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Need to escape or feel the thrill of sliding down a snowy slope? Japan is famous for having the most beautiful ski slopes in the world. Over half of the archipelago is covered by mountains, it is the ideal spot to enjoy the beautiful sensations of gliding. Head towards the Shiga Kogen area, in the heart of the Japanese Alps, just 50km from Nagano.
15 Kilometre Slopes
The Shiga Kogen station can boast having hosted the Nagano Olympics in 1998, and regularly hosting the World Ski Championships. No wonder with these 18 trails that cover 15 kilometers of descents around Mount Yakebitai, some very steep. More experienced skiers should not miss the chance to test the Olympic Run black slope, with its slope at 30 ° over 650 meters. The ski lifts operate from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm (chairlifts and gondola lifts) to bring you to the peaks of the slopes which reach 2,000 meters,; where a magnificent view of the whole valley will be offered to you.
The season starts in early December and ends in early May (be careful not to come during Golden Week because the resort is overcrowded). In general, there is about 3.50 meters of snow on the slopes.
The station owes its fame and popularity to the area’s natural landscape. Indeed, Shiga Kogen has snow of incredible quality, among the best in the world. The shape of the snowflakes is more rounded than usual, which gives it an extraordinary lightness. And it’s near impossible to compact the snow, which is great. The sensation of sliding down the mountain is thus enhanced. Every night, the staff works to rework the snow for 4 to 5 hours after the passage of athletes, to ensure a top-quality experience every day. Note a very nice initiative from the resort, dedicated to lovers of skiing: every Saturday and Sunday, the station offers 60 people the First Ride, that is to say, the first descent on immaculate snow. The slopes are accessible from 8 am for those lucky people (purchase and reservation required at the gondola counters). If you are a great champion, know that a special pass exists for French skiers. The domain of Shiga Kogen is a partner of the domain of the Three Valleys in the Alps. If you have a Three Valleys season pass, you will be offered a three-day consecutive package at Shiga Kogen.
A Ski Area for the Whole Family
If you are traveling with your family, the Family Snow Park will offer you a small area dedicated to learning skiing for the little ones. Why not try sledding, skating or cycling on the snow? If it’s the outdoors that tempts you, you can also embark on a snow scooter ride. In addition, if you decide to stay in a hotel in the Seibu group, they have discounted rates for children under 12 years old.
The region offers its charms to nature lovers. A few kilometers from the resort, the Snow Monkey Park invites you to meet the macaques of Japan in their natural habitat. You can also relax in then Kanbayashi Onsen which offers hot spring baths in a breathtaking environment. In the region of Nagano, excellent breweries will allow you the chance to taste local sake.
Rent Equipment on Site
If you travel light, the resort has equipment for sale or rental. On the ground floor of Shiga Kogen Prince East Wing Hotel, at the foot of the slopes, a corner store will be stocked with boards, skis, boots and also warm clothes. It’s possible to rent for a few hours or several days. You will also be able to book ski lessons and snowboard lessons from qualified professionals (from 8,000 yen).
How to Get There?
Located 50km from Nagano, Shiga Kogen is ideally midway between Kanazawa and Tokyo. A common train line, the Shinkansen Hokuriku Line, connects its three cities together. Arrive in Nagano from Kanazawa in 1h 05 mins and from Tokyo in 1h 25mins. Once in Nagano, you can easily rent a vehicle to move more freely in the area. Nevertheless, Japan and pragmatism require, a bus is a link between the station and the ski resort. The frequency is average, but with a little organization, you can move without problems. Take the Nagaden bus line from Nagano Station to Shiga Kogen Ski Resort in 1h24 (2,000 yen).
(The bus will make also make a stop at the Snow Monkey Park to put on tire chains.) The road will then be winding and mountainous. If the weather lends itself, you will see sublime landscapes.
Tip! This is something unique in Japan: we take a ticket when we get on a bus, and we pay the driver at the exit.
At the foot of the slopes, three excellent hotels of the Seibu group are availabl to host you. I recommend the excellent Shiga Kogen Prince Hotel East Wing, the most luxurious of them, for its comfortable rooms, tasty cuisine and impeccable services.
Note that if you stay in these hotels, a special rate will be offered to visit the Snow Monkey Park: a round trip ticket by bus are sold at the reception for only 1,000 yen. This ticket does not include the admission fee for the Snow Monkey Park.
|Name||Shiga Kogen Ski Resort|
|Address||〒381-0401 Nagano-ken, Shimotakai-gun, Yamanouchi-machi, 志賀高原焼額山|
|Access||[map]〒381-0401 Nagano-ken, Shimotakai-gun, Yamanouchi-machi, 志賀高原焼額山[/map]|
|Opening Hours||Ski lift from 8:30 to 16:00|
|Price Range||Starting from 4,000 yen|