[JAN 15 ONLY] FROM HAKUBA & NAGANO: NOZAWA FIRE FESTIVAL & SNOW MONKEY
- Get transported from and back to Hakuba’s Happo bus terminal and Nagano Station to the Snow Monkey Park and to the Fire Festival in Nozawa Onsen
- Visit the world-famous snow monkeys and learn all about what make them so unique
- Enjoy an early dinner at a nearby restaurant and indulge in Nagano’s renowned food culture
- Walk around hot spring town Nozawa Onsen and enjoy the foot baths and festive atmosphere
- See one of Japan’s greatest fire festivals play out
In the middle of winter, there is one festival that will surely keep you warm. The Fire Festival of Nozawa Onsen, called ‘Dosojin Matsuri’ in Japanese, is one the three great fire festivals in Japan. Combine this festival with a visit to the onsen-bathing snow monkeys of the Jigokudani Monkey Park and you have a tour that shows you some of the highlights of Japanese winter!
The tour begins with pick-up at two alternative points: Hakuba’s Happo Bus Terminal at 11:45 JR Nagano Station at 13:00. Your guide will greet guests at both pick-up points and hit the road, heading toward Yamanouchi – home to the only hot spring bathing monkeys in the world!
Arriving in the monkey park area at approximately 14:00, your guide will lead you along the snow-covered forest trail to the park. As the only troop of monkeys in the world known to bathe in hot springs, your guide will introduce these truly curious creatures. Found deep within Jigokudani or ‘Hell’s Valley’, your guide will explain the history and importance of the park and provide you time to enjoy the unique experience of observing them in close proximity
Your visit to the snow monkeys is followed by an early dinner at a nearby restaurant, where your guide will explain your options and is always happy to discuss Nagano’s renowned food culture.
Having refueled yourself, it’s time to head to nearby Nozawa Onsen where you’ll witness one of Japan’s three great fire festivals. Arriving at approximately 18:15 there is plenty of time to explore the village before the main festival event. As the village servicing one of Nagano’s most popular ski resorts, Nozawa is always lively with a multitude of hot springs and foot baths to use for free. The atmosphere in the town is cheerful, with most villagers having imbibed their fair share of sake to purify themselves in readiness for the festival!
Preparations start at 19:00, with singing, drumming, fireworks and more. Then it’s time for the main event! The town converges on a wooden shrine, defended by men the ages of 25 and 42, said to be in unlucky years and therefore the charged with the shrines defence from the other villagers, who storm the structure with flaming bales of hay intent on its destruction. Fueled by tradition, bravado, and lots of booze, the battle takes place with embers falling over the crowd and very little distinguishing onlookers from participants. After the gods have been deemed happy and ready to bless the villagers with good luck, harvest, and happiness, the shrine is set on fire at 22:00.
At 22:15, meet-up with your guide at the designated meeting point, board the transport, and make your way back to first JR Nagano Station followed by Hakuba.
|11:45||Pick-up at Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal|
|13:00||Pick-up at the JR Nagano Station Information Board across from the Shinkansen exit gates.|
|14:00||Arrival at the trail entrance to the Snow Monkey Park, from where you'll start walking for 30 minutes to the Park.|
|15:30||Leave the snow-covered Snow Monkey Park and make your way back along the forest trail to get back to the tour vehicle.|
|16:30||Enjoy an early dinner to refuel yourself for the night to come.|
|18:15||Arrival at Nozawa Onsen. Enjoy free time to explore the hot spring village.|
|19:00||The preparations for the fire festival start with the bringing of the fire, the singing of songs, drumming, fireworks, and more.|
|20:00||The battle begins! The unluckily-aged defenders do their best to stop the attackers coming at them with a barrage of fire.|
|22:00||End of the festival! The shrine is set alight. Meet with your guide at the meeting point at 22:15 and leave for Nagano and Hakuba.|
|23:30||Arrival at Nagano Station followed by arrival at Hakuba area at approximately 0:45. Multiple drop-off points will be arranged in Hakuba for the convenience of guests.|
- Transportation fee from and back to Hakuba and Nagano Station to the Snow Monkey Park and between activities/attractions
- Snow Monkey Park entrance fee
- Early dinner (vegetarian options are available, please let us know beforehand)
- English-speaking guide
- Foods/drinks unless stated otherwise (there are many vendors at the festival so you can choose freely from what is available there)
- Wear warm clothes that can get dirty as there might be some cinders flying your way.
- There will be a lot of walking on paved and unpaved roads so please wear suitable shoes.
- 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.
- It will be cold in January in Nagano with likely snowfall and temperatures falling below 0 degrees. The cold is especially apparent at night so please wear warm clothes and shoes fit for winter.
- For those joining the tour from JR Nagano Station, arrival back to Nagano Station will be just before midnight so our recommendation is to stay overnight at Nagano City.
- Multiple drop-off points will be arranged in Hakuba for the convenience of guests.
- Confirmation email of your reservation will be sent to you within 48 hours after booking.
MEETING PLACEGoogle Map
Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal / JR Nagano Stn.
I have accommodation at a Hakuba district other than Happo (i.e. Goryu, Wadano). I’d like to ask for a drop-off point closer to my accommodation. Is this possible?
This is possible. Please let us know where you are staying in your tour reservation and we will let you know where we will drop you off.
I’m coming from Tokyo on the day of the tour. Which bullet train should I ride to arrive at Nagano Station on time?
See below the Hokuriku bullet trains which will get you to Nagano Station in time for the tour:
Departing Tokyo Station – Arriving Nagano Station:
Tokyo: 10:48 – Nagano: 12:15 – Kagayaki (reserved seats only) *
Tokyo: 11:04 – Nagano: 12:48 – Asama
Tokyo: 11:24 – Nagano: 12:52 – Hakutaka
What is the payment procedure after I submit a booking request?
Once your booking request is confirmed on our end, we will send you an electric invoice to the email address you submit in the reservation form. Once you have received the email, please click on the inserted link and complete payment either via credit card or Paypal.
January 15th, 2019
11:45 Hakuba/13:00 Nagano
Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal / JR Nagano Stn.