Recommended Places to Stay in Shiga Kogen
As Japan’s largest ski resort, Shiga Kogen is comprised of multiple ski areas with accommodation spread across a wide area. There are approximately 100 hotels or other accommodation options scattered throughout the resort. Ranging from large premium hotels to basic ski lodges, Shiga Kogen offers visitors plenty of choice and a little confusion, when choosing where to stay.
The overall resort is comprised of 18 individual ski areas – some large, some small. Most are interconnected, combining to create Japan’s greatest expanse of skiable terrain. Four mountain peaks ascend above the valleys, providing skiers and snowboaders stunning vistas and Nagano’s best powder snow. While distinctly Japanese in character, Shiga Kogen’s size and topography- spread across valleys and between mountains – also gives the resort a somewhat European atmosphere.
When choosing where to plant your flag, the best approach is to identify what you want from your stay and which areas best suit those needs. With that in mind, we recommend the following areas:
Surrounded by the ski fields of Ichinose Family, Ichinose Diamond, Tanne and Ichinose Yamanokami, Ichinose Village boasts the greatest number of hotels and guesthouses, restaurants and bars. While Shiga can’t match resorts like Nozawa Onsen or Hakuba Happo One for nightlife, visitors after some entertainment after dark should consider staying in Ichinose. But don’t expect too much. Shiga Kogen is pretty quiet after dark. The larger hotels of Ichinose are popular with Japanese school groups who tend to crowd the central ski runs, so if you want to avoid that, look for accommodation elsewhere in the resort.
On the fringe of Shiga Kogen’s most central village, Takamagahara is another of resort’s main hubs. Located in the heart of what is considered the resort’s Central Area – comprised of 13 of Shiga’s 18 ski areas – Takamagahara is the best place to stay if you are looking for convenience, ease of access to the overall resort, and the greatest choice of nightlife within walking distance.
Situated at the base of the Mt Higashidate, Takamagahara is the literal heart of the resort giving you direct access to slopes including Terakoya, Ichinose Family, Takamagahara, Tanne no Mori, the Olympic Course and more.
While there is no ski in/out accommodation in Takamagahara, the proximity of several hotels to the slopes and central chairlifts offers equivalent ease and access. The village also includes public bus stops connecting visitors to all areas of the resort including Hasuike, where you can connect to the express bus service from/to Nagano Station. When staying in Takamagahara, we recommend:
Ideally located in Shiga Kogen’s central Takamagahara, Hotel Sunny Shiga offers guests everything needed in a family-friendly ski hotel in the heart of the resort. Rooms come in a variety of sizes and styles – some with private bathrooms – including both Western and Japanese ‘futon’ (on-floor) bedding. Catering to single travelers, couples, families and larger groups the hotel is well-appointed for short or longer stays.
The in-house restaurant offers both breakfast and dinner, which can be included with your accommodation. Known for its generous meal sizes and quality of food, friendly hotel staff create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The hotel’s comfortable communal lounge and bar is open for use by all guests and the spacious in-house ‘public’ bath (for the exclusive use of hotel guests), offers the perfect refuge and place to unwind after a long day on the mountain.
One of Shiga Kogen’s most picturesque areas, accommodation in Yakebitai is dominated by Prince Hotel which boasts three large buildings – Prince West, Prince South and Prince East. The hotels offer a good range of room types and services including in-house restaurants and foreign language-speaking staff including English and Chinese along with in-house rental services . Given this range of services and direct access to some of Shiga Kogen’s ski runs, the hotels are popular with large tour groups. While this shouldn’t impact on your time in Yakebitai, if you want something a little less buy head deeper into the resort and onto Okushiga.
As one of the resorts more distant areas, Okushiga Kogen offers visitors some of the best powder and selection of ski runs in Shiga Kogen. Far less built-up than Ichinose, Okushiga is a great option for skiers and snowboarders wanting to focus on days on the mountain rather than nights propping-up a bar. For those who know the value in going to a little further a field to get the best possible snow and quiet runs, Okushiga Kogen is a great choice.
Nightlife is notably quiet in this area and that suits most visitors just fine. You won’t find rowdy bars here. Visitors who choose to stay in Okushiga are somewhat restricted for choice at night, with most choosing to eat or have a drink in their hotel restaurants – with their sights set firmly on being up early to carve fresh powder. In this regard, Okushiga Kogen stands-out as one of the few areas in Shiga Kogen to offer ski in/out accommodation, of which our recommendation is:
Hotel Grand Phenix Okushiga is the premier hotel in Shiga Kogen, combining European-style accommodation and comfort with traditional Japanese service, outstanding facilities, and ski in/out convenience. Guests will be stuck by the hotel’s European character with many of the materials and design imported from the continent and imbuing the Grand Phenix with cozy atmosphere with old-world trimmings. The hotel’s spacious lounge with open fireplace is a notable and much-loved feature of the Grand Phenix, an ideal space to look-out upon the surrounding scenery and directly onto the Okushiga ski fields in winter.
Offering multiple types of rooms, fine dining, a spacious lounge with open fireplace, relaxing mens and womens communal baths, sauna and heated indoor swimming pool, Grand Phenix affords guest the highest quality stay available in Shiga Kogen ski resort. In-house ski/snowboard rental and Phenix brand store round-out the hotel offers guests unmatched convenience, comfort and facilities. Offering early and late season skiing, Hotel Grand Phenix is the premium hotel in Shiga Kogen and without hesitation, our recommendation when staying in the beauty and deep snow of Okushiga.
As the first ski area you come to when ascending to Shiga Kogen from the valley below, Sun Valley offers the unparalleled convenience of also being the first accommodation hub. Several hotels imitate European-style mountain hotels – on their exterior at the very least – imbuing the small enclave with a quaint atmosphere. The presence of several large hotels make Sun Valley a popular destination for tours and school groups, with the convenience of local and express bus stops.
The ski runs are varied. A mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced offer something for everyone with Sun Valley’s most noteworthy feature being night skiing on some of the upper runs. Although located around 1500 meters above sea level, Sun Valley is at the base of Shiga Kogen making its greatest attraction being the ease of access for guests wanting to minimize their travel time and cost.