Shiga Kogen is the biggest ski resort in Japan with 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. To make it easier for you, we have divided the highlands in three main areas. This is the first out of three introductions to the Shiga Kogen area.


    The First Area: The Central Area

    When splitting up Shiga Kogen in three areas, in the center you will find the Central Area. This the area you will undoubtedly go to or go through when in Shiga Kogen.

    English map

    ©Shiga Kogen Resort Area


    The Central Ski Area is a combination of many ski areas that are all relatively close to each other. It is the gateway to the rest of the ski resorts of Shiga Kogen and has the most ski slopes with 1 major gondola, 30 ski lifts, and 50 different slopes. 50% of the slopes are beginner level, 35% intermediate and 15% are advanced. Inclination ranges from an almost flat 6° (connecting course) up to a whopping 39°!


    The area has major slopes that were used for Nagano Winter Olympics in 1998.  One slope was used for the Olympic alpine skiing and is called the “Olympic Course”. It is found in the Higashidateyama area and can be accessed by taking the Higashidateyama gondola lift. This lift will take you up to an elevation of 1970m (6463 feet) and is as long as 1.6 km (a mile). This main slope is for high-intermediate to advanced skiers but also has a 4 km. route through a forest for beginners or low-intermediates.

    shiga ski higashidate gondola

    * Higashidateyama gondola lift takes you up to the highest spot of the central area.


    There is also a slope called Takamagahara, which was used by the Olympic athletes for their warm-up. The lift takes you to an altitude of 1900 meters (or 6233 feet), and gives you a stunning view of the entire Shiga Kogen Highlands.

    Shiga-takamagahara ski slope

    Shiga-view from takamagahara ski slope

    shiga ski takamagahara sunset

    *The view (daytime/sunset) from the Takamagahara slope.


    If you want to enjoy skiing/snowboarding in the Central Area, we recommend you start in Ichinose. Ichinose is located in the middle of the Shiga Kogen ski resorts and surrounded by major courses. Ichinose accommodates many hotels, restaurants, convenience stores, places for currency exchange, a medical facility, and rental stores. All the necessary facilities for you to enjoy your stay. It also borders to Yakebitai and Okushiga Area, (which are introduced in the other blog) so you can easily get to other locations. There is also a kid/family park available for fun that doesn’t include going down the actual slopes on skis or snowboards.

    Shiga-Ichinose family ski

    *Ichinose family slope is one of the longest courses in the Central Area.



    From Yudanaka Station: Take the bus heading for Okushigakogen or Hotaruonsen-Suzurikawa. If you are on the line bound for Hotaruonsen-Suzurikawa, make sure to get off the bus at Hasuike (after approximately 30 minutes) and transfer the bus bound for Okushigakogen and get off the bus at “Ichinose Ski-Jyo” after a 15 minute ride. If you are already on the bus line bound for Okushigakogen, there is no need of transfer.

    nagaden bus yudanaka

    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, located in the central area (70 mins). Then, transfer the bus bound for Okushigakogen and get off the bus at “Ichinose Ski-Jyo” after 15 minutes ride.




    Many of the hotels in Shiga Kogen offer rental service to their customers on their own. Besides, there are four rental stores where you can rent your gears at the Central Area. For information on rentals, you can check out the Snow Can website here.



    To see in introduction on the other two areas of Shiga Kogen please click one of the below links:

    Okushiga & Yakebitai Area

    Yokoteyama Area