DESTINATIONS
02. YUDANAKA & SHIBU ONSEN
Kita-Shiga Kogen Ski Resorts

Kita-Shiga Kogen Ski Resorts

Ryuoo ropeway

Located around an hour from Nagano Station, Kita-Shiga Kogen is one of the nearest and most accessible ski areas from Nagano City. Almost unknown to international visitors and most certainly overlooked, the four resorts in the area attract few foreign visitors but remain very popular with locals, who come each winter to enjoy great snow conditions. Of course, being nearby but not connected to Japan’s largest ski resort – Shiga Kogen – also adds to a combination of factors that keep the resorts of Kita-Shiga Kogen in the shadows.

It is important to note that the four ski resorts of Kita-Shiga Kogen are not connected to Shiga Kogen Ski Resort and the two areas are approximately 45 to 50-minutes drive apart – as seen on the left-hand portion of the map below.

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Of the four resorts, Ryuoo Ski Park has the most to offer with some excellent powder up top and long runs all the way back down. Across from Ryuoo, the joint resorts of X-Jam Takaifuji and Yomase Onsen Ski Resort combine to offer around 100 hectares of terrain including X-JAM’s large park with two half-pipes.

Ryuoo ski park

Finally, set back from Ryuoo the small Kita-Shiga Komaruyama Ski Resort doesn’t have a lot to offer other than to newbies wanting to practice on wide, gentle runs.

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All four resorts are covered by a joint pass allowing you to enjoy each over one or two days. To do so, and get the most out of your time in the area, we recommended staying in Yudanaka Onsen, from where all four resorts are within 20-minutes drive, with Ryuoo Ski Park operating a free shuttle bus and from Yudanaka Station.

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Doing so also places you within 20 to 30-minutes of the lowest ski fields of Shiga Kogen Ski Resort. Offering more terrain and great snow with the crowds, expect to hear a lot about the combined destinations of Kita-Shiga and Shiga Kogen in coming years.

RYUOO SKI PARK


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Ryuoo Ski Park is considered the main resort of the Kita-Shiga Kogen grouping and is certainly the most popular, especially with snowboarders. The resort is dominated by the main ‘Skyland Express’ Ropeway that can ferry up to 166 passengers to the top station, from where you can enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding landscape and ever popular Sora Terrace café and observation deck. A long and narrow resort with a lot of vertical – by Japanese standards – the resort has a lot going for it with some very good powder and terrain in the upper areas. When the powder is good it’s fantastic and on weekdays, you’ll most likely have it all to yourself. Largely undiscovered or simply overlooked by international visitors, Ryuoo is worth visiting in combination with other resorts in Kita-Shiga Kogen and nearby, much larger, Shiga Kogen Ski Resort.

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Operating Dates & Times

Dependent on snow conditions, areas of the resort are typically open from early-December until late-April or even into May. Expect the full resort to be open the second half of December to the end of March. Lifts operate from 08:00 to 17:00 on weekends and holidays, opening a little later of weekdays – 08:15 to 17:00. Night-skiing from late-December to the middle of March, from 17:00 to 20:00 or 21:00 on Saturdays (but not available on Sundays or final day of three-day long weekends).

Ski Runs

The resort sits between 850 to 1930 metres, offering an excellent 1080 metres of vertical. A total of 17 ski runs are serviced by 9 chairlifts and 1 ropeway/gondola capable of carrying up to 166 passengers. Courses are split into: beginner 35% / intermediate 40% / advanced 25%. The longest run is 6km with around 100 hectares of terrain on offer.

Highlights

Ryuoo Ski Park is a long and narrow resort that can be split into three general areas: Skyland Area: easy beginner slopes at the bottom, Valley Area: intermediate courses in the midsection, and the Kiotoshi Area: advanced terrain and often excellent powder at the top. Popular with locals and snowboarders, the resort can be crowded in the bottom areas but up top, you’ll have far less competition for some excellent terrain for intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders. On days of powder, head to the Kiotoshi area where you’ll also get some fantastic snow, ungroomed runs and great action through the trees. The resort has a couple of terrain parks well-suited to beginner and intermediate riders. One major frustration of the resort is that the main ropeway/gondola only departs every 20 minutes, so unless you descend quickly from the top, you’re likely to have to wait until the next one to head back up.

Tickets & Passes

Day-passes for Ryuoo cost: adults (13+) JPY4000 / children (4-12) JPY2000 / seniors (65+) JPY3900. A joint Kita-Shiga pass (covering Ryuoo, X-JAM/Yomase and Komaruyama) is also available: adults: JPY5100 / children JPY3000 for 1-day or adults JPY8600 / children JPY5100 for 2-days.

Rental & Ski School

Both ski and snowboard rental are available at the resort. Ski and snowboard lessons are also available including lessons in English and Chinese.

Kids & Families

The resorts ‘Adventure Park’ is located in the lower left-hand ski area and provides families and children a fenced-off space to enjoy tubing and sledding. Day-care is available at the resort however it can’t be guaranteed that the service is available in English or languages other than Japanese.

Accommodation & Village Info

The area around the base of the resort offers plenty of accommodation, with most guesthouses being slope-side hotels or traditional guesthouses. While the village is quite spread-out, it is also quite rundown in places and in need of investment. There is little in the way of night-life and don’t expect much English. While staying at Ryuoo is entirely fine, we recommend staying in the Yudanaka Onsen Area, where you will find a wider and better range of accommodation, more dining options, more to do at night and a shuttle bus service running to Yudanaka Station to Ryuoo and back, multiple times each day – see ‘Yudanaka Station’ page for details. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Yudanaka Onsen Area’ hotel page.

Getting to Ryuoo Ski Park

Distance to Yudanaka Station: 12km / 20-minute drive.

The resort is readily accessible by car and for visitors coming via or staying in the Yudanaka Onsen area, a shuttle bus operates from the station to the resort multiple times each day. For information regarding how to get to Yudanaka, see our ‘How to Get to Yudanaka & Shibu Onsen’ page.

X-JAM TAKAIFUJI


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Lying across from Ryuoo Ski Park, the small resort of X-JAM sits on the eastern slope of Mt Kosha, and is connected to Yomase Onsen Ski Resort to offer a reasonable amount of terrain – in total, just under 100 hectares according to the official stats. Let’s keep things simple however by breaking-down what’s on offer just at X-JAM. Mostly popular with locals, the resort is known for its terrain park including two half-pipes and decent-sized jumps and is dominated by snowboarders. You’re unlikely to run into many international visitors at X-JAM so if you’re looking to get away from the usual Nagano hotspots and enjoying a day of boarding with the locals, X-JAM is worth a visit.

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Operating Dates & Times

Dependent on snow conditions, the resort is typically open from mid-December until the end of March with lifts operating from 08:15 to 16:45. X-Jam Takaifuji does not have night-skiing.

Ski Runs

The resort lies at a low 700 to 1050 metres with a small 350 metres of vertical. A total of 13 courses are serviced by 4 chairlifts with courses split into: beginner 50% / intermediate 40% / advanced 10%. The longest course is only 2km with a total of 43 hectares of terrain.

Highlights

X-JAM is a small and local resort boasting a lot of character. Popular with snowboarders, the resort has a large park including two half-pipes and decent-sized jumps, winning it a loyal following with local boarders who just want to ride. The upper area and right-hand side of the resort includes some ungroomed and tree runs, where intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders can often find some good powder, especially on weekdays when the resort is likely to be very quiet. When combined with Yomase Onsen Ski Resort, X-JAM offers a good change of season and is a good inclusion on a multi-resort visit to Nagano.

Tickets & Passes

Day-passes for X-JAM Takaifuji (inc. Yomase) cost: adults (13+) JPY4000 / children (6-12) JPY2100 / seniors (50-64) JPY3000. A joint Kita-Shiga pass (covering X-JAM /Yomase, Ryuoo and Komaruyama) is also available: adults: JPY5100 / children JPY3000 for 1-day or adults JPY8600 / children JPY5100 for 2-days.

Rental & Ski School

X-JAM Takaifuji has basic rental services and is also covered by a local ski school however lessons may not be available in English. If you need to arrange rental and lessons, nearby Ryuoo Ski Park – also in Kita-Shiga Kogen – or the much larger Shiga Kogen Ski Resort will be better-suited.

Kids & Families

The resort also doesn’t have facilities catering to children and families. If that is important to you, Ryuoo Ski Park or Shiga Kogen Ski Resort will be better-suited.

Accommodation & Village Info

There are good number of guesthouses in the area around the resort, including a larger hotel in the adjoining Yomase Onsen Ski Resort. When staying in the area, expect Japanese-style accommodation and little English. While always welcoming, there is little to do at night with few dining options other than at each guesthouse. As a result, we recommend staying in the nearby Yudanaka Onsen Area, where you will find a wider and better range of accommodation, more dining options and more to do at night – only 20-minutes to X-JAM by taxi. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Yudanaka Onsen Area’ hotel page.

Getting to X-JAM Takaifuji

Distance to Yudanaka Station: 10km / 20-minute drive.

The resort is readily accessible by car and for visitors coming via or staying in the Yudanaka Onsen area, by taxi. For information regarding how to get to Yudanaka, see our ‘How to Get to Yudanaka & Shibu Onsen’ page.

YOMASE ONSEN SKI RESORT


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Yomase Onsen is a small a little-known resort that is best enjoyed in combination with the adjoining X-JAM Takaifuji. Beginners and families can enjoy some nice wide runs to practice on however there isn’t much at Yomase to keep intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders interested. Usually quiet and exceptionally so on weekdays, Yomase Onsen doesn’t stand-out in its own right, however if you’re staying in the area and want to combine it with X-JAM Takaifuji, it can add some variety and enjoyment to your itinerary.

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Operating Dates & Times

Dependent on snow conditions, the resort is typically open from mid-December until the end of March with lifts operating from 08:15 to 16:45. Yomase Onsen does not have night-skiing.

Ski Runs

The resort has a low elevation of between 750 to 1215 metres, offering a modest 465 metres of vertical. A total of 13 courses are serviced by 4 lifts, with those courses broken down into: beginner 30% / intermediate 50% / advanced 20%. The longest run is 2km with a total of 54 hectares of terrain.

Highlights

Yomase is another small and very local resort, best suited to beginners and newbies, families and children who can enjoy Yomase’s flat and wide runs. Usually quiet, they provide an ideal area to practice and get your confidence up. Intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders want find a lot of joy at Yomase and will find most enjoyment in the terrain park and trees of X-JAM.

Tickets & Passes

Day-passes for Yomase Onsen (inc. X-JAM)cost: adults (13+) JPY4000 / children (6-12) JPY2100 / seniors (50-64) JPY3000. A joint Kita-Shiga pass (covering Yomase/X-Jam, Ryuoo and Komaruyama) is also available: adults: JPY5100 / children JPY3000 for 1-day or adults JPY8600 / children JPY5100 for 2-days.

Rental & Ski School

Yomase Onsen has basic rental services and is also covered by a local ski school however lessons may not be available in English. If you need to arrange rental and lessons, nearby Ryuoo Ski Park – also in Kita-Shiga Kogen – or the much larger Shiga Kogen Ski Resort will be better-suited.

Kids & Families

The resort also doesn’t much in the way of facilities catering specifically to children and families. If that is important to you, Ryuoo Ski Park or Shiga Kogen Ski Resort will be better-suited.

Accommodation & Village Info

There are a small number of guesthouses including a large hotel around the base of the resort. We recommend staying in the nearby Yudanaka Onsen Area – where you will find a wider and better range of accommodation, more to do at night, and only 20-minutes to Yomase Onsen/X-JAM by taxi. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Yudanaka Onsen Area’ hotel page.

Getting to Yomase Onsen Ski Resort

Distance to Yudanaka Station: 7km / 15-minute drive.

The resort is readily accessible by car or for visitors coming via or staying in the Yudanaka Onsen area, by taxi. For information regarding how to get to Yudanaka, see our ‘How to Get to Yudanaka & Shibu Onsen’ page.

KITA-SHIGA KOMARYUYAMA SKI AREA


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Very local in character, Komaruyama Ski Area is the smallest and least visited of the Kita-Shiga Kogen resorts and would rarely see any international visitors. Courses are really only suited to beginners and newbies, without nothing to really hold the interest of intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders. Nevertheless, the resort is welcoming and pleasant, a good place to learn or simply, have a change scene when visiting the other resorts of Kita-Shiga Kogen.

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Operating Dates & Times

Dependent on snow conditions, the resort is typically open from mid-December until the end of March with lifts operating from 08:00 to 17:00. Komaruyama offers night-skiing on one course throughout the season from 17:00 to 20:00.

Ski Runs

The sits between 850 to 1250 metres, offering a small 400 metres of vertical and 6 courses, serviced by 5 lifts. Those courses breakdown as: beginner 60% / intermediate 30% / advanced 10%. The longest course is 2km.

Highlights

Komaruyama is a very small resort without much to offer international visitors. Its wide and gentle runs are well-suited to absolute newbies and families with small children, who can enjoy some space and freedom to practice without much competition for space. For intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders, the resort doesn’t offer any strong reason to visit. If you’re in the area, heading to nearby Ryuoo Ski Park will be much more worthwhile.

Tickets & Passes

Day-passes for Komaruyama cost: adults (13+) JPY3800 / children (6-12) JPY1900 / seniors JPY2000. A joint Kita-Shiga pass (covering Komaruyama, Ryuoo, and X-JAM/Yomase) is also available: adults: JPY5100 / children JPY3000 for 1-day or adults JPY8600 / children JPY5100 for 2-days.

Rental & Ski School

Basic services are available but nothing catering to international visitors. If you need to arrange rental or ski school, we recommend heading to nearby Ryuoo Ski Park.

Kids & Families

The resort’s wide and gentle ski runs are well-suited to families with children who want to play and practice their skiing and/or snowboarding. But don’t expect much else in terms of dedicated facilities for children and families. If that is important to you, Ryuoo Ski Park or Shiga Kogen Ski Resort will be better-suited.

Accommodation & Village Info

There are a number of guesthouses but little in the way of dining options and things to do at night. For that reason, we recommend staying in the nearby Yudanaka Onsen Area, where you will find a wider and better range of accommodation, more restaurants, more to do at night – and only 20-minutes to the resort by taxi. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Yudanaka Onsen Area’ hotel page.

Getting to Kita-Shiga Komaruyama Ski Area

Distance to Yudanaka Station: 10km / 20-minute drive.

The resort is readily accessible by car or for visitors coming via or staying in the Yudanaka Onsen area, by taxi.  For information regarding how to get to Yudanaka, see our ‘How to Get to Yudanaka & Shibu Onsen’ page.

GETTING TO & AROUND KITA-SHIGA KOGEN IN WINTER


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For visitors wanting to head to the resorts of Kita-Shiga Kogen using public transport, it will be most convenient to do so via Yudanaka Station. Our ‘How to Get to Yudanaka & Shibu Onsen’ page provides information on how to reach Yudanaka from Nagano City, Tokyo and beyond!

yudanaka-station

To reach Yudanaka Station from Nagano, take any limited express service on the Nagano Dentetsu (Nagaden) Line – the journey takes only 45-minutes. From Yudanaka Station, all four resorts of Kita-Shiga Kogen are within 20-minutes drive with taxis available immediately in front of the station. For visitors heading to Ryuoo Ski Park, the resort’s free shuttle bus runs to and from the station multiple times each day through winter – see our ‘Yudanaka Station’ page for the timetable.

PACKAGE & SAVE: BOOK YOUR NEXT TRIP TO KITA-SHIGA!


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 including Kita-Shiga Kogen along with nearby Shiga Kogen Ski Resort, the Jigokudani Monkey Park or any regional destination!

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As a registered travel agent participating in the national ‘Go To Travel’ campaign, we can package your next trip to Kita-Shiga Kogen or any other ski resort in Nagano including transport, accommodation, lift-passes and more!

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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. 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 interests and schedule.

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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.

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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 Kita-Shiga Kogen this winter? Feel free to contact us at snowmonkeyresorts@machinovate.com and let’s get planning together!