People come to Nagano from far and wide to enjoy its natural beauty. And within Nagano, it doesn’t get much better than Shiga Kogen. With its majestic mountains and deep forests, not to mention the famous snow monkeys and other wildlife, Shiga Kogen’s wilderness is sure to delight your senses and instill a sense of awe.
Whether it is skiing in the winter, or hiking in the ‘green season’, Shiga Kogen is full of ways to get out and enjoy nature. In fact, the highlands are so extensive, it is hard to know where to start. Luckily, inside the 98 Center at Hatsuike Pond there is the Nagano Prefecture Shiga Kogen Nature Conservation Center. (Click here for there website.) Its displays show the various types of flora and fauna that can be found in Shiga, as well as descriptions of human interaction with the mountains over the years. A three dimensional map gives you an overhead view of the area and an idea of where the various areas are in relation to each other. The center also contains a wealth of information on hiking trails and how best to enjoy the mountains. They also offer snow shoe hikes in winter and guided nature walks in the green season.
In the same building as the Nature Center is the Olympic Memorial Hall. Shiga Kogen was the host of several alpine events during the 1998 Winter Olympics. Memorabilia from the events is on display in the hall. Here you can relive the excitement of the Nagano Games.
Yesterday I attended a Nagano Ryokan Junior Association meeting at Shiga Kogen and got to see the Nature Center and Olympics Hall for the first time. I also got to ride a special snow taxi — just one of the many ways to enjoy Shiga Kogen.