Though we aren’t yet into summer, winter is never that far away from the mind when living in Nagano. With the coming winter season already tantalizing us, Snow Monkey Resorts is happy to announce our latest tour – 1-Day Snow Monkeys & Zenko-ji Winter Illumination!
Running from December 15th to 25th 2019, the tour combines a visit to Nagano’s world-famous Snow Monkey Park with one of the region’s newest but most popular festivals, Having started in 2018, this year’s Zenko-ji Omotesando Illumination will again see the city’s famous temple come to light, as the temple itself and the historic precinct burst into vivid life with projected colors and images overlaying the area from 5PM to 8PM each evening.
In the chilled nights of early winter (and with a hope of early snowfall), the festival imbues Nagano’s historic heart with a hint of magic and the sublime, as the evening is awash with purple, gold, red and silver.
With alternative pick-up and drop-off points in Hakuba (10:30) and Nagano City (11:35), our 1-Day Snow Monkeys & Zenko-ji Winter Illumination tour includes an afternoon visit to Nagano’s world-famous Snow Monkey Park with the evening festival, and both lunch and dinner at two of our favorite restaurants in the region.
Lunch is at Hotaru-tei, a 160 year old traditional mansion nearby the monkey park – a favorite with both visitors and locals alike. Known for its historic character and delicious meal service, lunch is the first order of business on the tour before then heading into the Snow Monkey Park.
Home to the only troop of monkeys in the entire world known to bathe in hot-springs, the monkeys of Jigokudani have become wildly popular in recent years and no visit to Nagano is complete without seeing these curious creatures in the winter habitat. Your guide will accompany you in and out of the park and introduce you to our favorite furry Nagano residents!
Next stop is the illumination itself, where your guide will take into the temple precinct before setting you free to explore and wander through a magical winter evening before heading for dinner at Monzen Terrace Enya. A relative newcomer on the Nagano food scene, Enya has quickly established itself as a favorite – the perfect venue to indulge in a special winter menu and enjoy a complementary sake tasting led by your guide.
With drop-off points in both Nagano City (19:45) and Hakuba (21:00), this tour promises to quickly become one of our most popular – a great way to celebrate the festive period with a uniquely Japanese winter experience!
For further information including bookings, please visit our tour page: 1-Day Snow Monkeys & Zenko-ji Winter Illumination.
For guests wanting to stay in Nagano City after the tour, we recommend Hotel Kokusai 21. One of Nagano’s most established international hotels with a reputation built on attentive service, in-house services, Western-style amenities and English-speaking staff, Kokusai 21 is our recommendation for guests wanting the convenience, comfort and service of an international hotel in the heart of the city.