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"Shiga Kogen Yakebitaiyama Ski Resort," a luxurious snow resort with a range of challenging intermediate courses

# Ski & snowboard
October 12, 2020
The innermost of the Shiga Kogen ski resorts, "Shiga Kogen Yakebitaiyama Ski Resort" is a luxurious snow resort managed by the famous Prince Hotels chain of the world. It was a slope that typified Japan in the bubble period and was used as the setting for the Japanese movie, "Take Me Out to the Snowland," which was released in the golden age of skiing. It has transitioned into a more compact ski resort, having been scaled down since then, but its charm still remains. This time we'd like to talk about the charm and features of its slopes in detail.

Slopes where you can enjoy the beauty of nature to your heart's content

Two skiers walking on the slopes

The ski slopes of Yakebitaiyama are composed of two gondola lifts, famous for their high carrying capacity, and three ski lifts, located in areas with plenty of space for movement. There’s a total of eighteen courses. It also has a course where you can enjoy long runs, with a maximum skiing distance of 2,500 meters.

It’s characterized by the fact that, as it was created with the concept of "harmony with nature", the trees that line the slopes have been left intact. Because of this, on clear day, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery and the thrilling ski experience of skiing between the trees as you go down.

The slopes were created with an emphasis on the landscape, so the course widths are narrow overall. As people may come rushing to the point where the slopes converge, beginners will need to be a little careful when they ski.

Unusual course difficulty where intermediate skiers can have the most fun

Vast slopes

While the adjacent Ichinose Family Ski Resort is aimed at beginners, Yakebitaiyama has plenty of intermediate courses. The course difficulty ratio is 35% beginner level, 35% intermediate level and 30% advanced level, but guests have mentioned that the difficulty level of the beginner courses is quite high. Because the average gradient is high and the course widths are narrow, the slopes are probably a little dangerous for beginners who have no experience whatsoever.

There are experienced skiers who say, "There are no real courses for beginners." With that said, the slopes aren’t entirely aimed at advanced skiers, and the difficulty level is such that even intermediate skiers can ski on the advanced courses if they really push themselves. In that sense, these slopes may be best fit for intermediate skiers who have graduated from the beginner class to enjoy themselves.

In any case, it looks like it's a good idea to accept that the course difficulty settings may be slightly off.

Olympic Course

The "Olympic Course," which served as one of the venues for the Nagano Olympic Games in 1998, is a popular course that typifies Yakebitaiyama Ski Resort.

As it’s a wide course - a rarity in Yakebitaiyama, where there are mostly narrow courses - you’ll be able to enjoy a truly wide-open skiing experience. There’s even an endless flow of skiers visiting Yakebitaiyama just to ski down this course. However, access to the Olympic Course is not so good, and it can only be reached by going down from near the summit, reached via gondola lift.

While it’s a slope where you can enjoy a long course, there are no lifts that are just for skiing the Olympic course. Intermediate skiers should be able to sufficiently enjoy all of the courses and can ski the richly varied courses other than the Olympic course.

The gondola lifts are famous for their carrying capacity

The gondola lifts

As mentioned earlier, there are some problems with course placement, but the carrying capacity of the two gondola lifts is outstanding. There’s almost no waiting time, and even during peak periods, you can go straight to the summit area with a waiting time of only about five minutes.

As there are only three ski lifts, rather than accessing the various courses by ski lifts, it would be more efficient if you enjoy a straight long run downwards from near the top of the mountain.

It’s located in a secluded area of Shiga Kogen, so it’s suited for an overnight stay

Ski slopes on a clear day

About 80 minutes by bus from Nagano Station. Even if you go by car, it’s a drive of over 30 kilometers from the nearest interchange, so access is a little inconvenient. As it takes time before you can finally start skiing, it’s impossible to enjoy a full day's skiing if you come from the metropolitan area.

It’s recommended to stay overnight so you can relax and enjoy yourself. Since the maximum elevation is some 2,000 meters and you can enjoy fluffy powder snow, it’s still well worth making the trip despite the poor access.

Three Prince Hotels with different concepts

The hotel

There are three Prince Hotels (East, South, and West) dotted about in the central area of the slopes.

The West hotel is reasonable in terms of price and quality, so it’s recommended for people who are looking for inexpensive accommodation. It targets those who want to focus on enjoying the activities.

The South hotel is mid-grade, with an excellent balance of price and quality. It’s recommended even for single visitors and couples.

The East hotel is the highest grade- the quality of the rooms and the cuisine is also high class. It would be a perfect place for those who want to enjoy a luxurious resort stay.

However, the downside is that prices at the hotels are high overall. For people who want to keep the cost down, it would be much more cost-effective to stay at a hotel at the adjacent Ichinose Family Ski Resort and enjoy skiing at Yakebitaiyama using a common pass.

The best place for intermediate skiers accustomed to snow

The view from the slopes

Shiga Kogen Yakebitaiyama Ski Resort is a ski resort with a range of courses with just the right level of difficulty, and it can be said to be a mecca for intermediate skiers. Utilizing the gondola lift's high carrying capacity, you can go around the various courses quite efficiently.

On the other hand, there are disadvantages such as the high prices and poor access, so it’s certainly a ski resort that is not for everyone. However, many people are attracted by the powder snow at an elevation of 2,000 meters, and we can say that it’s a slope worth visiting at least once if you want to enjoy a challenging course.

Pricing information and schedule may not be up to date and are subject to change without notice. Please check before your trip.

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Shiga Kogen Yakebitaiyama Snow Resort Nagano Prefecture

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Dec 05 - May 05
Longest run distance2,500 m
Maximum gradient39 °
Longest run2,500 m
Maximum39 °

Adult 2 people1 night

USD 95〜

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