Nagano: Shiga Kogen Ski Area offers skiing until May
Skiiers and snowboarders can find a little late-season love from ski resorts in northern Japan.
Nagano, for instance, is known to be a haven for winter sports enthusiasts. Easily accessible by bus or train and located just a few hours north of Tokyo, the mountainous region offers a bevy of ski and snowboard resorts and a nearly endless supply of slopes and fresh snow.
Nagano’s Shiga Kogen Ski Area consists of the Mount Nokote region to the south and the Oku Shiga Kogen region to the north, both of which meet in the border town of Hasuike. The Oku Shiga Kogen region was once home to slalom events in the Winter Olympics.
Throughout Shiga Kogen, there are more than 20 ski resorts, all accessible by bus, and about 70 lifts to ferry athletes to the tops of various mountain slopes and hills.
The lifts are positioned conveniently enough. However, if visitors would like to forgo the 5,200-yen charge for a lift ticket, there is also a shuttle bus that runs between resorts that is free when you stay at certain hotels. Non-guests can expect to pay up to 1,000 yen for a bus ride to the top.
Though there aren’t many things to do in Shiga Kogen outside of snow sports, there are several onsens in the area, and a bus trip to the Jigokudani Monkey Park is available at most hotels. Both getaways come recommended by local hotel staff as alternative means of fun for those who want to give the slopes a rest.
A majority of the resorts in the area have English-speaking staff, but it is recommended that you confirm before you book your hotel. Most hotels have shuttles that will pick you up from train and bus stations.
Shiga Kogen Ski Area
Express bus from Nagano Station to Shiga Kogen.
The area is open from November to May 6.
One-day lift tickets cost 5,200 yen. Half-day tickets and long-term rates available.
Protective equipment, skis and snowboards are available for rent or purchase.
Shiga Kogen's many areas are listed under Nagano Prefecture at www.snowjapan.com/japan-ski-resorts.