Shiga Kogen is the biggest ski resort in Japan boasting a total of 19 ski areas, 52 working ski lifts and countless slopes. Due to its size it is difficult to look at Shiga as a whole, so we have divided the area in three parts. This is the second out of three introductions to Shiga Kogen.
The Second Area: Okushiga & Yakebitai Area
©Okushiga Kogen Ski Resort
This second area we would like to introduce you to is the Okushiga & Yakebitai Area, which is the area found deepest in the Shiga Kogen resort. The ski area in on a mountain called Yakebitai Mountain with an altitude of 2009 meters (6591 feet). The area accommodates 3 out of 4 gondolas lifts in Shiga Kogen and has some of the longest slopes in Shiga Kogen. There is a great variety of detour slopes, including a nature forest trail, and advanced course of non-compacted snow, as well as more gradual, wide course for beginners and children at the bottom area.
* Most of the Okushiga courses are of great variety with all different levels.
Just like the central area, part of the Yakebitai Area was used for Nagano Winter Olympic in 1998. The 650 meters long course called “Olympic Course” was used for slalom skiing. The Okushiga Area is only area in Shiga Kogen where you can enjoy back-country skiing (also known as off-piste skiing). Please beware, though, that back-country skiing requires special ski gear specific needed for skiing in non-compacted snow. Also, a guide must accompany you.
* A picturesque view from a slope in Yakebitai area
Because the location is the most remote of all of the Shiga Kogen Highlands, the quality of snow is best in this area. The area is a promising ski area full of natural power snow wherever you go.
Also, at both Okushiga and Yakebitai-yama, there are family/kid parks where it is possible to have enjoy yourself with things that don’t include skis or snowboards.
*The snow adventure park located at Prince Hotel East offers various snow tools to enjoy snow activities (opens from Jan – March).
The area also offers ski/snowboard lessons in English, which can help you to get ready for skiing/snowboarding if you are a first-timer or want to advance your level to intermediate. Further information about lessons is available at Sugiyama Ski School.
From Yudanaka Station: Take the bus heading for Okushigakogen or Hotaruonsen-Suzurikawa. If you are on the bus line bound for Hotaruonsen-Suzurikawa, make sure to get off the bus at Hasuike (after approximately 30 minutes from departure from Yudanaka) and transfer to the bus bound for Okushigakogen. If you are on the bus line bound for Okushigakogen already, there is no need for transfer.
From Nagano Station: Take the bus from East Exit of JR Nagano Station, heading to Shiga Kogen. Get off at the final bus stop called Hasuike (70 mins). Then, transfer to the bus bound for Okushigakogen (25 mins)
Many of the hotels in Shiga Kogen offer rental service to their customers. Places where rental services are offered to non-customers are at Prince Hotel & Resorts in the Yakebitai area, and Okushiga Kogen Hotel in the Okushigakogen area.
For more information on the other areas of Shiga Kogen please click one of the below links: