How to Get to Shiga Kogen – Nagano Ski Resorts Info
Located approximately 45KM (1 hour drive) to the east of Nagano City and 280KM (<5 hours drive) to the northwest of Tokyo, Shiga Kogen is Japan’s largest ski resort, boasting over 600 hectares of terrain, Japan’s highest chair-lifted ski run, and Nagano’s best powder! On this page you will find the following information:
As a host venue for the 1998 Winter Olympics, Shiga’s credentials speak for themselves. Less developed and less crowded than other popular Nagano resorts, Shiga Kogen is the perfect destination for visitors looking for the beauty and freedom of a uniquely Japanese resort, easily accessible from the following points of origin.
Most people headed to Shiga Kogen will approach from the west via Nagano City. As the nearest major city to Shiga Kogen, Nagano acts as the gateway and transport hub for most of the ski resorts in the region. Express buses run from Nagano Station to Shiga Kogen while Nagano Dentetsu train line will get you as far as Yudanaka Station – the nearest train station to the resort – from where you can take local buses or a taxi onto Shiga. We hope the following information assists with planning your visit to Shiga Kogen. Let’s start with the most obvious question:
WHERE IS SHIGA KOGEN?
Shiga Kogen sits Located 45KM (1 hour drive) to the east of Nagano City and 280KM (<5 hours drive) to the northwest of Tokyo. When people talk of Shiga Kogen, they are speaking of an mountainous area that includes Shiga Kogen Shiga Resort and Shiga Kogen Highlands – a UNESCO Biopshere. The areas largely overlap and sit within the even large Joshinetsu Kogen National Park. Given the size of the area, there are several ways to approach Shiga however most international visitors will do so from the west, via Nagano Station. As a stop on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line, Nagano Station is easy to reach from Tokyo. Once there, express buses will take you onto the Shiga Kogen Yamanoeki (Mountain Station) – the most convenient transport hub in the area – and additional stops. Alternatively, the Nagano Dentetsu (Nagaden) train line will get you as far as Yudanaka Station, from where you can use local bus services or a taxi onto Shiga Kogen. Most famous as the largest ski resort in Japan, Shiga Kogen also boasts Nagano’s longest ski season while outside of winter, the area offers some of Central Japan’s best hiking and outdoor experiences. With the Jigokudani Monkey Park lying in the foothills of the national park, there’s plenty of reasons to visit Shiga Kogen.
HOW TO GET TO SHIGA KOGEN
When heading to Shiga Kogen using public transport you can do so by express bus from Nagano Station, local buses from Yudanaka Station and in winter, direct express buses from the Tokyo airports and other locations. In this section you will find information on how to reach Shiga Kogen from the following starting points:
We endeavour to keep this information as up-to-date as possible and hope it is of assistance in planning your visit. It is worth noting that Shiga Kogen is an expansive area that most visitors approach from the west, along the road from the expressway and Nagano City. When doing so, the first ski fields you will come to are Sun Valley followed by Hasuike and Maruike. The Shiga Kogen Yamanoeki (Mountain Station) is located in this area and is the most convenient transport hub in the resort – see ‘How to Get Around Shiga Kogen’ below for further information. All TRAVEL TIMES LISTED BELOW ARE WHEN USING PUBLIC TRANSPORT i.e. train and/or bus, noting that if you drive yourself or use a private charter the total travel time to Shiga Kogen might be notably shorter:
FROM NAGANO STATION / between 70 to 90 minutes by express bus
When traveling to Shiga Kogen from Nagano Station, visitors have the option of using the Nagaden Express Bus service directly to Shiga – via the Jigokudani Monkey Park (discussed below) – or taking the Nagaden limted express train to Yudanaka Station and switching onto a local bus headed for the resort – again, via the Jigokudani Monkey Park. Local train services also run all the way to Yudanaka Station but given the minimal cost difference and substantial time saving, we recommend only using limited express services if opting to use the train.
Bus: the Nagaden Express Bus takes between 70 to 90 minutes and costs JPY1800-2100 per person depending where in Shiga you want to get-off. Running to Shiga Kogen (via the Snow Monkey Park), the express bus is the easiest and most convenient way to get to the resort directly from Nagano Station.
Exit the station’s East Exit and descend to the ground floor by the stairs or elevator. The Nagaden Express Bus departs from Bus Stop 23 and takes approx. 70 minutes to reach the Shiga Kogen Yamanoeki Bus Station in the Hasuike ski fields – the gateway stop for the resort- and 90 minutes to reach Okushiga (the most distant area of the resort). Tickets are bought on the bus – directly from the driver with no reservation required – with numerous services each day during winter. For the bus schedule, see our ‘Nagaden Shiga Kogen Express Bus Timetable’ page.
Train: the limited express train takes approx. 50 minutes to Yudanaka Station and costs JPY1290, while local trains take notably longer, approx. 110+ minutes and costs JPY1190, using the Nagano Dentetsu Line. For the small difference in price, the ease, speed, and comfort of the express services are your best bet. To reach the train, exit the station via the Zenkoji Exit and take the escalator heading underground (to your right) to the Nagano Dentetsu Line. Tickets can be bought at the machines or ticket window to the side. For the train schedule, refer to our ‘Nagano Dentetsu Line Timetable’ page. Once at Yudanaka Station, follow the directions below.
FROM YUDANAKA STATION / between 25 to 75 minutes
Yudanaka Station is the nearest train station to Shiga Kogen – and Jigokudani Monkey Park – with two local buses services operating from outside the station to different areas of the resort. While this can seem a little confusing, the journey is easily navigable. The Shiga Kogen Line heads to Shiga Kogen with its final destination being Hotaru Onsen (Suzurikawa) while the Shiga Kogen Express Line also services Shiga Kogen but with a final destination of Okushiga Kogen Hotel. Expect the following travel times by local bus from Yudanaka Station:
For example, if you are staying in Ichinose, Prince Hotel, or Okushiga areas, you need to take the Shiga Kogen Express Line bus bound for Okushiga and disembark at the bus stop named after area you are aiming for i.e. Ichinose, Prince Hotel West/South/East, Okushiga Kogen Hotel, etc. Alternatively, if you are headed to the Yokoteyama area, take the Shiga Kogen Line bus bound for Hotaru Onsen (Suzurikawa) and get off the bus at Hotaru Onsen or Kumanoyu.
Both bus lines first stop in Shibu Onsen, the Snow Monkey Park and at the Shiga Kogen Yamanoeki in Hasuike (pictured below) – the gateway bus terminal of Shiga Kogen. Therefore, no matter where you are headed to or staying in Shiga Kogen, you can take either bus as far as the Hasuike bus stop in Shiga Kogen, and change lines there if necessary. You pay the driver as you disembark the bus. The time taken from the station to different parts of the resort vary quite a lot. For further information regarding how to use the buses, please refer to our ‘Nagaden Local Bus’ page.
FROM THE JIGOKUDANI MONKEY PARK / between 30 to 60 minutes
The local bus services that run from Yudanaka Station to Shiga Kogen do so via the Jigokudani Monkey Park. Information regarding fares and timetables can be found through our ‘Nagaden Local Bus Timetable’ page. It will take been 30 to 60 minutes (depending on which part of Shiga Kogen you are coming from) and will cost between JPY580 to JPY1100. No reservation is needed. You simply pay for your ticket on the bus when disembarking.
FROM NOZAWA ONSEN / between 2 to 2.5 hours (via Nagano Station)
The easiest option to reach Shiga Kogen from Nozawa Onsen is to take the Nozawa Onsen Liner or taxi to Iiyama Station and from there, return to Nagano Station. Once at Nagano, follow the directions above onto Shiga. For further information, please refer to our ‘Iiyama Station’ page. Alternatively, a private charter from Nozawa to Shiga is a great option for groups including families who want to make the transfer as easy and quick as possible. Including transport of all your ski and snowboard gear, we’ll pick you up and drop you off directly at your accommodation – see below for details.
FROM MYOKO KOGEN / between 1.5 to 2.5 hours (via Nagano Station)
From Myoko Kogen, take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Joetsu-Myoko Station to Nagano Station. This service takes approximately 20 minutes. Alternatively, take the local Echigo Tokimeki Railway to Myoko-Kogen and switch to the Shinano Railway bound for Nagano Station. This option takes notably longer, around 80 minutes. Once in Nagano, follow the directions above. Much like those in Nozawa Onsen, a private transfer from Myoko to Shiga Kogen is a great option – see below for details.
FROM HAKUBA / between 2.5 to 3.5 hours (via Nagano Station)
From Hakuba, take the express bus from the Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal to Nagano Station. Once at the station, follow the directions above to Shiga Kogen. Alternatively, a private charter directly from any resort in Hakuba to Shiga Kogen is a great option for visitors wanting ease of transport between the resorts – see below for details.
FROM TOKYO / between 3 to 4 hours
Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen line to Nagano Station from either Tokyo Station or Ueno Station. The journey takes between 90 to 110 minutes (depending on which train you take) and costs between JPY8000-9000 one-way. The Kagayaki and Hakutaka services starting from Tokyo Station are the fastest while the Asama service, which originates at Ueno Station, is slower, stopping at more stations en route to Nagano. Once at Nagano, follow the directions above. For full details regarding travel passes covering travel to and from Nagano, please refer to our relevant page: Japan Rail (JR) Pass / JR East Nagano & Niigata Pass / JR Hokuriku Arch Pass.
FROM NARITA AIRPORT / between 5 to 6 hours
To reach Shiga Kogen by train from Narita Airport, you will need to go via central Tokyo and then onto Nagano from where you can take the express bus. Two rapid train services connect Narita Airport to central Tokyo:
1 / the Narita Express (NEX) runs from Narita to Tokyo Station. It takes 55 minutes to reach Tokyo Station (depending on the service) and costs JPY3070 with trains departing every 30 to 60 minutes. Once at Tokyo Station, follow the directions above.
2 / the Keisei Skyliner runs from Narita to Ueno Station. It takes between 4o to 55 minutes to reach Ueno Station and costs JPY2520 with trains departing every 30 to 40 minutes. Once at Ueno Station, follow the directions above.
Both Tokyo and Ueno are stops on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line connecting the capital to Nagano. Alternatively, in winter a shuttle bus operates a couple of times each day from Narita to Shiga Kogen, taking approx. 6 hours and costs JPY13,900. The ticket desk can be found in the arrival hall of Narita’s Terminal 2.
FROM HANEDA AIRPORT / between 5 to 6 hours
To reach Shiga Kogen by train from Haneda Airport, you will need to go via central Tokyo and then onto Nagano from where you can take the express bus. Two train services connect Haneda Airport to central Tokyo:
1 / the Tokyo Monorail connects the airport to Tokyo Station via Hamamatsucho Station in around 30 minutes. From the airport take the monorail to Hamamatsucho Station (20 min/JPY170) and then switch to the JR Yamanote Line or JR Keihin-Tohoku/Negishi Line Rapid bound for Tokyo Station (5 min/JPY160) – a total journey of around 30-minutes / JPY660 one-way. Once at Tokyo Station, follow the directions above.
2 / the Keikyu Railway connects the airport to Tokyo Station via Shinagawa Station. Take the Keikyu Airport bound to Shinagawa Station (approx.11 min/JPY300) and transfer to the Yamanote Line bound for Osaki to reach Tokyo Station- 13 min / JPY170 or a total journey of around 30 min / JPY470.
Alternatively, in winter a shuttle bus operates a couple of times each day from Haneda to Shiga Kogen, taking approx.5.5 hours and costs JPY13,900.
FROM KANAZAWA / between 2.5 to 3.5 hours
Reaching Shiga Kogen from Kanazawa Station is straight-forward. As the northern terminus of the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line, any service bound for Tokyo as it will stop at Nagano Station. Once at Nagano, follow the directions above.
FROM NAGOYA, KYOTO & OSAKA / 5+ hours
All three cities are connected to Tokyo Station by the Tokaido Shinkansen Line. When coming from Nagoya Station, take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Tokyo Station and transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen heading north to Nagano Station. Once in Nagano, follow the directions above. For visitors coming from Kyoto or Osaka, you have two options to reach Shiga Kogen via Nagano Station: 1. also take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Tokyo and transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen to reach Nagano or 2. take the Thunderbird rapid service to Kanazawa and transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen heading south to Nagano and Tokyo. Once in Nagano, follow the directions above.
HOW TO GET AROUND SHIGA KOGEN
Located in the Hasuike area of the resort, the Shiga Kogen Yamanoeki (Bus Station) is a multi-purpose building and stop for all express and local bus services. All Shiga Kogen Express Bus services stop here, with some terminating at this point while others continue onto other areas of the resort. All local bus services including those that come to Shiga Kogen from Yudanaka Station and others that circulate within the resort, also stop here making it the most convenient transport hub in the resort. Inside the building, a cafe and restaurant serve food and drinks through the day while rental services, a small store, toilets and change rooms are also available while immediately next to the building, the ‘Pulse Gondola’ drops down to the base of the Giant and Nishitateyama ski fields.
During winter, anyone holding a valid ski passes can use the buses circulating within the resort free-of-charge including to the most distant ski fields including Okushiga, Kumanoyu and Yokoteyama. Okushiga is connected to the overall resort however the most distant areas, Kumanoyu and Yokoteyama, are not. Skiers and boarders wanting to head to either of those areas will need to use the local bus services, a taxi or drive themselves. While all other areas are connected allowing you to ski/board beteween them, the free use of local buses is advantageous at the end of the day when you might be faraway from your starting point/accommodation and too tired to get yourself back. Simply find the nearest bus stop and make use of the service for free. Buses operate regularly to all parts of the resort throughout the day from December to March making it easy to get around.
SHIGA KOGEN SKI RESORT: THE STATS & FACTS
As Japan’s largest and highest ski resort, Shiga Kogen boasts Nagano’s longest season and mot reliable snow conditions. An expansive resort covered by a common, all-mountain pass, Shiga is the perfect destination for visitors wanting to enjoy a multi-day ski or snowboard adventure at one of Japan’s best resorts. Our ‘Shiga Kogen Ski Resort’ main page has all the stats, facts and highlights to entice you to plan and book your winter getaway.
30 THINGS TO DO AROUND SHIGA KOGEN & WHERE TO STAY
As Japan’s largest resort, Shiga Kogen offers visitors an unmatched extent of interconnected ski runs to enjoy each winter along with activities including snowmobiling, snowshoeing, family activity areas and plenty more including the famous snow monkeys of Jigokudani – located nearby the resort. Our ‘30 Things to Do Around Shiga Kogen & Where to Stay’ page has some great tips and suggestions of what’s on offer including a breakdown of the accommodation areas in and around the resort. We hope it entices you to visit!
BOOK WITH US! NAGANO’S NO.1 TOUR & CHARTER OPERATOR
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.
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? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get planning together!