Getting To Shiga Kogen

Getting To Shiga Kogen

Getting To Shiga Kogen

There are various options for how to get to Shiga Kogen Japan. The travel information and booking options include Shiga Kogen bus transfers to/from the airports to Shiga Kogen and trains to Shiga. Other Shiga Kogen transport information includes getting around the Shiga ski areas and other ski resorts nearby.

Where is Shiga Kogen?

Shiga Kogen, otherwise known as Shiga Heights, is located in Yamanouchi in the Joshinetsu National Park in the northeast of Nagano Prefecture. Ichinose (one of the main villages) is about 50km northeast of Nagano and approximately 250km northwest of Tokyo.

Shiga Kogen is a collection of 19 different ski areas, most of which have an associated village. The villages are spread out along two windy mountain roads. It’s about 14km from Okushigakogen at the northern end of the Shiga Kogen to Hasuike, a main intersection in the lower parts of Shiga Kogen. From Hasuike, it’s about a 7km drive along route 292 to the ski area in the southern most part of Shiga Kogen.

The town of Yudanaka (and the adjacent Shibu Onsen) sits at the base of the mountain, with a 14km windy road that leads up to Sun Valley, the first of the Shiga ski areas.


Tokyo Narita is the most convenient gateway airport for most international travellers, or Tokyo Haneda is another option. To search for flights to Tokyo and compare lots of different airlines and routes, use one of our use recommended flight aggregators

Travel to Shiga Kogen

There are 4 main ways to get to Shiga Kogen from Narita Airport or Haneda Airport:
  1. Direct Shiga Kogen bus with Nagano Snow Shuttle
  2. Train/bullet train to Nagano/bus
  3. Train/bullet train to Nagano/train from Nagano to Yudanaka/bus
  4. Self-driving
  5. Door to door transfer with Chuo Taxi

Option 1: Shuttle Bus

Taking the Shiga Kogen bus provides the advantage of not having to lug your gear through train stations and onto trains, however there are only a couple of schedules per day between Narita or Haneda Airport and Shiga Kogen, which takes about 5.5 hours. The day bus stops at various bus stops throughout Shiga Kogen whilst the night bus stops at your accommodation (check that your accommodation will allow you to check in early in the morning). The buses run through the main part of the season, but not in the late season.

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Option 2: Train/train/bus

The train/train/bus combo can be faster than the direct shuttle and provides the opportunity to experience bullet train travel.

Part 1: From Narita Airport to Nagano
Travelling from Narita Airport (or Haneda) involves catching 2 trains. The first train is either a Keiser Skyliner from the Narita Airport terminals to Ueno, or a Narita Express Train (NEX) to Tokyo (for which you can use a Rail Pass) which takes about an hour. The second train is a bullet train (shinkansen) from Ueno or Tokyo to Nagano, which takes about 90 minutes.

Departures are pretty regular during the main part of the day, but you can check Hyperdia for specific times. If you arrive into Nagano late in the day you may need to stop-over in one of the Nagano hotels.

One way to catch the NEX and the Shinkansen is to buy a Japan Rail pass. See our Japan rail travel page for more information on the JR East Pass (Nagano Niigata) including is it worth purchasing a JR East Pass

For train travel to Nagano from Kyoto, Nagoya, Osaka, or other parts of Japan, see Hyperdia for schedules, routes and fares.

Part 2: Bus from Nagano to Shiga Kogen
Inexpensive Nagaden buses depart regularly from the east (Higashi) exit bus stops at Nagano train station. You can check the Nagaden Express website for the latest timetables (in Japanese but hopefully you can use google translator). There are regular buses to the main/northern Shiga Kogen villages such as Okushiga Kogen, Yakebitaiyama and Ichinose. Buses to the little villages of Kidoike and Kumanoyo are less regular. The other option is to catch the bus to Hasuike, and then get the local shuttle to Kumanoyu.

You can also get bus schedules if you stop in at the Nagano Information Centre at the train station. They have English speaking staff and can provide bus timetables to get to Shiga Kogen, maps of Shiga Kogen, and information regarding activities around Nagano.

The bus trip takes about 70 minutes from Nagano to Sun Valley and another 10-15 minutes to Ichinose and Yakebi. The (inexpensive) bus fare needs to be paid in cash on the bus.

Option 3: Bus from Yudanaka Station

This is the same as for Option 2 to get to Nagano. From Nagano you can catch a local train to Yudanaka on the Nagano Dentetsu line. This train is not covered on the Japan Rail Pass. From Yudanaka train station, there are hourly buses (that are very inexpensive) up to the different villages of Shiga Kogen or you could catch a taxi.

Option 4: Driving to Shiga Kogen

Driving is a great option if you plan to visit various ski resorts in the region. You can get a rental car with English GPS to aid navigation (and enter the phone number of the hotel or resort into the GPS).
The drive from Tokyo takes about 5 hours. Unlike many other Japanese ski resorts where you can pretty much just drive up to the ski resort, the road up to Shiga Kogen is very windy and often snow covered. Snow tyres are highly recommended or even chains. The drive from Yudanaka town up to the main parts of Shiga Kogen takes about 30 minutes. [AdListings Filter="Honshu Car Rentals"]

Option 5: Chuo Taxi

Chuo Taxi offer very convenient door to door transfers from the airports to Shiga Kogen. Wait times for shared shuttles are minimal and it doesn't cost as much as you'd think. Private shuttles are reasonably priced for a group and offer transport according to your timetable.

NB For the 2022/23 season, Chuo Taxi will only be offering private shuttles 

Getting Around Shiga Kogen

Shiga Kogen is very spread out. The various villages are distributed along a stretch of mountainous road approximately 21km long. So whilst it’s possible to navigate each of the villages on foot, it’s obviously not possible to walk between the villages of Shiga Kogen.
Shuttle buses operate between the villages, which are complimentary if you have a lift pass. Shuttle timetables are available from some accommodations, the Hasuike Information Centre, the Nagano Information Centre, or on the bus stops. The free shuttles operate from 8:30am to about 17:30, and a paid evening bus goes until about 8:30pm.

Skiing or boarding is an easy way to get around between the villages because the ski areas in the northeast are inter-connected. However if you want to get between the northeast villages and the southeast resorts, you’ll need to catch a shuttle bus. Schedules from the furthest northeast villages (e.g. Yakebi, Ichinose, Okushigakogen) are irregular, so either ski or catch a bus to Hasuike. From Hasuike there are more regular bus services to Kumanoyu and Yokoteyama. The buses stop at every stop, so it’s a painstaking hour long trip from one end of Shiga Kogen to the other.

It’s also possible to book a taxi to get around Shiga Kogen, although it’s somewhat expensive because the taxi may come from the bottom of the mountain.

Other Ski Resorts Nearby

Kita Shiga Kogen (ie north Shiga Kogen) is very close to Shiga Kogen as the crow flies, with Ryuoo Ski Park being just over the hill from Okushiga Kogen, however the drive to Kita Shiga Kogen is a decent distance via Yudanaka. The Mt Kosha ski resorts of Kijimadaira, Yomase Onsen, Yamabiko no Oka, and X-Jam Takaifuji are also very close by. These resorts are mostly easily accessed if you have your own wheels or are on a muti-resort tour. There are other major Nagano ski resorts, so it’s easy to combine Shiga Kogen with another ski resort or two on your Japan ski holiday. Nearby ski resorts include Nozawa Onsen, Myoko Kogen (in Niigata) and Hakuba. There are shuttle buses between Shiga Kogen (Inchinose), Hakuba, Madarao/Tangram and Nozawa Onsen with Nagano Snow Shuttle (Inter-Resort).

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Another way to get to nearby ski resorts is to catch the bus back into Nagano and then get another bus out, but this is somewhat time consuming. Otherwise you can catch a taxi.-->