The Shiga Kogen Highlands area is located in the northeastern part of Nagano. Formed by volcanic activity, it has a mountainous landscape. It is known as one of the world’s largest winter resorts, and it was the decor for many of the events of the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics.
The Shiga Kogen Highlands are still known for being a great place for skiing and other winter sports today. Snowfall here is reliable and plentiful, giving Shiga Kogen one of the longest ski seasons in Japan, starting in late November and running all the way through early May.
From spring to fall, more than 500 types of alpine plants bloom in the area, creating a visual spectacle. Visitors also can experience Shiga Kogen’s natural wonders during the non-snow season. One of the local attractions is the Yokoteyama Observation Deck, which at 2,305 meters above sea level is Shiga Kogen’s highest point.
Accessible in just about 10 minutes using the Skylator (escalator) and the Natsuyama Lift, it affords views of Shiga Kogen, the Kusatsu-onsen Hot Spring area, the Northern Alps, and even Mt. Fuji. The nearby Yudanaka-Shibu-onsen-Kyo Hot Spring Village and natural hot springs located in the Shiga Kogen Highlands are perfect places for tired visitors to relax after sports, nature walks, or other activities.