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2-DAY TAKAYAMA TO NAGANO TOUR: SNOW MONKEYS & HIGHLIGHTS OF CENTRAL JAPAN

2-DAY TAKAYAMA TO NAGANO TOUR: SNOW MONKEYS & HIGHLIGHTS OF CENTRAL JAPAN

Period

Tues & Fri / Apr - Nov

Time

(Day 1) 9:00 - (Day 2) 17:30

Meeting Place

Takayama Station

Price

Adult (13+) 55,000 JPY
Child (6-12) 43,350 JPY

Highlights:

  • Explore the stunning alpine valley of Kamikochi, renowned for its pristine natural state and walk its trails and discover its highlights including Asuza River, Taisho Pond, and Kappa Bridge.
  • Visit Matsumoto Castle – one of Japan’s last remaining original castles and a registered National Treasure
  • Explore Zenko-ji, one of Japan’s oldest and most important Buddhist temples, and home to the first known Buddhist statue to be brought to Japan.
  • Visit the world-famous Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park and learn all about what makes the resident monkeys so unique
  • Enjoy Nagano’s renowned food culture – with lunch included on Day 2 – and sample some of the region’s acclaimed ‘sake’ with a tasting and learning experience all led by your guide (non-alcoholic options also available)
  • Be transported from Takayama to Nagano across the dramatic Hida Mountains, all led by an English-speaking guide
  • Accommodation: this tour includes accommodation in Nagano City on Day 1

 

*This tour is limited to groups of 2 people and more.

 

**If you would like arrange this tour outside of its standard dates of operation, or if you are a group seeking the comfort and convenience of a private tour, please contact us at snowmonkeyresorts@machinovate.com with your request and we’ll get back to you with a customized itinerary and quote.

 

Description

 

Situated between the popular destinations of Tokyo and Kyoto, the mountainous of region of Nagano is the literal heart of Japan and a road less travelled by many international visitors. This tour transports you to the alpine oasis of Kamikochi in the spectacular Hida Mountains and Matsumoto Castle before reaching Nagano on Day 1, and visits to Zenko-ji – one of the oldest and most important Buddhist temples in Japan – and the world-famous Jigokudani Snow Monkey park on Day 2. All led by a locally-based, English-speaking guide this immersive 2-day tour captures the essence of Central Japan by combining its most unique and stunning destinations in one convenient package.

 

Day 1

 

Your guide will meet you at Takayama Station at 09:00 and quickly have you onboard the tour bus, headed into the beautiful Northern Alps.

 

Situated 1500 meters above sea level deep within the Chubu Sangaku National Park, Kamikochi is famous for its pristine natural state, beautiful rivers and ponds, lush forests, and dramatic mountain peaks rising to over 3000 meters. Arriving at approximately 10:45, your guide will accompany you into Kamikochi and make you familiar with its many walking trails and highlights, before setting a meet-up point and time and setting you free to enjoy the next few hours for yourself.

 

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Asuza River, Taisho Pond, and the iconic Kappabashi (Kappa Bridge) are among Kamikochi’s most famous sights are accessible within the available; and of course, should you prefer to stroll with your guide, they’ll be more than happy to show you these spectacular places.

 

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Boarding the tour bus around 13:45 you begin your journey toward Matsumoto, and route that takes in further stunning alpine scenery as you descend to the valley below. Arriving at Matsumoto Castle around 15:15 you are free to explore the historic grounds and enter the castle itself – one of the last remaining original castles in Japan and a registered National Treasure.

 

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Meeting up with your guide around 16:15 it’s time to head onto Nagano, where the tour concludes with drop-off at your hotel – Hotel Kokusai 21 – around 17:45.

 

As one of Nagano City’s most established and international hotels, Hotel Kokusai 21 is conveniently located within easy walking distance of the city’s restaurants and entertainment area, and prides itself on its many in-house services and English-speaking staff.

 

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Day 2

 

Your guide will collect you from the lobby of your hotel at 09:10 and from there head to Zenko-ji. As a registered National Treasure, the temple is the most important cultural site in Nagano and one of the oldest and most important Buddhist temples in the entire country! A place of true historic importance, full of legends and myths, you will be guided around the temple before (time permitting) your guide will give you the opportunity to explore the surrounding precinct of smaller temples, shops, and food vendors by yourself.

 

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It’s then time for lunch! Depending on the time of year we use different restaurants, each serving cuisine highlighting the best of Nagano’s renowned food culture. From delicious and warming beef, chicken, or vegetarian hot pot in the winter months, to mixed sushi plates and Nagano-style chicken or seasonal grilled vegetables through spring to autumn, your guide will assure you are well fed and ready to indulge in some ‘sake’.

 

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Home to a huge number of breweries, Nagano is synonymous with sake and no visit to the region is complete without delving into Japan’s most famous beverage. Dip you toes into this seductive world as your guide explains the process, terminology, and appreciation of Nagano’s acclaimed sake (non-alcoholic options also available).

 

Well-fed and warmed by sake it’s time to head-out of Nagano, as you are transported to the Snow Monkey Park. Your guide will take you along the forest trail which leads to the park and into Jigokudani . Home to the only troop of monkeys in the entire world known to bathe in hot springs, there are no barriers separating you from the wild monkeys, making this a unique and memorable experience.

 

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Your guide will introduce these truly curious creatures and provide you time to enjoy the unique experience of observing them in close proximity. Your guide will then accompany back along the trail and soon have you heading back toward Nagano, the perfect time to sit back, relax, and look through all those monkey photos before the tour returns to JR Nagano Station (or Hotel Kokusai 21) and concludes at approximately 17:30.

ITINERARY

Day1 09:00 Meetup with your guide and board the tour bus headed for Kamikochi.
10:45 Arrive at Kamikochi, where you will be free to explore the beautiful alpine valley for approximately 3 hours, before boarding the tour bus and heading for Matsumoto.
15:15 Arrive at Matsumoto Castle and explore the historic grounds including entering the castle itself and climbing to the top of its 6-storys (should you so choose).
16:15 Board the tour bus and head to Nagano City, where the day's tour is scheduled to end at your accommodation at 17:45.
Day2 09:10 Meet your guide in the lobby of your hotel and head to Zenko-ji.
10:00 Arrive at Zenko-ji Temple and explore the precinct with your guide followed by (time permitting) 25-30 minutes of free time, followed by sake tasting and lunch around 12:00.
13:00 Depart Nagano City and head toward the monkey park. Arriving near the park around 14:00, your guide will take you along the forest trail and into the park.
14:40 Arrive at the park and enjoy watching the wild macaques bathing in the onsen and going about their lives.
15:40 Depart the park and begin the journey back to Nagano City.
17:30 The tour concludes at JR Nagano Station.

NOTES

Included

  • Transportation fee from Takayama to Nagano and all between activities/attractions
  • Matsumoto Castle entrance fee
  • Accommodation on Day 1
  • Snow Monkey Park entrance fee
  • Lunch on Day 2 (vegetarian options are available, please let us know beforehand)
  • Sake tasting
  • English-speaking guide

 

Excluded

  • Lunch on Day 1 and other food, snacks, and drinks
  • Optional entrance fee to the inner sanctuary of Zenko-ji
  • Shinkasen/Bullet train tickets

 

Other Information

  • Please wear suitable shoes and clothing for alpine walking in Kamikochi and the Snow Monkey Park.
  • Kamikochi is located at 1500 meters above sea level and weather can change quickly. Please ensure you have clothing suitable for changing conditions including rain and cooler temperatures (7 to 22℃). The monkey park is located at 850 meters, with similar outdoor clothing suitable for your visit.
  • During the winter it is common to see the Snow Monkeys enjoying the hot spring bath, however from spring up to autumn there will be times where the monkeys play or eat in the water, however please note that the monkeys are wild animals and there is no guarantee that there will be monkeys in the bath.
  • There are a few days in the year that the monkeys might not come down to the park. In such case we will provide an alternative activity.
  • Infants (0-5) are free of charge. An infant lunch is not included and the order will be made directly to the restaurant according to your needs.
  • The tour application deadline is 2 days before the tour date at 17:00.

MEETING PLACE

Google Map

Takayama Station

To be confirmed at time of booking

FAQ

Which train service should I use to depart Nagano to Tokyo after the tour concludes on Day 2?

The start and end of the tour are arranged according to the bullet train (called Hokuriku Shinkansen) timetable. The following departures (or later) from Nagano to Tokyo can be used following the tour’s conclusion:

 

Departing Nagano Station – Arriving Tokyo Station:

Nagano: 17:55 – Tokyo: 19:20 – Kagayaki (reserved seats only)

Nagano: 18:22 – Tokyo: 20:00 – Hakutaka