Shiga Kogen

Winter on the slopes, summer in the hills

Shiga Highland, located in northeastern Nagano Prefecture, is a stunning destination that offers a unique blend of winter sports and summer exploration. Part of the Joshinetsu Kogen National Park, this area is known for its breathtaking natural beauty and outdoor activities. Whether you’re a fan of skiing and snowboarding or prefer hiking and exploring nature, Shiga Highland has something to offer everyone.

Don’t Miss

One of the main highlights of Shiga Highland is the mammoth Shiga Kogen Ski Area. As one of japan‘s largest ski resorts, it attracts winter sports enthusiasts from all over the world. With its 18 resorts, nearly 50 lifts, and over 80 kilometers of trails, Shiga Kogen is a paradise for skiers and snowboarders. The area gained international recognition during the 1998 Winter Olympics, where it hosted several events, including downhill skiing and snowboarding competitions.

If you visit during the summer months, make sure to visit the Higashi-Tateyama Botanical Alpine Garden. This stunning garden is home to a wide variety of alpine flowers and plants. Strolling through the garden, surrounded by colorful blooms, is a truly enchanting experience.

For those seeking a taste of backwoods Japan, trekking deep into the hills of Shiga Highland is a must. The area is filled with ponds, wetlands, and alpine plants, providing a unique and beautiful natural landscape. There are numerous hiking trails to choose from, ranging from easy boardwalk strolls to more challenging treks through the inner peaks. Mt. Yokote, the highest peak in the park, offers breathtaking views of the Northern Alps from its observation deck.

How to Get There

During the winter season, the Nagano Snow Shuttle provides direct transportation from Tokyo and its airports to the Shiga Kogen Ski Area. This convenient service allows visitors to easily access the ski resort without the hassle of driving or navigating public transportation.

For summer exploration, renting a car is highly recommended. This gives you the flexibility to explore the area at your own pace and visit the various attractions in and around Shiga Highland. If you prefer to use public transportation, the Hokuriku Shinkansen is the most convenient option. From Tokyo, the journey to Nagano City takes approximately an hour and 30 minutes. From Nagano City, a 40-minute ride on the Nagano Dentetsu Line will bring you to Yudanaka Station. From there, it’s another hour by bus to Shiga Highland.

Quick Facts

Shiga Highland is one of Japan’s 10 UNESCO biosphere reserves. This designation recognizes the area’s unique and diverse ecosystems, as well as its commitment to sustainable development. The Shiga Highland area is so vast that it would take around two days to cover all of it. This means that there is plenty to see and explore, ensuring that you’ll never run out of things to do during your visit.

The Beauty of Shiga Highland

Shiga Highland is a place of unparalleled natural beauty. The area is characterized by its stunning mountain landscapes, pristine alpine meadows, and crystal-clear lakes. The picturesque scenery changes with the seasons, offering visitors a different experience throughout the year.

During the winter months, Shiga Highland is covered in a thick blanket of snow, creating a winter wonderland for skiers and snowboarders. The powder snow is renowned for its quality, making it a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced skier, the Shiga Kogen Ski Area has slopes and trails to suit all skill levels.

As the snow melts and gives way to spring and summer, Shiga Highland undergoes a remarkable transformation. The hills come alive with vibrant colors as alpine flowers bloom in abundance. The Higashi-Tateyama Botanical Alpine Garden is a prime spot to witness this natural spectacle. Walking through the garden, you’ll be surrounded by a kaleidoscope of colors, from delicate wildflowers to bold and vibrant blooms.

Summer is also the perfect time to explore the hiking trails and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Shiga Highland. With its numerous peaks over 2,000 meters high, there are endless hiking opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. From leisurely walks along boardwalks through marshland to challenging treks up steep mountainsides, there is a trail for every level of hiker. Along the way, you’ll encounter breathtaking views, serene lakes, and hidden waterfalls.

In the fall, Shiga Highland is adorned with the vibrant colors of autumn foliage. The hills are ablaze with shades of red, orange, and gold, creating a picturesque backdrop for outdoor activities. This is a popular time for nature lovers and photographers to visit, as the landscape is truly breathtaking.

Exploring Shiga Highland

There are plenty of activities to enjoy in Shiga Highland, aside from skiing and hiking. Fishing, boating, and cycling are popular options for those who want to experience the area’s natural beauty in a different way. The lakes and rivers in the region are teeming with fish, making it a paradise for anglers. Renting a boat and cruising along the tranquil waters is a great way to relax and take in the scenery. Cycling enthusiasts can explore the area’s many cycling routes, which offer a mix of challenging climbs and scenic routes.

For those interested in immersing themselves in the local culture, joining one of Nagano Ventures’ week-long treks is highly recommended. These treks provide a unique opportunity to not only experience the natural beauty of Shiga Highland but also learn about the local customs and traditions. Day hikes are also available for visitors with limited time, allowing them to see the highlights of the area.

Nearby Attractions

While Shiga Highland itself offers plenty of attractions and activities, there are also several nearby attractions worth visiting. Yudanaka and Shibu Onsen are popular hot spring towns located close to Shiga Highland. These towns are known for their traditional Japanese ryokans and relaxing hot spring baths. After a long day of skiing or hiking, soaking in a hot spring is the perfect way to unwind and rejuvenate.

Another must-visit attraction in the area is the Snow Monkey Park at Jigokudani. This unique park is home to a large population of Japanese macaques, also known as snow monkeys. Visitors can observe these fascinating creatures as they relax in the hot springs, providing a truly unique wildlife experience.

In Conclusion

Shiga Highland is a destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a winter sports enthusiast looking for an adrenaline rush on the slopes or a nature lover seeking tranquility and natural beauty, this area has it all. With its stunning landscapes, diverse ecosystems, and a wide range of outdoor activities, Shiga Highland is a true gem in Nagano Prefecture. So, pack your bags, grab your skis or hiking boots, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure in Shiga Highland.

Address And Maps Location:

Shiomotakai-gun, Nagano-ken

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