Longest Season & Most Reliable Powder in Nagano

Longest Season & Most Reliable Powder in Nagano


Located between 1340 and 2307 meters, Shiga Kogen is Japan’s highest ski resort and notably higher than the nearby resorts of Hakuba, Myoko and Nozawa Onsen which peak at just over 1800 meters. Why does this matter? Shiga Kogen’s altitude means that it receives snow earlier and for longer than other resorts in Nagano. With the bottom ski areas starting at 1340 meters, Shiga’s lowest ski runs are notably higher than those of other resorts, meaning that visitors can be confident that the snow conditions in Shiga Kogen will be as good, if not better, than any resort in the region at the time of their visit.


Shiga’s season starts earlier and goes longer with some ski areas opening as early as late-November and staying open until late-April or even into May – long after the other resorts of closed for the season. As such, Shiga offers visitors Nagano’s best spring-skiing. Not only does Shiga lay claim the longest season, it also lays claim to the most reliable powder in Nagano! Nestled within the Joshinetsu Kogen National Park, the ski fields are enclosed on all sides by high mountain ranges. This landscape protects it from warm southern winds coming from the Pacific Ocean which increase temperatures, melt snow, and result in heavier, wetter snow experienced at some other resorts.


At the same time, Shiga is subjected to very cold winds originating as far away as Siberia and coming across the Sea of Japan. These winds are extremely strong and cold and hit the higher elevations of Shiga keeping temperatures very cold throughout winter. These conditions result in very dry powder snow which stays on the ground for longer and in better condition. Shiga Kogen makes the most of its powder by intentionally leaving many ski areas ungroomed the morning after a fresh dump of snow – paradise for true powderhounds!


As the table above shows, Shiga Kogen includes multiple ski fields ascending to above or around 2000 metres with all areas listed covered by the resort’s all-mountain pass. Whether you are visiting Shiga Kogen for a morning, a day, or longer, the resort offers a single/common electronic pass that covers all ski areas. At JPY6000 for a 1-day pass or JPY5200 for 4 hours for adults – with an array of other ticketing options – this represents great value for money!


Lift passes are even cheaper in the early season before the full resort opening and again in spring, with further discounts for seniors, students, persons with disabilities, and a parent-child combination ticket. Multi-day tickets offer further value for visitors who want to get the most of their visit to Shiga. At JPY6000 for a 1-day adult lift pass, Shiga Kogen’s 600 hectares of terrain – of which 425 hectares are fully connected – stand alone as the best value in Japan. To put that in perspective, nearby Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort offers visitors the next most terrain in Nagano at 300 hectares (JPY5200 for a lift pass) while Hakuba Happo-One Snow Resort has the next most terrain at 220 hectares (JPY5500 for a lift pass). Niseko United is the largest resort in Hokkaido, offering 325 hectares of terrain (JPY8500 for a lift pass) followed by Rusutsu Ski Resort at 236 hectares (JPY8800 for a lift pass). As you can see, Shiga is unmatched in its size and value for money.

*Exact season dates and prices for winter 2022/23 have yet to be announced. The information provided above is accurate at time of publication.



Locally-based and operating all year round, Snow Monkey Resorts is Nagano’s No.1 tour and charter operator. We have the local knowledge of where and when to go, to help you discover and enjoy the region’s many ski resorts and other fantastic destinations and activities including accommodation and ski packages in Shiga Kogen.


For guests wanting to access the resorts in the comfort of their own transport, we can arrange a private tour or charter customised to fit your needs, starting and ending at any destination including from/to Nagano Station and any resort in the region. Our drivers and vehicles are fully certified, allowing us to transport you to and from your preferred destinations in combination with any activity that suits your schedule.


All vehicles are fitted with a protective screen – separating the driver from passenger and luggage area – and our drivers wear protective masks, allowing you to move between your destinations in comfort and safety. We can arrange both private tours with an English-speaking guide or a private charter, including a private vehicle and driver but without a guide. We’d love to be part of that experience and help you discover even more!

Why choose us?

Awarded a 2022 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award for our 1-Day Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake Tour – recognised as one of the Top 10 Experiences in Japan – we have the local knowledge and experience to help you get the most out of your time in Nagano and Central Japan.

Got a question about visiting Shiga Kogen and Nagano this winter? Click on the INQUIRY button below or contact us and let’s get planning together!

Longest Season & Most Reliable Powder in Nagano