18 ski areas make up one of Japan's leading winter resorts
Shiga Kogen is a highland area with altitudes reaching more than 1,000 meters and is part of the Joshinetsukogen National Park in northern Nagano Prefecture. The area is one of Japan’s leading snow destinations with 18 ski resorts — a total of 84 courses where the longest run stretches 5,000 meters. Buses run between each site and you can go back and forth between some of them. You can use your lift ticket on all the mountains (excluding night tickets), so one day in Shiga Kogen can include skiing, snowboarding and having fun in the snow at multiple ski resorts. The snow season at Shiga Kogen is long because of the area’s high elevation and low temperatures, meaning you can be on the slopes until early May. Like other Japanese snow destinations, the area is famous for its hot springs, and you can bathe in the healing waters in the lodging facilities at the eight onsen spots. At the foot of the Shiga Kogen area is Jigokudani Yaen-Koen — more famously known as the Monkey Park where wild monkeys come down from the trees to bathe in the hot water. While the monkeys live across wide swathes of Japan, at the park you can observe them in their adopted habitat.