Longest Season & Best 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 best 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!
All ski areas are covered by one 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 JPY5,500 for a 1-day pass or JPY4,800 for 4 hours for adults – with an array of other ticketing options – this represents great value for money!
As the table above shows, lift passes are cheaper in the early season (through early December) and again in spring (April to May), 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 JPY5500 for a 1-day adult lift pass, Shiga Kogen’s 80+ km of ski runs stand alone as the best value in Japan.
To put that in perspective, nearby Nozawa Onsen offers visitors the next most runs at a Nagano resort with 36 courses (JPY5,500 lift pass), while Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field has the most runs in Hakuba Valley, at 23 courses (JPY6,100 lift pass). Rusutsu has the most ski runs of any single resort in Hokkaido with 37 courses (JPY8,000 lift pass). Shiga is very simply unmatched in its size and value for money.
*Exact season dates and prices for winter 2020/21 have yet to be announced. The information provided above is accurate at time of publication.