What do ski lifts do in the Green Season? Just sit around waiting for the snow to fall to bring skiiers? Not here in Nagano. Many snow resorts operate lifts in the summer, too, providing access to alpine wonderlands usually not easily reached. The lifts can give you a break from the stifling summer heat by taking you up to mountain tops where it’s several degrees cooler than down below.
Our family recently rode the lift at Hijiri Kogen. There the attraction wasn’t the flowers, it was the 360-degree panorama view (as well as the slider ride on the way back down). Hijiri Kogen is best reached by car (approx. 25 min.) from Omi IC on the Nagano Expressway.
Shiga Kogen Heights offer alpine trekking easily reached by a series of lifts and even escalators (at Yokoteyama). One such route is described here.
As Nagano transitions from summer to fall, the greens are replaced by golden yellows, browns and reds as the fall foliage comes on. Even more reason to ride Nagano’s ski lifts in skiing’s off-season!