Activities in Kita-Shiga Kogen
Not to be mistaken with the larger ski resort of Shiga Kogen, the resorts and beautiful alpine area of Kita-Shiga Kogen is easily accessible from Yudanaka Station.
Most famous for its Skyland Express Ropeway and Sora Terrace observation deck and café, we recommend the following activities in Kita-Shiga Kogen:
Skiing & Snowboarding / December to March
Kita-Shiga Kogen is home to multiple resorts of which Ryuoo Ski Park is the largest -15 courses but a substantial 1080 metres of vertical (850-1930). Popular with locals and young Tokyo-ites, Ryuoo has a youthful atmosphere and is dominated by snowboarders.
The resort is long, narrow and effectively split into three sections: easy (and often crowded) beginner slopes at the bottom, intermediate courses in the midsection and advanced terrain and often excellent powder at the top.
The resort is dominated by the Skyland Express Ropeway which ascends to the top of the resort at 1770 metres and the Sora Terrace Café – a popular destination in both winter and late-spring to autumn.
It is important to note that the resorts of Kita-Shiga Kogen are not connected to Shiga Kogen meaning that there is only enough to keep most skiers and snowboarders entertained for a day. But definitely worth checking-out, basing yourself in either Yudanaka Onsen or Shibu Onsen allows you to use local buses and taxis to enjoy both Shiga Kogen and the resorts of Kita-Shiga Kogen on different days.
Skyland Express Ropeway & Sora Terrace / most of the year
Servicing Ryuoo Ski Park in winter, the Skyland Express Ropeway operates for most of the year including from May until November. Rising to the upper station at 1770 metres above sea level the large gondola can carry more than 160 people and on a clear day, affords fantastic views of the valley below and the mountains of the North Japan Alps.
Located next to the upper gondola station, Sora Terrace is an observation deck and café offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The café serves typical fare including meals, snacks and drinks.
Hiking in Kita-Shiga Kogen / May to November
Using the ropeway is the perfect way to access beautiful hiking trails of Kita-Shiga Kogen. Rising to 1770 metres above sea level, the ropeway transports visitors to an beautiful alpine setting where they are free to wander and explore the upper reaches of the area.
These walks are suitable to anyone of reasonable fitness and can be enjoyed from May to November, with autumn being an especially beautiful time to visit.
Autumn Leaves of Kita-Shiga Kogen / October to November
Known as ‘koyo’, the autumn leaves of Central Japan are a truly stunning sight and Kita-Shiga Kogen is one of the best spots to enjoy them!
Exact timing is hard to predict but typically, the leaves are at their best from October to November. Using the ropeway to ascend high above opens-up an enchanting autumn realm, where you can wander and enjoy one of the most beautiful times of year.