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2-DAY SNOW MONKEYS, LUXURY RYOKAN, ZENKO-JI TEMPLE & SAKE TOUR

2-DAY SNOW MONKEYS, LUXURY RYOKAN, ZENKO-JI TEMPLE & SAKE TOUR

Period

All Year Round

Time

(Day 1) 9:35 - (Day 2) 12:00 onward

Meeting Place

JR Nagano Station Information Board

Price

Adult (13+) 48,000 JPY
Child (6-12) 34,000 JPY
Infant (3-5) 16,200 JPY

Highlights

  • Visit the world-famous Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park and observe the hot spring-bathing monkeys at close proximity
  • Explore Zenko-ji, one of Japan’s oldest and most important Buddhist temples
  • Enjoy lunch at a nearby restaurant, experience Nagano’s renowned food culture and ‘sake’ with a tasting and learning experience all led by your guide (non-alcoholic option also available)
  • Experience traditional Japanese comfort and service with a night at the finest ‘ryokan’ (traditional guesthouse) in the Snow Monkey Park area including its acclaimed ‘kaiseki’ (multi-course fine dining) and unwind in the hotel’s refined ‘onsen’ (in/outdoor natural hot springs)
  • Enjoy a flexible second day, allowing you to return straight to Nagano City and continue your Japanese adventure, or decide your own self-guided schedule and explore some of the region’s other attractions using your all-day travel pass

 

Description

 

Day 1

 

Running throughout the year, this tour takes in some of Nagano’s most famous highlights in an enjoyable day of discovery followed by a memorable stay at one of the region’s most acclaimed guesthouses. With the flexibility to determine your own plans on the second day, this tour is ideally suited for guesthouses wanting to extend their visit to Snow Monkey Park and experience some of the best that Nagano has to offer!

 

Your guide will meet you at JR Nagano Station at 09:35 (the guide will be waiting from 09:20 onward) 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!

 

Zenko-ji temple in Nagano cityikko sanzan

 

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.

 

It’s then time for an early 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, summer, and autumn, meals are designed to match the season and complemented with a guided ‘sake’ tasting experience, led by your guide.

 

tour lunch 3

 

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 (a non-alcoholic option is 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 – rather dramatically translating to ‘Hell’s Valley’. Home to the only troop of monkeys in the world known to bathe in hot springs, there are no barriers separating you from the wild monkeys, making this a unique and memorable experience.

 

snow monkey baby with snowBathing Baby Monkey in a Hot Spring

 

Your guide will introduce these truly curious creatures and provide you time to enjoy the unique experience of observing them at close proximity. Make sure to bring your camera as you’re going to need it!

 

Snow Monkeys_181117_0398

 

By visiting the park in the afternoon when visitor numbers are lower, we aim to provide our guests with the best possible experience and more space and time with the monkeys. Following your visit to the park, your guide will accompany to your accommodation and say their goodbyes, leaving you to enjoy the comfort and indulgence of a traditional ‘ryokan’ (guesthouse).

 

Accommodation

 

Hotel Senjukaku is one of the most traditional guesthouses in the region – a place to relax, unwind, and indulge in traditional Japanese service. Checking-in around 16:30, the late afternoon and evening are yours to enjoy Senjukaku’s beautifully designed onsen and beautiful surroundings.

 

Hotel Senjukaku kanbayashiHotel Senjukaku kanbayashi

 

You can choose to soak in the hotel’s public hot spring, equipped with both indoor and outdoor baths or book a private onsen (at an additional cost). After your bath, get dressed in a ‘yukata’ (light kimono) and head to the restaurant for a ‘kaiseki’-style, Japanese multi-course dinner. Enjoy various dishes prepared with local ingredients and attended by hotel staff dedicated to making your stay indulgent and memorable.

 

Senjukaku dinner green seasonHotel Senjukaku kanbayashi

 

Please note, that this tour comes with a Japanese Standard Room including futon (on-floor) bedding and private bathroom. The room does not include an in-room onsen. Use of the hotel’s private onsen can be arranged upon check-in (at an additional cost).

 

Day 2 

 

The day begins with breakfast at the hotel – your choice of a Western or traditional Japanese menu – and no need to rush. Once filled with your choice of Japanese or Western-style breakfast, make sure to soak in the onsen one last time or simply enjoy a coffee while viewing the garden or wandering nearby.

 

Hotel Senjukaku kanbayashiHotel Senjukaku kanbayashi

 

Upon check-out, hotel staff will have you board the shuttle bus and transport you to nearby Yudanaka Station to continue your journey around Japan. This tour includes an all-day travel pass on the Nagano Dentetsu (Nagaden) train line on Day 2, allowing guests the flexibility to either head straight back to JR Nagano Station to continue their Japan adventure or explore historic Obuse and other nearby attractions on a self-guided second day – depending on your needs and interests.

 

For guests wanting to return straight to Nagano and continue their journey around Japan, express services from Yudanaka Station at 09:54 and 10:57 will have you back at JR Nagano Station at 10:40 and 11:47 respectively, where your tour concludes.

 

For guests wanting to extend their time in the region, the flexibility of your second day allows you to take it slower and explore nearby Shibu Onsen – a 1300 year old hot spring town – within easy walking distance of Yudanaka Station.

 

shibu street

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Shibu Onsen is blessed with countless natural hot spring sources, feeding numerous onsens inside the towns many guesthouses and 9 “public onsens” scattered throughout the town – each with its on unique medicinal properties. So valued were the healing properties of the thermal waters that the town was long held under the control of a local warlord, who used the hot springs to nurse wounded samurai back to health.

 

4095360dba10216ab61d7ac7577a5a65_mshibu-onsen-street-1024x768

 

While the town’s samurai days are now well behind it, Shibu Onsen is a quaint little town well-worth strolling through. Once onboard the train, you can also choose to break your journey back to JR Nagano Station by stopping at the the historic town of Obuse.

 

obuse

 

Famous for its chestnut confectionaries, sake breweries, and collection of small craft and food stores, Obuse is a popular daytrip for many Japanese wanting to enjoy some of the region’s most delicious produce. However for international visitors (along with many other Japanese), Obuse is best known as home of the Hokusai Museum, dedicated to Japan’s most acclaimed artist, Katsushika Hokusai.

 

The_Great_Wave_off_Kanagawa hokusai

Hokusai houou, Obuse

 

These destinations and others can easily be included in your self-guided second day itinerary, with the Nagano Dententsu (Nagaden) Day Pass allowing unlimited use on the train. Whether you need to keep moving or want to go slow and enjoy all that the region has to offer, this tour gives you the flexibililty needed to get the most out of your time in Nagano!

ITINERARY

Day1 9:35 Meet up with the guide at JR Nagano Station (the guide will be there from 9:20). The meeting point is directly in front of the Information Board, directly across from the shinkansen ticket gates.
10:00 Arrive at Zenko-ji Temple and explore the precinct with your guide followed by (time permitting) 25-30 minutes of free time.
11:30 Enjoy lunch at a nearby restaurant and sake tasting experience.
13:00 Depart Nagano City and head toward the Snow Monkey Park.
14:00 Arrive nearby the Snow Monkey Park area. Prepare and walk along the forest trail (25-30 minutes) 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 walk-out along the forest trail.
16:30 Check-in at your hotel, where your guide will say their goodbyes. The evening is then yours to enjoy and unwind.
Day2 Begins with breakfast at your hotel and time to relax before you are shuttled to nearby Yudanaka Station to board the express train. Guests can then choose to return directly to JR Nagano Station or stop along the way to explore other nearby attractions*.
*You are free to design your own itinerary to suit your interests and further travel plans. For guests wanting to spend longer in the region, nearby destinations include Shibu Onsen and Obuse, both easily accessed on foot or using your second day train pass.

NOTES

Included:

  • Transportation from and back to Nagano Station and between attractions
  • Entrance fee to the Snow Monkey Park on Day 1
  • English-speaking guide on Day 1
  • Lunch on Day 1
  • Accommodation at Hotel Senjukaku (incl. dinner and breakfast)
  • Nagano Dentetsu (Nagaden) all-day train pass on Day 2

 

Excluded:

  • English-speaking guide on Day 2
  • Lunch or dinner on Day 2
  • Extra drinks/foods separately ordered at the hotel.
  • Lunch for infants (0-5) on Days 1 (if you require food for an infant, please order/pay directly to the restaurant).
    Futon beds, dinner, and breakfast at the hotel for 0 up to 2 year-old babies.
  • Private hot spring option at hotel (¥1500 for 45 min. per group)
  • Shinkansen/bullet train tickets

 

Other Information:

  • Please wear suitable shoes for the walking trail.
  • Infants of 0-2 year old are free of charge.
  • 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.
  • This tour includes lunch at Monzen Terrace Enya on Day 1. On rare occasions it may not be possible to use this restaurant in which case we would switch to another, comparable location.
  • If you want to apply as a single traveler, a fee of 10,800 JPY will be added to the tour fare.
  • This tour includes a Japanese Standard Room with traditional futon (on-floor) bedding.
  • It is possible to extend your stay at Hotel Senjukaku. Please send us your preferred length of stay if this is what you’re looking for.
  • You will be provided with a Day Pass for use of the Nagaden Dentetsu (Nagaden) train line on Day 2 of your tour. This pass allows unlimited use of local trains along with use of express train services with the purchase of an additional JPY100 on each journey. Your guide will provide you with a day pass and 1 express ticket for use on Day 2. Guests wanting to use the pass to visit destinations including Obuse and then again use an express service, would need to purchase an additional express ticket (JPY100) from the ticket machines at the station. Ticket machines have an English function making the process simple.
  • The tour application deadline is 2 days before the tour at 17:00.

MEETING PLACE

Google Map

JR Nagano Station Information Board

Kurita, Nagano-shi, Nagano, 380-0921, Japan

FAQ

What time should I get on the bullet train to arrive in Nagano on time? What time does the bullet train depart back to Tokyo after the tour?

 

The start and finish of the tour are arranged according to the bullet train (called Hokuriku Shinkansen) timetable. See below for specific timetables for the bullet train departure and arrival times to/from Nagano Station.

 

Departing Tokyo Station – Arriving Nagano Station (Day 1):

Tokyo: 07:20 – Nagano: 08:43 – Kagayaki (reserved seats only) *

Tokyo: 07:24 – Nagano: 09:14 – Asama

Tokyo: 07:52 – Nagano: 09:30 – Hakutaka

* You can still take 07:52 – 09:30 train since JR Nagano Station isn’t big at all and there is only one Shinkansen ticket exit. The tour meet-up is just after the Shinkansen ticket exit so please come straight to there.

 

For guests wanting to return directly to JR Nagano Station on Day 2, you will be back at the station on-time to use the following services to Tokyo:

 

Departing Nagano Station – Arriving Tokyo Station (Day 2):

Nagano: 12:24 – Tokyo: 13:52 – Hakutaka

Nagano: 12:27 – Tokyo: 14:12 – Asama

Nagano: 13:20 – Tokyo: 14:52 – Hakutaka

 

Can I join the tour from meeting points other than JR Nagano Station?

 

Yes. We offer 3 pickup points in Nagano City for the convenience of our guests. Our main/default meeting point is JR Nagano Station at 09:35 – in front of the Information Board directly across from the shinkansen tickets gates – however we also offer pickup in the lobby of Hotel Kokusai 21 at 09:10 and in front of Monzen Terrrace Enya/Patio Daimon at 09:55.  You can choose your preferred pickup point from the relevant box on the booking menu. Please ensure that you come to your selected meeting point on time.