Shiga Kogen

Shiga Kogen

Overall Rating

Shiga Kogen

Shiga Kogen3.5/519
Shiga Kogen3.5 out of 5 based on 19 reviews
  • Recommend
    84%
  • Would Revisit
    68%

Shiga Kogen - Reviews

Shiga Kogen - Reviews

Ski School Central

Jason
11/02/2020
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    4

Ski School Central

Jason
11/02/2020
Just returned home from a week exploring Shiga kogen 31st jan - 7th feb 2020.
It was my 4th time to Japan, i have ridden Hakuba, Nozawa and Niseko previously, including two weeks in Hakuba on this trip before catching the direct bus from Hakuba to Shiga which took about 90 minutes. I stayed in Ichinose village which seemed quite central to the area. Snow was sub par this season although after arriving in Shiga from Hakuba it was noticeably colder due to the higher elevation meaning the snow was in better condition and there was better coverage.
Resorts are linked by chairlift or the free shuttle buses. All accessed on one ski pass, I think i rode on 4-5 resorts in a single day with some resorts seeming to only be named differently with 2-3 lifts although they could be combined as one resort. Terrain is typical of japan with nothing overly steep or challenging for strong intermediate/ advanced riders. Beginners have ample mellow slopes to learn on at each of the resorts. Japanese ski schools are out in force on the beginner slopes although as soon as you get higher up the resort they disperse due to the size of the area. Finding off piste/tree runs was a bit of a task until i meet a local rider at 'lift up' coffee near Hoppo gondola (best coffee i've had in japan btw) who showed me some small stashes. Never saw ski patrol, let alone was bothered by them for ducking ropes or riding under chairlifts.
Alot of potential tree riding areas are not accessible due to tight placement of trees and bush. area would benefit if glading was undertaken to make more of the terrain accessible( but its japan so i wouldn't hold your breath.)
Ichinose village has no nightlife. if you want apres, go to Hakuba. This place is better suited for groups or family's that can self entertain in the evenings. Village has a convenience store and a small number of restaurants. I was told, due to Shiga Kogen being in national park, no stand alone bars are permitted and they must be inside hotels. Take plenty of cash as some stores/restaurants wont accept cards and there is no ATM in Ichinose village.
Shiga kogen has a smaller amount of westerner visitors then anywhere else i have boarded in japan. I'm glad i visited although its one of the places i don't think id rush back to. Good for 3-4 days as part of a wider trip to other areas of japan.

Shiga review Jan 2020

18/01/2020

Adam squire

Powder Puppy
Powder Puppy

Adam squire

Powder Puppy
Powder Puppy
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Intermediate
  • Rider Age
    51-70
  • Month Visited:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    3

Shiga review Jan 2020

18/01/2020
On a year where the Nagano area has unusually low snow levels we are glad we had a week here. The height meant the snow was enough (think Perisher at its best ) for lots of fun. Fantastic resort for intermediates with plenty of runs for beginners and those searching for more.Good connections ( some minor poling needed). Absolutely no lift queues. Nightlife as mentioned elsewhere really non existent with a few small restaurants. Nepalese Curry house is good as is the restaurant at hotel Dairoku which is quite traditional. This resort is brilliant if you are motivated to ski long days but not bothered by night life.

Shiga

Adam Bergstraser
01/07/2019
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    March
  • Admin Rating
    1

Shiga

Adam Bergstraser
01/07/2019
Shiga Kogen is one of my favorite resorts in Japan. Lots of different terrain. The crumpet shop at the top of Yokoteyama is a must.

Powder all to yourself

24/05/2018

Andrew Henderson

Powder Enthusiast
Powder Enthusiast

Andrew Henderson

Powder Enthusiast
Powder Enthusiast
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    N/A
  • Rider Age
    51-70
  • Month Visited:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    4

Powder all to yourself

24/05/2018
We had a week in Shiga Kogen towards the end of February in 2018. It turned out to be a good choice, because the weather was warm and the snow at the other fields around Nagano, which are lower, was suffering.
This is a huge resort by Japanese standards and it is possible to traverse all of it using the lifts. To be honest there were a few parts we checked out once and never returned to, but there was still a lot of terrain to play in.
Despite being a large and well known resort in Japan this place is not really very crowded. And there are very few people looking for powder. There were some very easy stashes to find and many of them were only ever skied by us the whole week. Off piste skiing is allowed at some parts of the resort, but for the rest we were discrete. No one hassled us.
Despite a few steep pistes (by Japan standards) and a reasonable amount of vertical, most of the off piste runs are a bit short to be truly satisfying. Some of the places that looked promising had trees that were just too tight. The lack of competition definitely balanced that for us.
There are no real villages around Shiga, just lots of hotels. A huge quantity. Quite a few are shut down. There are a few good restaurants and bars, but there isn’t the depth and range of apres ski that some other resorts offer.
I didn’t get the chance to tour around Shiga, but there are a lot of possibilities. I’d like to check it out some time!

5 out of 10

Greg
10/01/2018
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    3

5 out of 10

Greg
10/01/2018
We visited Shiga Kogen in January 2018, after skiing a week in Nozawa Onsen. The contrast between the two was very sharp - Nozawa was far more better in any ways.
First the snow. Maybe it just happened that in Nozawa the temperature was always below zero, and was snowing literally every day. In Shiga it was sometimes above zero, raining, and it made the slopes pretty icy and crap. After a day of snowing it got better but the huge amount of beginner classes planed the slopes icy again pretty quickly.
The higher slopes had better quality snow. Backcountry skiing is not really possible.
Accomodation: we stayed at the Prince Hotel, which is very 80's style. Food options are limited to the hotel restaurant which is over priced. You are stuck in the hotel, and there are no other options. Nobody speaks english.
Go Nozawa Onsen, the slopes are much better, snow better, accomodation is better, backcountry skiing is better and ofcourse you can burn yourself to death in a public onsen.

Awesome for Intermediates

POWDERHOUNDS.COM
09/03/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    4

Awesome for Intermediates

POWDERHOUNDS.COM
09/03/2016
Shiga Kogen has some fabulous strong points. Firstly it’s great for intermediate riders who want a good range of cruisers to cruise on. Unlike most other Japanese ski resorts that are very small, it offers lots of long groomed runs that head between the villages. Snow quality is also usually a huge pro.

Shiga Kogen hasn’t been over-run with westerners, possibly because it’s overlooked for its reputation for having no nightlife and a ban on off-piste skiing. Well there is a little bit of nightlife but keep your expectations low, and whilst off-piste skiing is not officially permitted at many of the ski areas, it is possible with discretion. And you won’t have much competition for the fresh powder.

Shiga Kogen is rather Japanese. Some of the hotels have staff that speak English, but there are lots of areas where only Japanese is spoken. Many parts of Shiga Kogen are sooo old fashioned in many ways. You notice lots of silly rules or opening times of establishments that are quite laughable! It’s easy to see why some parts of Shiga Kogen are going out of business.

See our Shiga Kogen overview page for more on our thoughts on the pros and cons. Also see our Japan ski resort ratings to see how we compare Shiga Kogen to other resorts.

Where the Gold Is

Jason
29/06/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Telemarker
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Admin Rating
    3

Where the Gold Is

Jason
29/06/2015
I have skied all the main resorts on both Hokkaido and Honshu over the past six years plus many of the smaller resorts that don't get mention. Shiga Kogen in my opinion ticks all the boxes.

Resorts without westerners, powder runs even if it has not snowed for 4 or 5 days, great lift infrustructure, lifts that go to over 2000 metres so when others are getting rained on the POW is still in abundance and true cultural experiences that will leave you with an authentic Japanese ski vacation. If you are a beginner or expert you will not be disappointed with this area.

Good powder, short runs, cultured

Damian
24/03/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Intermediate
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    4

Good powder, short runs, cultured

Damian
24/03/2015
OVERALL: Would definitely visit again but it would only be a max of 7 days in a trip that would later involve visiting other resorts.

PROS: In late-February to late-March 2015 I had 3 great powder days (>30cm). Runs are quite varied, ranging from beginner to intermediate to moguls to cat trails. A good shuttle bus that runs frequently and accommodates skiers. Restaurants were moderately priced and provided adequate variety (but don't expect an exquisite dining experience on the mountain). The mountain is interlinked by a decent lift system for the most part. While my primary purpose was snowboarding, Japanese culture was immersive turned out to be a great aspect of the trip as I was forced to learn phrases in another language, adopt a new culture - felt great to truly get away from home. Was uncrowded even on "busy" days through Spring (not sure about peak winter season).

CONS: Runs were really short; even from the top at Yakebitaiyama it only took around 5-7 minutes on an uninterrupted run. No runs are really steep as their "black runs" were more like reds or blues. Even though lifts interlink the mountain, traversing across involved riding for 25% and lifts for 75% of the time. Most lifts were dated and slow. Spring can cause freeze-thaw conditions making brick hard icy conditions on some days. I stayed at Sunvalley - night life was literally non existent except for the small bar next door. Also, other services shut at 6-7pm! And the lack of convenience stores nearby means no bread, milk etc... only biscuits, instant noodles, Japanese drinks and ice-creams within small shops in hotels.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Yakebitayama (especially Gondola 1), Ichinose, Terakoya (particularly the cat trail from the top), Giant black run for a "steep" run, Sunvalley for moguls

Shiga Kogen or "Shiga Heights"

Andrew
01/08/2014
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    51-70
  • Admin Rating
    3

Shiga Kogen or "Shiga Heights"

Andrew
01/08/2014
Normally I am a Niseko skier, but decided to try Honshu this time, and we were based in Nozawa Onsen with a large group. But I was looking for a change from the family friendly Nozawa, and looking for some fun terrain, so I booked local guide Kaz Sekiya (Ski Nagano) for the day who took me on a bit of an adventure around Shiga Kogen.

Shiga Kogen delivered in spades, there is plenty of fun slopes to keep skiers of all levels entertained for the day, including runs that featured at the Nagano Olympics.

We had all the elements that make skiing memorable, 50cm of snow falling as we skied, and almost non existent crowds! Kaz found me a few of the powder stashes around the mountain, so I tried to make the most of this gift. Being the highest resort in Japan the snow seems to stay nice a fresh all day.

I would definitely recommend Shiga Kogen as good starting point for your ski safari around the Nagano area.

Loved It

Alex Martin
21/01/2014
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    3

Loved It

Alex Martin
21/01/2014
I found many reviews misleading on Shiga Kogen, in particular thoughts on terrain and snow quality. I went to Shiga at the start of January 2014, and was mesmorised by the quality of the resorts. Many reports stated that it lacked off-piste skiing, but in the 12 days I spent there, I found you just had to know where to look. Some of the sub-resorts only have groomed trails, yet areas like Yakebitaiyama have powder runs with only a couple of tracks in them by lunch time. The snow here was also exceptional compared to other Honshu resorts, more fine and light.

Another great thing about Shiga Kogen is that each resort has its own character, however, this being said, it is very difficult to navigate around each resort, and I'd much rather ski than wait for a shuttle bus.
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