hectares of terrain, and 80+ kilometres of trails, Shiga Kogen is cited to be the largest ski area in Honshu and possibly Japan, although when compared on an international scale, Shiga Kogen would probably be considered a medium sized resort.

Yakebitaiyama and Okushiga Kogen sit at the northern end and are the largest ski areas within Shiga Kogen. They are connected with the Chuo (central) area that comprises multiple ski areas, some of which are so small that you could blink and miss them. A little more information on these ski areas can be found on the Shiga Kogen ski terrain page. The southern ski areas such as the quiet Kumanoyu and Yokoteyama are inter-connected with each other, but not to the Chuo zone.

The extensive network of lifts includes some gondolas and fast quad chairs, as well as some “romance” lifts (ie double chairs). Romance on the chairs is optional!

The Shiga Kogen piste terrain is varied and ranges from beginners’ slopes to moguls. Shiga Kogen’s forte is the many kilometres of fresh ‘roys for cruising or schussing. Shiga Kogen is nirvana for intermediates, strong intermediates, and low end advanced riders. As with most Japanese ski resorts, there’s nothing particularly steep at most of the Shiga Kogen ski areas.

There is great tree skiing at some of the ski areas. Some of the zones are obvious and there are also plenty of areas where powder hounds will have to really put their canine nose to work to sniff out the powder, or be on a guided tour. Discretion is required at several of the Shiga Kogen ski areas because off-piste skiing is sort of tolerated but officially banned. The upside is that competition for the fresh powder isn’t high.

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Where is Shiga Kogen Japan?

Shiga Kogen is located in the town of Yamanouchi in the Joshinetsu National Park in the Nagano Prefecture, about 50km northeast of Nagano City and 250km northwest of Tokyo. The town of Yudanaka and the adjacent Shibu Onsen sit at the base of the mountain, with a 14km windy road that leads up to Sun Valley, the first of the Shiga ski areas.

You can get a shuttle bus to Shiga Kogen from Tokyo Haneda or Narita Airport with Nagano Snow Shuttle or a door-to-door transfer with Chuo Taxi. Or from Tokyo, take a 1.5 hour bullet train to Nagano, and then a direct bus to Shiga Kogen which takes about 70 minutes. Nagano Snow Shuttle also do train/bus combos.

It’s possible to get around most of the Shiga Kogen ski resorts via the slopes, but a lift pass also provides free access to a shuttle bus system that travels around during the daytime.

Shiga Kogen Accommodation

Shiga Kogen accommodation is spread out around many “villages”. Shiga Kogen has lots of hotels, many of which are ski-in ski-out or located very close to the slopes. There are hotels to cater to a range of budgets and styles including washitsu with tatami flooring (Japanese style rooms), semi-Japanese rooms, or yōshitsu (Western rooms). Half board packages that include breakfast and dinner are common, in part due to the limited number of restaurants available for evening dining.

Many of the hotels in the Chuo area are dated, both physically as well as mindset. It can be tricky to book some of the hotels for a long stay because they block out weekends for the Japanese and some block out dates for school groups.

The Ichinose village is one of the most popular places to stay because it’s centrally located, and it has a few bars and restaurants. Don’t get too excited about the nightlife though – this is not Niseko or Hakuba!

Another popular choice is to stay in the Yakebitaiyama area at the Shiga Kogen Prince Hotel. This hotel provides convenient access to the largest and most modern of the Shiga Kogen ski resorts.

Or Okushiga Kogen is a great place to stay considering it has two ski-in ski-out hotels and a ski school offering group lessons in English.

Kumanoyu is great if you want to stay close to quiet slopes and have access to quality indoor and outdoor onsen baths.

Shiga Kogen Accommodation Listings

Or you can stay down in the town of Yudanaka or nearby Shibu Onsen where there are lots of nice onsen hotels, restaurants and bars


The Jigokudani snow monkeys are located at the base of the mountain. Here you can see the famous Japanese snow monkeys playing and keeping warm in the hot springs. The Shiga Kogen area also has plenty of hot springs (onsens) for humans.

The Zenkoji temple in nearby Nagano and the town of Obuse make for culturally interesting day trips.
Tours That May Include Shiga Kogen

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Nagano Powder Chaser
3, 4, 5 & 6 Nights | 2, 3, 4 & 5 Days Skiing/Boarding
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Advanced
Don't let a lack of time, budget or resort knowledge hold you back from a ski/snowboard trip in Nagano this winter. Experience many of Nagano's best ski areas with guides who have an intimate knowledge; based in the culturally rich town of Yudanaka. Tours can be CUSTOMISED for 3 nights or more.
Price p/p From price based on 3-night stay with 2 days skiing/boarding) in a twin share Japanese room with private bathroom.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,065
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Nagano Beginner Packages
3, 4, 5 or 6 Nights
Ability: Beginner
This package is ideal for beginners (families, groups, couples and solos) who are looking to experience the great Japanese snow and culture, and have some support to learn to ski or snowboard. Packages include ski/snowboard hire, lessons, and the opportunity to visit the snow monkeys.
Price p/p
USD 1,065
View Details
Nagano Ski/Board Progression
10 Days | 9 Nights | 8 Skiing | Up to 8 Ski Areas
Ability: Intermediate to Strong Intermediate
Learn to ski and ride deep powder with more confidence or improve your on-piste technique whilst checking out some of Nagano's fabulous ski areas away from the masses of foreigners. In addition to the skiing and snowboarding, experience an area rich in culture and history.
Price p/p From price based on per person twin-share room with shared bathroom.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 3,008
View Details
See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Shiga Kogen here

Single-Base, Single-Ski-Area Tours

Nagano Beginner Lessons
Pick up at Yudanaka for Shiga Kogen
Ability: Beginner
Learn to ski or snowboard at Shiga Kogen with fully qualified English speaking instructors. Private lessons for the day or multiple days. Includes pick-up from your accommodation in Yudanaka (near the snow monkeys) or Shiga Kogen.
Price p/p Price based on single person joining a group.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 147
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See all Single-Base, Single-Ski-Area tours that visit Shiga Kogen here

Backcountry Skiing Tours

Lessons & Resort Tours
From 1 to 5 hours
Ability: Beginner to Strong Intermediate
Learn to ski or snowboard on the beginner slopes of Shiga Kogen or improve your ability whilst exploring the massive 19 ski areas of Shiga Kogen. Options are available for people to travel from other nearby ski areas such as Nozawa Onsen.
Price p/p *based on per person in a private group for a 1 hour lesson for 23/24 season.
base/invoice currency is Japanese Yen
Displayed rates might vary to actual due to exchange rate fluctuations.
USD 67
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Shiga Backcountry Tours
Single & Multi-Day Tours
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Venture into the backcountry of Shiga Kogen with guides with your private group. Have the mountain to yourselves. Go for easy hikes, learn avalanche safety skills, or go ski touring to explore further afield.
Price p/p *based on per person in a private group of 3 for a full day tour for 2024.
base/invoice currency is Japanese Yen
Displayed rates might vary to actual due to exchange rate fluctuations.
USD 105
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Guided Powder Tours
Single & Multi-Day Guiding
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Explore the off-piste and sidecountry at the massive ski area of Shiga Kogen or another nearby ski area. Guiding is for private groups or group tours are available some days.
Price p/p *based on per person in a private group of 5 for a 5 hour tour.
base/invoice currency is Japanese Yen
Displayed rates might vary to actual due to exchange rate fluctuations.
USD 75
View Details
See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Shiga Kogen here