There are many reasons to choose Japan for your winter sports holiday. Numerous resorts, reliable snow conditions including world-class powder, friendly locals, great food, all the cultural trimmings, and onsen (natural hot springs) after a day on the slopes combine to make Japan an enticing destination for international visitors.
Another big reason to head this way in winter is cost! Let’s face it, skiing and snowboarding are expensive pursuits however lift passes in Japan are often notably cheaper than those available at overseas resorts, making Nagano’s resorts even more appealing.
As Japan’s largest ski resort, Shiga Kogen, offers an expansive area to explore and conquer including 79 courses, spread over a huge variety of terrain connected by 51 chairlifts and gondolas. The topography of the mountain means that Shiga is blessed with Nagano’s best and most reliable powder and stunning natural beauty. It would take days to explore the entire resort and the locals will always encourage to do exactly that by extending your stay and traverse the entire resort on a “ski safari”.
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 JPY5600 for a 1-day pass or JPY4,800 for 4 hours, with an array of other ticketing options, this represents great value for money.
As the table below 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.
Shiga Kogen is a large resort which takes days to fully explore, with 18 ski areas including Terakoya, the central areas including Ichinose and Takamagahara (as pictured below), Higashitateyama, Yokoteyama, and Okushiga/Yakebitai among others, a mutliday pass is the best way to undertake your own “Ski Safari” on the seemingly endless (often empty) powder white runs.
At JPY5600 for a 1-day adult lift pass, Shiga Kogen’s 79 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.
Whichever way you look at it Shiga Kogen is one of the most appealing resorts in Japan and definitely our favorite. We suggest you book those tickets and come see for yourself this winter!
GO TO DEALS: SKI & SNOWBOARD PACKAGES IN SHIGA KOGEN
Want to package your stay including accommodation, ski passes, transport and more? Our ski and snowboard packages take the hassle out of booking your winter getaway so you can concentrate on what matters most – hitting the mountain! As a participating travel agent with ‘Go To Travel’, our packages are heavily discounted for winter 2020/21 with packages available for stays at Hotel Grand Phenix, Hotel Sunny Shiga or guesthouses in nearby Yudanaka Onsen.
HOTEL GRAND PHENIX, OKUSHIGA
As the premier hotel in Shiga Kogen, Hotel Grand Phenix blends European aesthetic with Japanese service, outstanding facilities and ski in/out convenience. Boasting seven types of rooms, restaurants serving Japanese, Italian and Chinese cuisine, a spacious lounge with open fireplace, relaxing mens and womens mineral baths, sauna and heated indoor swimming pool, Grand Phenix affords guests the highest quality stay available in Shiga Kogen at the base of the Okushiga ski fields.
HOTEL SUNNY SHIGA, TAKAMAGAHARA
Offering Japanese, Western and mixed Japanese/Western-style rooms, Hotel Sunny Shiga is well-suited to longer-stay visitors. The hotel offers a range of in-house services including breakfast and dinner restaurant, in-house store and pharmacy, and most importantly, it’s own ‘onsen’ (natural hot spring) open 24-hours a day for use by guests. Located across from the Takamagahara ski fields, Sunny Shiga is a great option for visitors wanting a family-friendly hotel with all the essential facilities in an ideal location.
For full details of what’s included, see our ‘Go To Deals: Ski & Snowboard Packages in Nagano’ page.
Shiga Kogen is easily accessible using the Nagaden Dentetsu (Nagaden) train line followed by a local bus from JR Yudanaka Station or a direct express bus from JR Nagano Station. For more detailed access information please refer to our earlier article explaining how to make the journey to Shiga Kogen by public transport.
SNOW MONKEY RESORTS: PRIVATE CHARTERS & TOURS
Locally-based and fully accredited, Snow Monkey Resorts is Nagano’s most reliable charter operator operating a range of vehicles suitable for individuals, couples, and families, and groups of up to 44 individuals.
For further information regarding your options please refer to our Charter Services page. Let us worry about the roads and your luggage, so you can focus on what you came here for – mountains, powder, and the endless runs of Shiga Kogen!