[Touring Spot] [Nagano Prefecture] Bike trip to Shiga Kogen! A solo Harley trip through a place rich in nature formed by ancient volcanoes

Hello, this is _hiroyuki.ta. This time, I went on a motorcycle tour from central Tokyo to Shiga Kogen. Shiga Plateau is a plateau in the northeastern part of Nagano Prefecture, with many wetlands and ponds formed by volcanic activity, and is an area rich in nature where you can encounter alpine plants and wild animals. It is famous as a ski resort in the winter, but the climate is cool and comfortable in the summer as well, making it perfect for motorcycle touring. This time, we will introduce Shiga Kogen’s charms, highlights, motorcycle parking, etc.


What is Shiga Kogen?


Shiga Kogen is located in the center of Joshinetsu Kogen National Park and is a plateau that extends from 1300m to 2300m above sea level. The highest peak in Shiga Kogen is Mt. Yokote, which is 2307m above sea level. Shiga Kogen is also known as Japan’s oldest ski resort, and you can enjoy good quality powder snow in winter. In summer, the fresh greenery and flowers are beautiful, and outdoor sports such as trekking and cycling are popular. In addition, Shiga Kogen is home to Shibu Pass, the highest point on a national highway in Japan. Shibu Pass is at an altitude of 2172m and offers spectacular views of the sea of clouds and the Northern Alps.

Route to Shiga Kogen

On this tour, I set out on my favorite Harley-Davidson FLSB Sport Glide. The distance from central Tokyo to Shiga Kogen is about 300 km, and the journey takes about 4 and a half hours. Below are the main routes.

  • Enter Shuto Expressway Route 6 from Hakozaki IC and transfer to Shuto Expressway Inner Loop Line at Edobashi JCT.
  • At Takebashi JCT, transfer to Shuto Expressway No. 5 Ikebukuro Line.
  • Transfer to the Tokyo Gaikan Expressway at Bijogi JCT.
  • Transfer to the Kanetsu Expressway at Oizumi JCT.
  • Transfer to the Joshinetsu Expressway at Fujioka JCT.
  • Exit the Joshinetsu Expressway at Shinshu Nakano IC.
  • Proceed along National Route 292 towards Shiga Kogen.
  • Pass through the Shiga Nakano Toll Road.
  • We will arrive at Shiga Kogen via the Shirakaba route.

This route involves a lot of toll roads, but it makes for a more comfortable ride. You can also take a break and enjoy meals at service areas and parking areas along the way.

Highlights of Shiga Kogen

Shiga Kogen has many attractions where you can experience nature, history, and culture. We will introduce some of them below.

  • Yokote Summit Hutte: This hutte is famous as the highest bakery in Japan. Located at the top of Mt. Yokote, you can enjoy homemade bread in front of a panoramic view of the Northern Alps. There are always 10 to 15 types of bread lined up, and they are often sold out in the morning. We recommend purchasing the popular breads right after the store opens.
  • Shiga Kogen Beer: An authentic craft beer made by Tamamura Honten, a sake brewery with a history of over 200 years. It is made using spring water from Shiga Kogen, and in addition to the standard series, there are also limited edition products that use home-grown raw hops. The packaging is stylish and it is popular as a souvenir.
  • Bamboo shoot curry: A local curry featuring Nemagaridake mushrooms from Shiga Kogen. Nemagaridake is a member of the bamboo family whose stems bend and grow under the weight of snow, and is characterized by its elegant taste with little bitterness. The bamboo shoot curry contains plenty of round-sliced Nemagari-dake mushrooms, so you can enjoy the taste and texture of Nemagari-dake mushrooms.
  • Shiga Kogen Kisuge/Nikkokisuge: Kisuge, which blooms like a yellow carpet on the highlands in summer, is an alpine plant of the Liliaceae family that has a strong scent. In early summer, bright yellow flowers bloom in the evening and wither by the next morning, so it is also called Yusuuge. The daylily is named after the place of Nikko in Tochigi Prefecture, but it is distributed throughout the country. At Shiga Kogen, you can usually see a variety of alpine plants in bloom from July to August.

Shiga Kogen motorcycle parking lot

In Shiga Kogen, there are many places where motorcycle parking lots are available. We will introduce some of them below.

  • Shibu Pass, the highest point on a national highway in Japan: Shibu Pass is the highest point on a national highway in Japan, and is also a popular observation spot. There is a parking lot for motorcycles at Shibu Pass. It is free to use, but the number is limited. Also, since Shibutoge is a place with large temperature differences, it is a good idea to bring cold protection and a bike cover.
  • Yokote Sancho Hutte: Famous as the highest bakery in Japan, Yokote Sancho Hutte has a dedicated parking lot for motorcycles. It is free to use, but the number is limited. In addition to bread, Yokote Sancho Hutte also offers drinks such as coffee and juice, and light meals such as curry and stew. Yokote Summit Hutte is a scenic spot where you can see the Northern Alps and Shiga Kogen.


This time, I went on a motorcycle tour from central Tokyo to Shiga Kogen. Shiga Kogen is an attractive area where you can experience nature, history, and culture. There is also ample motorcycle parking, making it ideal for motorcycle touring. In the summer, the climate is cool and comfortable, and you can see alpine plants and wild animals. In winter, you can enjoy snowy scenery and skiing. Please take a bike ride and visit Shiga Kogen, which has a different look depending on the season.