HOW TO: PREP FOR THE HIKE TO JIGOKUDANI MONKEY PARK
Planning your visit to the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park? Visiting Nagano’s famous monkeys is a unique and memorable experience. In order to ensure that your trip goes as smoothly as possible this page provides information on how to get yourself to the park and make the most of your visit!
How to get here:
The Snow Monkey Park is accessible from JR Nagano Station by both train and bus. Nagano Dentetsu (Nagaden) operates both services. No advance booking is needed for either with tickets bought at the station (for the train) and directly from the driver (for the express bus).
For further information on how to get yourself here, please refer to our page detailing the train and bus services from Nagano to the Snow Monkey Park.
From the bus stop:
Depending on whether you come to the park using the express bus from JR Nagano Station or local bus from JR Yudnaka Station, you will be dropped at different stops in Kanbayashi Onsen. The stops are very nearby each other and equally convenient, at the bottom of the hill down from the monkey park.
When you get off the bus simply follow the signs directing you uphill to the park. Anyone of reasonable fitness can handle this walk but please proceed carefully in winter. The road can become iced over so walk slowly and watch your step.
Access to toilets:
There are public toilets in the park itself but also before you start your walk along the trail. When walking toward the trail entrance you will pass the parking lot on your right with a highly visible toilet block. This is the last public toilet before heading into the park (another 30 to 35 minute walk).
Just up from the parking lot (shortly before the trail entrance) you will pass Enza Café. The café also has toilets however they are for the use of customers only.
Breakfast and lunch options before the heading into the park
Enza Café is the closest restaurant to the Snow Monkey Park and serves a fantastic menu of both Japanese and Western food, coffee and other drinks including alcohol. Enza is a great place to stop before heading in or on the way out to energize, recharge, and make the most of your time at the park.
Enza’s menu includes delicious chicken-based ramen, wraps, sushi, fried chicken and French fries along with coffee, hot chocolate, refreshing soft drinks and juices, and alcoholic beverages. Most menu items are available for takeaway however please note that food and drink cannot be taken into the park. Any food you have on you must concealed in closed bags and not visible to the monkeys.
Enza provides bins for its customers however these are not intended for public us. There are no other bins before the park so rubbish must be carried in and out by visitors. Again, make sure this is concealed as the monkeys will be just as interested in food wrappers.
Rental bicycles are available at Enza Café during spring, summer, and autumn and are a great way to enjoy the beauty and tranquillity of rural Japan as you cycle down to Yudanaka Station.
Preparing to walk along the trail
Just up the hill from Enza Café you will quickly come to the trail entrance. To the left of the trail you can’t miss the Snow Monkey Resorts Info & Gift Shop. English-speaking staff can assistance you with anything you might need to know and the store sells a range of monkey stuff and rental boots and jackets in winter.
Tickets for the Snow Monkey Park are not sold here nor is there a toilet. Tickets for the park are bought at the park itself, at the end of the trail.
Weather conditions in winter can be harsh, with low temperatures and heavy snowfall to be expected. Appropriate footwear and clothing is a must to ensure your comfort and safety during the winter months. Rental boots (JPY800) and jackets (JPY500) are available at Info & Giftshop. Luggage can also be stored here (JPY500) while you are in the park.
A range of items including gloves and beanies are also available for purchase. Crampons (metal spikes that attach to the sole of your shoes) are available for purchase (JPY1350) and are highly recommended in winter as the trail can be very icy and it’s easy to fall over, so please proceed carefully.
Walking the Forest Trail to the Park:
The trail leading to the Snow Monkey Park is 1.6KM /1 mile in length. In good weather this is an easy walk which is estimated to take 25 minutes. The trail is maintained but unpaved. Its condition is good through most of the year and the walk is easy and relaxing however it is subject to weather conditions. In heavy rain it can become muddy and in winter it will be affected by ice and snow.
The initial part of the trail inclines upwards but this is only for 20 meters, after which the path is basically level until the very end. The final part of the trail is a somewhat steep cement staircase or very steep paved path leading up to the park above. Anyone of reasonable fitness can do this walk but exercise caution in winter and take your time.
Entry to the Jigokudani Monkey Park:
The park itself is situated at the top of the stairs. Tickets are bough directly from the staff at the window. For opening times, prices, and other access information please refer to our Snow Monkey Park Information page. We look forward to seeing you here!