How To Get There
There are various options to travel to Shiga Kogen Japan. The Shiga Kogen travel information and booking options include bus transfers to/from the airports to Shiga Kogen
and trains to Shiga
. Other Shiga Kogen transport information includes getting around the Shiga ski areas
and other ski resorts nearby
Where is Shiga Kogen?
Shiga Kogen, otherwise known as Shiga Heights, is located in Yamanouchi in the Joshinetsu National Park in the northeast of Nagano Prefecture. Ichinose (one of the main villages) is about 50km northeast of Nagano
and approximately 250km northwest of Tokyo
is a collection of 19 different ski areas, most of which have an associated village. The villages are spread out along two windy mountain roads. It’s about 14km from Okushigakogen at the northern end of the Shiga Kogen to Hasuike, a main intersection in the lower parts of Shiga Kogen. From Hasuike, it’s about a 7km drive along route 292 to the ski area in the southern most part of Shiga Kogen.
The town of Yudanaka
(and the adjacent Shibu Onsen
) sits at the base of the mountain, with a 14km windy road that leads up to Sun Valley, the first of the Shiga ski areas.
Tokyo Narita is the most convenient gateway airport for most international travellers, or Tokyo Haneda is another option. To search for flights to Tokyo and compare lots of different airlines and routes, use one of our
use recommended flight aggregators
Travel to Shiga Kogen
There are 4 main ways to get from Tokyo Narita Airport or Haneda Airport to Shiga Kogen:
Option 1: Shuttle Bus
- Direct shuttle bus with Nagano Snow Shuttle
- Train/bullet train to Nagano/bus
- Train/bullet train to Nagano/train from Nagano to Yudanaka/bus
Taking the bus provides the advantage of not having to lug your gear through train stations and onto trains.
There are a few schedules per day between Narita Airport and your Shiga Kogen accommodation, which takes about 5.5 hours. There is only one bus per day (in the morning) from Haneda to Shiga Kogen. The buses run through the main part of the season, but not in the late season.
Option 2: Train/train/bus
The train/train/bus combo can be faster than the direct shuttle and provides the opportunity to experience bullet train travel.
Part 1: From Narita Airport to Nagano
Travelling from Narita Airport (or Haneda) involves catching 2 trains. The first train is either a Keiser Skyliner from the Narita Airport terminals to Ueno, or a Narita Express Train (NEX) to Tokyo (for which you can use a Rail Pass) which takes about an hour. The second train is a bullet train (shinkansen) from Ueno or Tokyo to Nagano, which takes about 90 minutes.
Departures are pretty regular during the main part of the day, but you can check Hyperdia
for specific times. If you arrive into Nagano late in the day you may need to stop-over in one of the Nagano hotels
One way to catch the NEX and the Shinkansen is to buy a Japan Rail pass. See our Japan rail
travel page for more information on the JR East Pass (Nagano Niigata) including is it worth purchasing a JR East Pass
For train travel to Nagano from Kyoto, Nagoya, Osaka, or other parts of Japan, see Hyperdia
for schedules, routes and fares.
Part 2: Bus from Nagano to Shiga Kogen
Inexpensive Nagaden buses depart regularly from the east (Higashi) exit bus stops at Nagano train station. You can check the Nagaden Express website
for the latest timetables (in Japanese but hopefully you can use google translator). There are regular buses to the main/northern Shiga Kogen villages such as Okushiga Kogen, Yakebitaiyama and Ichinose. Buses to the little villages of Kidoike and Kumanoyo are less regular. The other option is to catch the bus to Hasuike, and then get the local shuttle to Kumanoyu.
You can also get bus schedules if you stop in at the Nagano Information Centre at the train station. They have English speaking staff and can provide bus timetables to get to Shiga Kogen, maps of Shiga Kogen, and information regarding activities around Nagano.
The bus trip takes about 70 minutes from Nagano to Sun Valley and another 10-15 minutes to Ichinose and Yakebi. The (inexpensive) bus fare needs to be paid in cash on the bus.
Option 3: Bus from Yudanaka Station
This is the same as for Option 2 to get to Nagano. From Nagano you can catch a local train to Yudanaka
on the Nagano Dentetsu line. This train is not covered on the Japan Rail Pass.
From Yudanaka train station, there are hourly buses (that are very inexpensive) up to the different villages of Shiga Kogen or you could catch a taxi.
Option 4: Driving to Shiga Kogen
Driving is a great option if you plan to visit various ski resorts in the region. You can get a rental car with English GPS to aid navigation (and enter the phone number of the hotel or resort into the GPS).
The drive from Tokyo takes about 5 hours. Unlike many other Japanese ski resorts where you can pretty much just drive up to the ski resort, the road up to Shiga Kogen is very windy and often snow covered. Snow tyres are highly recommended or even chains. The drive from Yudanaka town up to the main parts of Shiga Kogen takes about 30 minutes.
Getting Around Shiga Kogen
Shiga Kogen is very spread out. The various villages are distributed along a stretch of mountainous road approximately 21km long. So whilst it’s possible to navigate each of the villages on foot, it’s obviously not possible to walk between the villages of Shiga Kogen.
Shuttle buses operate between the villages, which are complimentary if you have a lift pass. Shuttle timetables are available from some accommodations, the Hasuike Information Centre, the Nagano Information Centre, or on the bus stops. The free shuttles operate from 8:30am to about 17:30, and a paid evening bus goes until about 8:30pm.
Skiing or boarding is an easy way to get around between the villages because the ski areas in the northeast are inter-connected. However if you want to get between the northeast villages and the southeast resorts, you’ll need to catch a shuttle bus. Schedules from the furthest northeast villages (e.g. Yakebi, Ichinose, Okushigakogen) are irregular, so either ski or catch a bus to Hasuike. From Hasuike there are more regular bus services to Kumanoyu and Yokoteyama. The buses stop at every stop, so it’s a painstaking hour long trip from one end of Shiga Kogen to the other.
It’s also possible to book a taxi to get around Shiga Kogen, although it’s somewhat expensive because the taxi may come from the bottom of the mountain.
Other Ski Resorts Nearby
Kita Shiga Kogen (ie north Shiga Kogen) is very close to Shiga Kogen as the crow flies, with Ryuoo Ski Park being just over the hill from Okushiga Kogen, however the drive to Kita Shiga Kogen is a decent distance via Yudanaka. The Mt Kosha ski resorts of Kijimadaira, Yomase Onsen, Yamabiko no Oka, and X-Jam Takaifuji are also very close by. These resorts are mostly easily accessed if you have your own wheels or are on a muti-resort tour.
There are other major Nagano ski resorts, so it’s easy to combine Shiga Kogen with another ski resort or two on your Japan ski holiday. Nearby ski resorts include Nozawa Onsen
, Myoko Kogen
. There are shuttle buses between Shiga Kogen (Inchinose) and Hakuba and Nozawa Onsen with Nagano Snow Shuttle (Inter-Resort).