Where To Stay In & Around 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. On this page you will find the following information:
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, let’s start by looking at:
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN SHIGA KOGEN
Shiga Kogen Ski Resort is made-up of eighteen areas that together, create Japan’s largest interconnected ski fields. You might sometimes see each area listed as it’s own resort, creating some confusion as to just how big Shiga Kogen is and whether it is all connected. Put simply, all but two areas of the resort are connected by ski runs. Those two areas are Kumanoyu and Yokoteyama, meaning that they are the only areas of Shiga Kogen you cannot ski or snowboard between. The rest however is connected allowing you to ski or snowboard between all other areas. It is also worth noting that all areas of Shiga Kogen, including Kumanoyu and Yokoteyama, are covered by a common, all-mountain pass. In this section we will discuss accommodation options in each of the following areas within the resort:
*cannot ski/snowboard between this area and rest of the resort
You might note that there are fewer than eighteen areas listed above. Some of the areas that make-up the overall resort are small and can be grouped within adjoining larger areas. The list above therefore accounts for all areas of Shiga Kogen and where most accommodation is located. Given the size of the resort it can be challenging to get a firm grip on the layout and choose where to stay. For accommodation listings in the resort, see our ‘Shiga Kogen Area’ hotel page. The following areas are listed in order of there proximity when approaching the resort from the west, the main road into the resort and on which the first ski fields you will come to are at:
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.
MARUIKE & HASUIKE
Located immediately above Sun Valley, Maruike and Hasuike are the next ski fields you come to as you head further int the resort. Well-suited to families, Maruike has a childrens snow activity area and some nice, short runs to practice on, with night-skiing available in Hasuike. Overall the combined ski fields of Sun Valley, Maruike and Hasuike are small and despite some intermediate and advanced terrain, this area won’t keep intermediate and advanced skiers/boarders entertained for long. Maruike and Hasuike has a reasonable number of hotels to choose from and while the ski fields are best-suited to beginners, staying in the area puts you within walking distance of the Shiga Kogen Yamanoenki (Mountain Station) and the ‘Pulse Gondola’. Opened in winter 2020/21, the gondola drops you down into the Giant and Hoppo Bundadaira ski fields – the gateway access point to the overall resort.
This area of the resort hosted downhill events during the 1998 Winter Olympics and boasts a good number of hotels including some with their own ‘onsen’ (natural hot spring). It is often overlooked as a place to stay given that it the access road leading to Hoppo Bundadaira splits from the main road leading into the heart of the resort however, the location of the Hoppo is actually quite central especially when staying nearby the Higashidateyama Gondola. The gondola will take you to some of the higher areas of the resort including Terakoya – one of the highest points of the resort at 2060 metres – while also allowing you to drop down in Takamagahara and Ichinose from where you can access Yakebityama and Okushiga. There is little in the way of restaurants and nightlife in this area so if you do choose to stay in Hoppo Bundadaira, best to include meals in your accommodation package.
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 a good 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. When staying in Takamagahara, we recommend:
HOTEL SUNNY SHIGA, TAKAMAGAHARA
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 while 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.
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.
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
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.
The first thing to note when discussing the Kumanoyu ski fields is that this area is not connected by ski runs to the overall resort, meaning that you must use resort buses, taxis or drive yourself to reach these ski fields. For that reason alone, staying in Kumanoyu isn’t convenient for visitors wanting to take advantage of the whole resort. So why stay here? Located deep in the mountains and at around 2000 metres, Kumanoyu receives snow earlier than most other ski fields and typically opens in advanced of the overall resort – sometime around mid to late-November. It also receives snow later for the same reasons, meaning that Kumanoyu is often open well into April or even May meaning that staying in the area is best-suited to early and late season visitors. There are a couple of large hotels in the area but few dining options so make sure to include meals in your accommodation should you decide on staying here.
Yokoteyama is the other ski field not connected to the overall resort, requiring you to access the area by bus, taxi or drive yourself. The considerations when choosing to stay here are therefore the same as Kumanoyu and it is not well-suited to visitors wanting to enjoy the entire resort but instead, might work for skiers and boarders coming hoping to catch the early and late season snow. At 2307 metres, Yokoteyama is not only the highest chairlift in Shiga Kogen but is in fact the highest in all of Japan. The upper reaches of Yokoteyama is famous for its snow-wrapped trees however conditions can really vary, with the exposed nature of the slopes meaning that runs can be iced-up at times. There is only one hotel in the area and no dining options at night. For most visitors, staying in the Yokoteyama won’t be a good option.
BEST PLACES TO STAY NEARBY SHIGA KOGEN
Having looked at the accommodation areas within the resort, let’s now consider your options nearby. The following popular accommodation areas open-up your options when it comes to the number and type of hotels and guesthouses however it’s important to note that they are not connected to the ski resort. In this section we will discuss accommodation options in each of the following areas:
All three areas are located in the valley below Shiga Kogen, approximately 25 to 35-minutes drive from the Shiga Kogen Yamanoeki (Mountain Station). This point can be considered the gateway to the overall resort, with express and local bus services running to mountain station and the ‘Pulse Gondola’ being located next to the building.
You might wonder, if these areas are separate to the resort, why stay there? All three areas are traditional ‘onsen’ (natural hot spring) towns with a great range of accommodation, most of which have their own hot springs. Shibu and Yudanaka have histories stretching back more than one thousand years, with Shibu Onsen in particular retaining much of its historical charm. There are some great guesthouses in all three areas with Shibu and Yudanaka also offering good dining options and bars at night. All are within easy reach of Yudanaka Station – a 45-minute train ride from Nagano Station – with most guesthouses offering pickup and drop-off at the station. Should you choose to stay in one of these areas, you can access Shiga Kogen using local bus services, express busy (from Kanbayashi Onsen only), taxi or drive yourself. Let’s start with the area nearest to the ski resort:
KANBAYASHI ONSEN AREA / 20 to 25-minutes drive from Shiga Kogen Yamanoeki
Kanbayashi Onsen is a small hot spring village within walking distance best-known for the Jigokudani Monkey Park, which is within walking distance of all guesthouses in the area. A handful of traditional guesthouses offer some excellent accommodation, each with their own hot springs. Busy during the day thanks to the monkeys, the village is quiet at night making the option of eating at your guesthouse an attractive option. Both Shibu Onsen and Yudanaka Onsen can be reached in under 5-minutes drive, allowing guests to enjoy an evening meal and drink in those towns which have more going on at night. Only 20 to 25-minutes drive to Shiga Kogen Ski Resort, Kanbayashi Onsen is a good option for visitors wanting to enjoy a traditional hotel or guesthouse and some of the region’s best hot springs. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Kanbayashi Onsen Area’ hotel page. If staying there appeals to you, we recommend choosing:
HOTEL SENJUKAKU, KANBAYASHI
Hotel Senjukaku is one of the best hotel’s in the region within easy walk of the Jigokudani Monkey Park and around 25-minutes drive to Shiga Kogen. A favourite hotel with members of the Japanese Royal Family, this elegant hotel is known for its exceptional service, traditional comforts, indulgent ‘onsen’ (hot springs)and outstanding ‘kaiseki’ (multi-course) meal service. Guests can choose between Japanese rooms with on-floor ‘futon’ bedding or mixed rooms featuring traditional Japanese design and Western-style bedding. Several rooms also include their own hot spring bath with all guests having access to the hotel’s large indoor, outdoor and private ‘onsen’.
SHIBU ONSEN AREA / 25 to 30-minutes drive from Shiga Kogen Yamanoeki
Shibu Onsen is a historic hot spring town blessed with numerous water sources feeding the many hotels and guesthouses concentrated within a small area. Most guesthouses have their own hot springs with town also boasting nine ‘public’ onsen that can be used free of charge by anyone staying overnight in Shibu. A quaint town with some good dining options and a couple of bars, Shibu Onsen has retained more of its hisotric character and charm then Yudanaka Onsen and has a lot more going on than Kanbayashi Onsen. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Shibu Onsen Area’ hotel page.
YUDANAKA ONSEN AREA / 30-minutes drive from Shiga Kogen Yamanoeki
Spanning-out from Yudanaka Station – the nearest train station to Shiga Kogen – Yudanaka Onsen offers a variety of accommodation ranging from high-end to budget. Local bus services run to Shiga Kogen from the station while a free shuttle bus also operates to Ryuoo Ski Resort, the most popular resort in Kita-Shiga Kogen. Many hotels and guesthouses have their own ‘onsen’ (natural hot springs) and serve traditional ‘kaiseki’ (multi-course) dinners allowing guests to completely unwind at the end of each day. Yudanaka doesn’t have the charm of Shibu and the town showing its age but if that doesn’t bother you, its a good option for visitors prioritising ease of access via the train station and lots of accommodation options. or accommodation listings, see our ‘Yudanaka Onsen Area’ hotel page. Here are some options:
HOTEL HOUSEI, YUDANAKA
Best known for its large and indulgent hot springs, Hotel Housei offers guests total relaxation in their indoor and outdoor baths. Japanese-style rooms include ‘tatami’ matting, on-floor ‘futon’ bedding, and traditional features including low tables and amenities such as ‘yukata’ (light kimono).
Located only a short walk from Yudanaka Station, Hotel Tsubakino is a modern ‘ryokan’ that offers both Japanese and Western-style rooms, each with its own private bathroom including shower. All guests also have access to Tsubakino’s natural ‘onsen’, including rooftop and private baths. Boasting some of the best views of any guesthouse in the area, unwinding in the onsen is the perfect way to relax at the end of a day on the mountain.
Boasting the largest ‘onsen’ in Yudanaka, Hotel Yudanaka is well-suited to guests looking for reasonably priced accommodation nearby the station. All rooms include on-floor ‘futon’-bedding, ‘tatami’-matting along with the option of dinner and breakfast meal service and guests have access to the hotel’s hot springs – including five different baths – with some rooms also including a private bath and shower.
Located at the top-end of Yudanaka Onsen, Maruka Ryokan offers Japanese-style accommodation within easy reach of the Jigokudani Monkey Park and ski resorts of Shiga Kogen and Kita-Shiga Kogen. As an older guesthouse, Maruka has lots of charm which appeals to guests looking for an authentic yet simple ‘ryokan’ experience while in Nagano.
Located under 5-minutes drive from Yudanaka Station, Masuya Yudanaka is a traditional guesthouse offering spacious and comfortable rooms, relaxing hot springs and acclaimed meal service. Masuya prides itself on creating a traditional atmosphere and excellent service in order that their guests can relax and unwind.
Ryokan Biyunoyado is known for its spacious and indulgent ‘onsen’ including indoor, outdoor, rooftop and private baths. With a range of baths to choose from including rooftop and private onsens, Biyunoyado is a great option for visitors wanting to enjoy the relaxation of a traditional hot spring guesthouse with comfort of Western amenities.
With only nine rooms in the guesthouse, Ryokan Hakura has a welcoming and intimate atmosphere with facilities well-suited to disabled guests. The guesthouse offers both Japanese and mixed Western-Japanese style rooms with Western-bedding and private toilet and shower.
Located within easy walking distance of Shibu Onsen, Yamazakiya is a homely ‘ryokan’ known for its warm welcome and particularly friendly owners. The small two-storey guesthouse has only eight Japanese-style rooms, each with its own private toilet and bath. While the guesthouse and meals may not be luxurious, the owners pride themselves on creating a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere – a good option for guests looking for cheaper accommodation close to historic Shibu Onsen.
YUDANAKA SEIFUSO RYOKAN
Yudanaka Seifuso Ryokan is a popular, family-run guesthouse offering all the comforts of a traditional Japanese inn. Boasting three ‘onsen’, one of which can be booked for private use, Seifuso is known for its comfort and traditional service including Japanese-style rooms and ‘kaiseki’ dining.
Yudanaka Yumoto is a traditional Japanese ‘ryokan’ located approximately 10-minutes walk from Yudanaka Station. Dating back to Japan’s Edo Period, Yumoto is Yudanaka’s oldest guesthouse – known for its welcoming atmosphere, homely comforts and relaxing hot springs.
BOOK WITH US! ACCOMMODATION & SKI PACKAGES IN SHIGA
Based in Nagano and operating all year round, we are a registered travel agent, tour and charter operator offering a full-suite of winter services including ski/snowboard packages, accommodation, lift passes, private charters and a range of tours including both group and private options covering Shiga Kogen:
SHIGA KOGEN ACCOMMODATION & SKI PACKAGES
As Japan’s largest and highest ski resort, Shiga Kogen is blessed with Nagano’s longest season and most reliable snow. Accommodation is dotted across the resort’s expansive 600ha of terrain with the nearby hot spring villages of Kanbayashi Onsen, Shibu Onsen and Yudanaka Onsen offering a great alternative for visitors wanting to enjoy Japan’s legendary ‘onsen’ culture – PLAN & BOOK IN SHIGA NOW!
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.
JAPAN SKI RESORTS: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
Did you know that Shiga Kogen is just one of the more than eighty ski resorts in Nagano and more than five hundred in Japan? Needless to say, when you choose Nagano for your winter getaway you are spoiled for choice! Our ‘Japan Ski Resorts’ page has everything you need to know to start planning your ski and snowboard adventure including: LATEST NEWS & DEALS, THE BEST RESORTS IN NAGANO & JAPAN, FAQs and of course OUR SKI PACKAGES, ACCOMMODATION, TRANSPORT & TOURS.
SHIGA KOGEN: 15 THINGS TO DO IN WINTER
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 ‘Shiga Kogen – 15 Things To Do In Winter’ page has some great tips and suggestions of what’s on offer. We hope it entices you to visit!
VISIT JOSHINETSU KOGEN NATIONAL PARK
Shiga Kogen Ski Resort is part of the larger Joshinetsu Kogen National Park – the fourthest largest national park in Japan. With the Jigokudani Monkey Park, multiple ski areas lying within the boundary of the park, Joshinetsu Kogen is one of the most popular winter destinations in Central. Yet the park has just as much to offer from spring to autumn, with some of Japan’s best alpine hiking trails, nature and wildlife photography, and autumn leaves attracting an increasing number of visitors each year. Our ‘Joshinetsu Kogen National Park’ main page has everything you need to know to plan your visit.
HOW TO GET TO SHIGA KOGEN – NAGANO SKI RESORTS INFO
Visitors heading to the resort can do so using express bus services or drive yourself, with many travelers also choosing to take the train as far as Yudanaka Station – the nearest train station to the resort, from where local buses and taxis will run you to Shiga Kogen in around 30 to 60-minutes depending on where in the resort you are staying. For detailed information, see our ‘How To Get To Shiga Kogen – Nagano Ski Resorts Info’ page.
BOOK WITH US! NAGANO’S NO.1 TOUR & CHARTER OPERATOR
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.
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 2019 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.
Got a question about visiting Shiga Kogen this winter? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get planning together!