Exploring Shiga Kogen: A Tranquil Mountain Escape

Exploring Shiga Kogen: A Tranquil Mountain Escape

Exploring Shiga Kogen: A Tranquil Mountain Escape

Shiga Kogen is a serene mountainous region located in the heart of Japan, known for its picturesque landscapes and tranquility. Nestled within the Joshinetsu Kogen National Park in Nagano Prefecture, Shiga Kogen offers a perfect escape from the bustling city life.

Getting to Shiga Kogen

Shiga Kogen can be easily accessed from major cities like Tokyo and Nagoya. The most convenient way to reach Shiga Kogen is by train and bus. From Tokyo, take the bullet train (Shinkansen) to Nagano Station. From there, transfer to a local train bound for Yudanaka Station. From Yudanaka, a bus service operates directly to Shiga Kogen.

Accommodation Options

Shiga Kogen offers a range of accommodation options to suit every traveler's needs. From cozy mountain lodges to luxurious resorts, there is something for everyone. Visitors can choose to stay in traditional Japanese-style ryokans, which provide an authentic experience with tatami floors and onsen (hot spring) baths. There are also modern hotels and guesthouses available for those seeking a more contemporary stay.

Activities in Shiga Kogen

1. Skiing and Snowboarding: Shiga Kogen is famous for its excellent skiing and snowboarding conditions. With over 19 ski resorts and 80 kilometers of slopes, it offers a wide range of options for beginners to advanced skiers. The powder snow and breathtaking scenery make it a dream destination for winter sports enthusiasts.

2. Snow Monkey Park: Located near Shiga Kogen, the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park is a must-visit attraction. This unique park is home to a troop of Japanese macaques, also known as snow monkeys. Visitors can observe these adorable monkeys bathing in the natural hot springs, a sight that is both fascinating and endearing.

3. Hiking and Nature Walks: During the summer months, Shiga Kogen transforms into a hiker's paradise. There are numerous hiking trails that allow you to explore the lush green landscapes, alpine flowers, and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. The well-maintained paths cater to all levels of fitness and provide a tranquil escape into nature.

4. Onsen Experience: Shiga Kogen is known for its abundance of natural hot springs. After a day of skiing, hiking, or exploring, relax and rejuvenate in one of the many traditional onsen establishments. These therapeutic baths are believed to have healing properties and are an integral part of Japanese culture.

Local Cuisine

Shiga Kogen offers a variety of local cuisines that are not to be missed. Some popular dishes include:

  • 1. Hoba Miso: Grilled miso-marinated vegetables and meat served on a magnolia leaf.
  • 2. Oyaki: Traditional Japanese dumplings filled with vegetables or meat.
  • 3. Sobameshi: A unique combination of fried noodles and rice, often topped with a special sauce.
  • 4. Sake: Shiga Kogen is known for its sake production, so don't forget to try a glass of locally brewed sake.

Exploring the Surroundings

While Shiga Kogen itself offers many attractions, the surrounding areas are also worth exploring:

1. Matsumoto Castle: Located in the nearby city of Matsumoto, Matsumoto Castle is one of Japan's premier historic castles. Known as the "Crow Castle" due to its black exterior, it is a designated National Treasure and offers a glimpse into Japan's feudal era.

2. Zenkoji Temple: Situated in Nagano City, Zenkoji Temple is one of Japan's most important and revered Buddhist temples. The temple's main hall houses a hidden Buddha statue that is only shown to the public every six years. A visit to Zenkoji is a spiritual and cultural experience.


Shiga Kogen is a hidden gem in the Japanese Alps, offering an unforgettable mountain escape. Whether you are seeking adventure on the slopes or tranquility in nature, Shiga Kogen has something for everyone. Immerse yourself in the beauty of this serene destination and create memories that will last a lifetime.