The Shiga-kogen Highlands area is in the northeastern part of Nagano. Formed by volcanic activity, it has a mountainous landscape. It stands as one of the world's largest winter resorts and was home to many of the events of the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. The Shiga-kogen Highlands are also known as a venue 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 through until early May. From spring to fall, more than 500 types of alpine plants bloom in the area, creating an uplifting spectacle. Visitors also can experience Shiga-kogen's natural wonders during non-snow season. One of 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.