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[JAN 15 ONLY] FROM HAKUBA & NAGANO: NOZAWA FIRE FESTIVAL & SNOW MONKEY

[JAN 15 ONLY] FROM HAKUBA & NAGANO: NOZAWA FIRE FESTIVAL & SNOW MONKEY

Period

January 15th

Time

11:45 Hakuba/13:00 Nagano

Meeting Place

Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal / JR Nagano Stn.

Price

Adult (13+) 20,500 JPY
Child (6-12) 16,000 JPY
Infant (0-5) 5,000 JPY

Highlights

  • Witness the festivities (and craziness) of one of Japan’s most famous fire festivals – the Nozawa Onsen ‘Dosojin Matsuri’ – and enjoy exploring the popular and lively ski resort village at night
  • Visit the world-famous Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park and meet the only monkeys in the world known to bathe in hot springs
  • Enjoy an early and warming dinner one of the region’s best restaurants and indulge in Nagano’s renowned food and ‘sake’ culture
  • With alternative pick-up and drop-off points at Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal and JR Nagano Station

 

Description

 

In the midst Nagano’s cold white winter, there is one festival that is sure to set things alight and burn bright into the night! The Nozawa Onsen ‘Dosojin Matsuri’ is one of Japan’s three great fire festivals, taking place every January in the popular ski resort village. This tour takes to you to and from Nozawa Onsen to enjoy one of the Nagano’s most popular festivals in combination with an earlier visit to the world-famous Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park and early dinner to energize for the festivities to come! Including alternate pick-up points in Hakuba and Nagano City, this tour will long in the memory, long after the fire has burnt away!

 

The tour begins with pick-up at two alternative points: Hakuba’s Happo Bus Terminal at 11:45 followed by JR Nagano Station at 13:00. Your guide will greet you and quickly have you board the tour bus to begin your journey toward the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park.

 

Arriving nearby the park at approximately 14:15, your guide will lead you along the snow-covered forest trail (1.6km/1 mile) and introduce you to the only troop of monkeys in the world knowns to bathe in ‘onsen’ (natural hot springs). With no barriers between you and the monkeys, you can observe them in close proximity as they go about their lives in the deep snow and cold of winter; which of course in winter involves a lot of soaking in the hot spring!

 

Snow Monkeys_190217_0435snow monkeys in bath snow

 

Your  visit to the park is followed by an early dinner at one of the region’s best restaurants, Hotaru-tei. Housed in a refurbished 160 year old manion, Hotaru-tei provides an atmospheric and cosy refuge from the snow outside, as you are served a filling dinner to prepare you for the night to come. While there, your guide will explain about the festival – its meaning, history, and some helpful tips – to make sure you get the most out of your time in Nozawa Onsen.

 

Boarding the tour bus it’s time to make the journey to Nozawa to witness one of Japan’s three great fire festivals! Arriving at approximately 18:20, your guide will help you get your bearings by setting a meet-up place and time, and then walking all tours guests to the festival grounds to show where the main festivities will take place, pointing-out the best places to watch from. From that point, the evening is yours to explore the lively village!

 

nozawa fire festival

 

As one of Nagano’s most popular ski resorts, Nozawa is always lively with several public hot springs (and we mean, hot!) 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.

 

Fire festival

 

Fueled by tradition, bravado, and booze, the battle takes place with embers falling over the crowd and very little distinguishing onlookers from participants.

 

nozawa fire festivalFire festival 2

 

After finally, after the gods have been deemed happy and ready to bless the villagers with good luck, harvest, and happiness in the year to come, the shrine is set alight.

 

With festivities winding-down around 20:15, you meet-up with your guide and board the tour bus at depart Nozawa at 22:45. Feel free to fall asleep as we transport you back to your preferred drop-off point of JR Nagano Station at 23:45 or Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal at 01:00*, where the tour concludes.

 

*Arrival times are our best estimate but can be affected by road conditions and crowd numbers at the festival during winter. We ask that all guests cooperate with their guide in coming to the meetup points on time, to avoid unnecessary delays and inconvenience to other guests.

ITINERARY

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.
14:15 Arrive at the trail entrance to the Snow Monkey Park, from where you'll start walking for 30 minutes to the park, arriving at the park itself around 14:45.
15:45 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 before departing around 17:20.
18:20 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 22:45 and leave for Nagano and Hakuba.
23:45 Arrival at Nagano Station followed by arrival at Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal at approximately 01:00.

NOTES

Included:

  • 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

 

Excluded:

  • Foods/drinks unless stated otherwise (there are many vendors at the festival so you can choose freely from what is available there)
  • Accommodation

 

Other Information:

  • 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. Please also note that burning cinders may be floating in the air during the festival and clothes can be damaged.
  • This is a popular and crowded festival. It will not be possible for your guide to be with you at all times and there is no reserved seating/observation area. Please ensure that you watch the festivities from a safe distance/location and follow the festival rules, as instructed by your guide.
  • This is a family-friendly cultural tour, not a drinking tour. Consumption of alcohol is not allowed on the tour bus and we request that guests do not become intoxicated at the festival. Guests who are intoxicated can be refused carriage on the tour bus.
  • For those joining the tour from JR Nagano Station, arrival back to Nagano Station will be around midnight so our recommendation is to stay overnight at Nagano City.
  • Drop-off in Hakuba will be at the Happo Bus Terminal at approximately 01:00. Drop-off at other locations, including directly at your accommodation will not be possible.
  • The tour application deadline is 2 days before the tour date at 17:00.

MEETING PLACE

Google Map

Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal / JR Nagano Stn.

FAQ

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?

No. Unfortunately given the size of the tour and our late arrival at Hakuba we can only provide drop-off at the Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal.

 

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. Please note that shinkansen services will have ended by the time the tour returns tot the station so please arrange for accommodation nearby in Nagano City:

 

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

 

RESERVATION
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