Shiga Kogen is a highland area in Yamanouchi town in the northern region of Nagano Prefecture and part of the Joshinetsu Kogen National Park. The ski and snowboard resort that is known as ‘Shiga Kogen’ is actually made up of 18 mostly inter-connected areas that share a lift ticket. (The small Kidoike area will not be operating during the 2017-2018 season).
Shiga Kogen was host to some of the events of the Nagano Winter Olympics in 1998 - the alpine skiing slalom and snowboarding giant slalom were held at the Yakebitaiyama area, while the alpine skiing giant slalom was held at Higashitateyama. Shiga Kogen may not receive as much snowfall as some nearby regions, but often makes up for it in snow quality. Shiga Kogen is also well known as being close to the famous Jigokudani snow monkey park where you can see monkeys soaking in an onsen hot spring.
Shiga Kogen Yakebitaiyama is one part of Shiga Kogen. Yakebitaiyama is located in the northern area of Shiga Kogen. Affectionately known as 'Yakebi', the slopes of Yakebitaiyama were host to alpine skiing (slalom) and snowboarding (giant slalom) events at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. Yakebitaiyama has an 8 person gondola and a 6 person gondola. Yakebitaiyama is connected with Okushiga Kogen at the top and the Ichinose areas on the other side. This map shows all of the Shiga Kogen ski and snowboard resorts.
Nagano Prefecture is located in the Chubu region of the main island of Honshu. Most of the Northern Alps, Central Alps and Southern Alps are located within Nagano (along with neighbouring prefectures). Nagano has the second highest number of ski and snowboard resorts in all of Japan and they are spread around the whole prefecture. Nagano city and many of the major ski resorts are located in the northern region.
The tickets shown above (apart from those noted as Yakebitaiyama) are valid at all of the 18 ski resort areas in Shiga Kogen. Lift tickets include the use of the shuttle bus service within the Shiga Kogen area.
The 'Super Pass' tickets can be used for the respective number of 1 Day tickets during the season - the days do not need to be consecutive.
The 1.5 Day ticket is valid either for one full day and the following morning or an afternoon and the following full day.
A 500 yen returnable deposit is required for all lift tickets.
'Point Tickets' are also available, sold in blocks of 20-50 at 100 yen per point for adult and 50 yen per point for children. (Different ski lifts within the area require a different number of points to ride - for example, lifts need 2-6 points and Gondolas require 6-9 points).
Children up to elementary school age can ride the lifts for free at Yakebitaiyama (but not at the other connecting areas).
A ‘Premium Season Ticket’ that is valid at all the lifts at the nine Prince snow resorts in Japan throughout the 2017-2018 season is available for 100,000 yen. Available to buy until 15th November 2017. Valid at Furano, Shizukuishi, Naeba, Kagura, Muikamachi Hakkaisan, Karuizawa Prince Hotel, Manza Onsen, Shiga Kogen Yakebitaiyama and Myoko Suginohara.
Getting to Shiga Kogen Yakebitaiyama
By public transport
49.4km from Nagano Station on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line
21.5km from Yudanaka Station on the Nagano Dentetsu Nagano Line
37.9km from Iiyama Station on the Iiyama Line
Yudanaka Station on the Nagano Dentetsu Nagano line is the closest station to the Shiga Kogen ski and snowboard resorts and is about 21.5km away from Yakebitaiyama.
The Nagano line operates between Nagano Station and Yudanaka Station and the main Nagano line can be found just by the Zenkoji Exit of the main JR Nagano Station.
Iiyama Station and Nagano Station on the Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet train) line are about 38km and 49.5km respectively away from Yakebitaiyama.
Buses are available from Yudanaka Station to Shiga Kogen. This bus service bus takes about 30 minutes to get to the central Hasuike bus terminal of Shiga Kogen.
There is also direct bus to Shiga Kogen from the East Exit of Nagano Station. The journey from Nagano Station to Shiga Kogen typically takes around 80 minutes and costs 1700 yen.
Once at Shiga Kogen, a free shuttle bus service that travels around the ski areas operates during the daytime. This service is free to use for everyone with a valid Shiga Kogen lift ticket. The shuttle bus takes about 15-20 minutes to get from Hasuike to the Yakebitaiyama area of Shiga Kogen.
31.6km from the Shinshu Nakano IC on the Joshinetsu Expressway
37.1km from the Obuse PA Smart IC on the Joshinetsu Expressway
38.5km from the Toyota Iiyama IC on the Joshinetsu Expressway
Nearest national route: Route 292 (8km away)
Nearest prefecture road: Prefecture Road 471
Yakebitaiyama is just over 31.5km from the Shinshu Nakano IC exit of the Joshinetsu Expressway.
At the Shinshu Nakano IC exit traffic lights, go straight ahead on the Shiga Nakano Toll Road. This road is normally 310 yen per vehicle though there are alternative routes through a town area that do not involve a toll if you check maps. Continue straight on this road as it changes to Route 292. About 7km from the IC the road splits - be sure to keep in the right side lane to remain on Route 292. Shiga Kogen is clearly signposted in English. Route 292 heads all the way up to Shiga Kogen, passing close-by the popular Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park on the way.
Route 292 on the way up to Shiga Kogen is a wide and winding road which doubles back on itself a number of times. On a clear day with dry roads it is an easy journey but in mid-winter in snowy and icy conditions it can be much slower, especially if you find yourself behind a struggling large vehicle!
Soon after arriving in Shiga Kogen at the Hasuike junction, turn left onto Prefecture Road 471. (The road sign at the junction mentions Sakaemura and Nozawa Onsen - though note that in the winter months the section of road going to those places is closed). Continue on Prefecture Road 471 for about 6.5km. The base areas of Yakebitaiyama are on the left hand side of the road.
Important! During the winter season - usually from late November until late April - the section of Route 292 between the Yokoteyama area of Shiga Kogen through to Kusatsu town in Gunma Prefecture is blocked off and closed due to large amounts of snowfall. This means that Route 292 from central Yamanouchi on the Nagano side is the only way to approach Shiga Kogen in the peak winter months.
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