3-DAY KANAZAWA TO TOKYO: SNOW MONKEYS & CENTRAL JAPAN
Every Tuesday / Apr - Nov
(Day 1) 08:30 - (Day 3) 19:30
JR Kanazawa Station
3-DAY KANAZAWA TO TOKYO: SNOW MONKEYS & CENTRAL JAPAN
- Day 1: Experience of one Japan’s most iconic sights – the immense Snow Walls of the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route and witness the dramatic mountain landscape of the Chubu Sangaku National Park.
- Day 2: Visit the world-famous Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park and learn all about what makes the resident monkeys so unique and 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.
- Day 3: Witness the majesty of Mt. Fuji, Japan’s tallest and most iconic mountain, tour the Suntory Hakushu Distillery and sample their acclaimed whiskies, and explore the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, home to one of Japan’s most beautiful kimono collections and blessed with a spectacular view of Mt Fuji.
- Accommodation: this tour includes accommodation at Hotel Kokusai 21 in Nagano City on Day 1 and Day 2
*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 email@example.com with your request and we’ll get back to you with a customized itinerary and quote.
Starting from Kanazawa and concluding in Tokyo, this 3-day tour takes you to the fabled Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route on Day 1, Zenko-ji – one of the oldest and most important Buddhist Temples in Japan – and the world-famous Snow Monkeys of Jigokudani on Day 2, before heading onto Japan’s tallest and most iconic mountain, Fuji, via the Suntory Hakushu Distillery, Itchiku Kubota Art Museum – home of one of Japan’s great kimono collections – and Arakurayama Sengen Park on Day 3. All led by an English-speaking guide this immersive 3-day tour unlocks Japan’s dramatic alpine heartland and some of Central Japan’s most unique and iconic destinations before ending in Tokyo.
Your guide will meet you at Kanazawa Station at 08:30 (the guide will be waiting from 08:20 onward) and have you board the tour bus and begin your journey toward the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route. Known as the “Roof of Japan”, the route passes through a dramatic mountain landscape of the Chubu Sangaku National Park, home to the iconic Snow Walls. Rising to up to 20 meters in height, the corridor cuts through the snow is one of Japan’s most impressive and iconic sights (in best condition from April until late-June).
Arriving at Tateyama Station around 10:30 your guide will give you time to prepare for your ascent before boarding the Tateyama Cable Car at 11:00 – the first of a variety of mountain transports you will utilize to reach the summit and descend back down to Ogisawa.
At 2450 meters, this is Japan’s highest station – an isolated outpost in an inhospitable, dramatic landscape. Vast amounts of snow fall on the landscape each winter, making it inaccessible until spring brings warming temperatures and the chance to carve a route through the ice. Rising up to 20 meters above, the stunning snow corridor is one of Japan`s most iconic sights dwarfing people and tours buses alike! Your guide will allow you between 1.5-2 hours to stroll the area (depending on the pace of your), including time to explore the museum and surrounding area.
The snow walls are at their most impressive from April to June, slowing melting away through summer to expose a beautiful alpine landscape of green fields, blue lakes and ponds, and colorful mountain flowers.
Between 14:15-14:45 your guide will collect you and have you board the Tateyama Tunnel Trolley Bus to begin the journey down toward Ogisawa via the Daikanbo and Kurobedaira stations. A highlight of this section of your tour is the Tateyama Ropeway. Spanning 1700 meters, the ropeway affords amazing views of the surrounding alpine landscape as you quickly descend toward Kurobe Dam, via Kurobedaira.
Arriving at Ogisawa station at around 16:20 your tour bus will be waiting for you and your guide will get you onboard and on your way toward Nagano with the tour scheduled to conclude at your accommodation at approximately 18:30.
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.
You will be dropped at the hotel at the end of Day 1 and collected from the lobby on the mornings of Day 2 and Day 3. Including buffet breakfast on Day 2/3 and Western-style bedding and amenities in all rooms, Hotel Kokusai 21 is the perfectly positioned to give you the most comfortable stay while in Nagano and from where to explore the city at night!
Your guide will meet you at 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 by yourself.
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, summer, and autumn, your guide will assure you are well fed and ready to indulge in some ‘sake’.
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 then 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 eworld known to bathe in hot springs, there are no barriers separating you from the wild monkeys, making this a unique and memorable experience.
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 and concludes at approximately 17:30*.
The final day of your tour begins at the hotel at 8:20, from where your guide will quickly have you onboard the tour bus and on your way.
At approximately 10:45 you will arrive at the Suntory Hakushu Distillery, located nearby the picturesque Southern Alps . Japan is now well-established as one of the world’s premier whisky producers, with the Hakushu Distillery among the best. Blessed with an abundance of underground water, the mineral balance and sharpness in taste lends itself to the production of an acclaimed and wide variety of whiskeys at the distillery.
You are free to tour the distillery and on-site museum – with English audio included in the tour**- followed by a tasting. For guests less interested in whiskey, Hakushu has been chosen for its beautiful location and surrounding walking trails. Known for an abundance of birds and other wildlife, these easy paths are ideal to wander through before joining your guide and other guests for lunch – a seasonal Japanese menu – at the on-site restaurant.
It’s then time to continue your journey. Heading south you will soon have your first view of Mt Fuji, as the stunning slopes of the mountain come into view. Around 14:00 the tour will arrive at the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum. Established in 1994, the museum was positioned to afford visitors a spectacular view of Mt Fuji and houses the permanent collection of dyeing artist Itchiku Kubota – including his Fuji-inspired series, ‘Symphony of Light’ – and one of Japan’s most stunning kimono collections.
From the museum, it’s a short journey to your final stop, Arakurayama Sengen Park. Arriving around 15:45, the park is regarded as one of the most advantageous spots to view Mt Fuji and home to Arakura Fuji-Sengen Shrine and pagoda. Positioned halfway up Mt Arakura, this is the perfect location from which to breathe in the beauty of Fuji and a panoramic view of the fabled mountain.
Boarding the tour bus around 17:00, it’s time to relax as you are transported on the final leg of your journey to Tokyo, where the tour concludes at JR Ueno Station at 19:30*.
*Please note that all listed times are estimates of the expected itinerary and can be affected by weather and traffic conditions and peak busy periods.
**Use of Suntory Hakushu’s English audio guide requires each guest to have a smart phone with which to connect it.
|Day1 08:30||Meet-up with your guide at JR Kanazawa Station (your guide will be waiting for you at the meeting point from 8:20) and begin your journey toward Tateyama Station. Arriving at approximately 10:30, you will begin your ascent to the alpine pass. Board the cable car around 11:00 and begin your ascent toward the summit.|
|12:30||Arrive at Murodo and the stunning Snow Walls. Your guide will give you 1.5-2 hours to enjoy this iconic sight before meeting-up to begin your descent toward Ogisawa.|
|14:15||Begin your descent by the tunnel trolley bus toward Daikanbo and transfer to the Tateyama Ropeway, offering stunning views of the alpine landscape as you head down toward Kurobedaira, and onto the cable car toward the Kurobe Dam. Expected arrival time at Ogisawa Station where the tour bus will be waiting to transport you to the accommodation, where the tour conludes at approximately 18:30.|
|Day2 09:10||Meet-up with your guide in the lobby of your hotel at 9:10 and from there, first head to Zenko-ji Temple and explore the precinct with your guide followed by (time permitting) 25-30 minutes of free time and then lunch at a nearby restaurant before departing Nagano around 13:00.|
|14:00||Arrive nearby the Snow Monkey Park and walk along the forest trail into the park itself. Enjoy watching the wild macaques bathing in the onsen and going about their lives. Your guide will collect you around 15:40 to head back along the trail before beginning the journey back to JR Nagano Station where the tour concludes at 17:30.|
|Day 3 08:20||Meet up with your guide at you hotel and begin your journey south toward Mt Fuji , arriving at the Suntory Hakushu Distillery and enjoy a tour (including whisky sampling) or free-time before lunch at the on-site restaurant.|
|13:00||Depart the distillery and head toward the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum with Fuji rising into view. Arrive at the museum around 14:30 and explore the collections or beautiful museum settings, including view of Fuji.|
|16:00||Depart the museum and make the short journey to Arakurayama Sengen Park, known for its panoramic views of Fuji along with beauitful Shinto shrine and pagoda.|
|17:30||Board the tour bus and begin your final journey toward Tokyo.|
|19:30||Tour conludes at JR Ueno Station.|
- All transportation fees from Kanazawa, Nagano and Tokyo, and al between activities/attractions
- Ticket (including all transport) for the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route on Day 1
- Entry to the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park on Day 2
- Sake tasting on Day 2
- Suntory Hakushu Distillery Tour on Day 3
- Entry to the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum on Day 3
- Lunch on Day 2 and Day 3 (vegetarian options are available, please let us know beforehand)
- English-speaking guide on all days
- Accommodation (including breakfast) on Day 1 and Day 2
- Lunch on Day 1
- Other food, snacks and drinks
- Optional entrance fee to the inner sanctuary of Zenko-ji Temple on Day 2
- Shinkansen/bullet train tickets
- Accommodation in Tokyo
- Please wear suitable shoes and clothing for alpine walking and cold conditions. The Snow Walls are located at 2400 meters above sea level and weather can change quickly. Please ensure you have clothing suitable for changing conditions including rain and cooler temperatures (5 to 21℃).
- On bright days the glare of the sun reflecting off the snow can be intense. Please ensure you have sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- The Snow Walls are in best condition between April to late-June. Through July they will have significantly melted and by August, most snow will be gone revealing a beautiful summer alpine landscape.
- In case of extreme weather conditions, routes to the snow corridor might close. In such a case, the tour will be cancelled with full refund.
- This tour does not include lunch on Day 1. Please ensure you pack some food and drink with your for the journey to the alpine pass and/or money to purchase basic food on the day.
- 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.
- Views of Mt. Fuji can be affected by weather and there are days of low visibility. This is outside of our control and weather on the mountain can change quickly, therefore tours will proceed even if weather/visibility is forecast to be poor.
- This tour does not actually take guests on to Mt. Fuji. This is intentional and caters to guests who wish to view and photograph the mountain rather than climb it.
- 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.
- Accommodation in Nagano City is at a full service hotel with rooms including Western-style bedding and private bathrooms.
- The tour application deadline is 2 day before the tour date at 17:00.
MEETING PLACEGoogle Map
JR Kanazawa Station
To be confirmed at time of booking
Which train service should I use to arrive in Kanazawa on time?
We recommend arriving in Kanazawa on the day before the tour as services from major centers such as Osaka and Kyoto will not arrive on-time in the morning, and services from Nagoya requiring users to change trains several times over a very long journey. The following shinkansen service from JR Nagano Station will arrive on-time to join the tour however for guests coming from Nagano we suggest booking our tours starting from Nagano Station.
Departing Nagano Station – Arriving Kanazawa Station:
Nagano: 06:11 – Kanazawa: 07:38 – Hakutaka
Every Tuesday / Apr - Nov
(Day 1) 08:30 - (Day 3) 19:30
JR Kanazawa Station