A visit to the Jigokudani Monkey Park is one of Nagano’s most enjoyable experiences. For most people, the journey will begin at Nagano Station from where they have the option of heading to the park by express bus or train (followed by a short local bus ride) to reach the park.
We hope the following information helps you decided which option suits you best.
Visiting the Monkey Park by Express Bus
Operating to and from Nagano Station, the Nagaden Snow Monkey Express Bus runs all year round and with additional services during the peak season of winter. After stopping nearby the monkey park, many express buses continue onto to Japan’s largest ski resort, Shiga Kogen. In doing so, it connects two of the regions most popular destinations – the Jigokudani Monkey Park and Shiga Kogen – directly to the station.
The bus takes just over 40 minutes to reach the park from the station and around 55 minutes for the return journey. The bus operates from Bus Stop No.23, outside the station’s East Exit and costs JPY1500 per adult to the monkey park. Tickets are bought on the bus from the driver. Cash only.
Too check the bus schedule, please refer to our ‘Nagaden Express Bus Timetable’ page.
Visiting the Monkey Park by Train
The park can also be reached using the Nagano Dentetsu Line – most commonly called the Nagaden train. Also operating from Nagano Station, Nagaden operates both express and local services to the terminus of Yudanaka Station. The journey takes approximately 45 minutes and costs JPY1290. Local services from Nagano to Yudanaka are only slighter cheaper – at JPY1190 – but take substantially longer and require passengers to transfer trains. As such, we always recommend using an express service to reach Yudanaka.
For the train schedule, please refer to our ‘Nagano Dentetsu Line Timetable’ page.
Once at Yudanaka you need to jump-on a Nagaden local bus for the final leg of your journey to the park. Two local bus lines – the Kanbayashi Line and Shiga Kogen Line – head to stops nearby the monkey park. The ride is only around 8 minutes and costs JPY310 per adult and JPY160 per child. The ride back from the park takes a little longer – around 15 minutes – due to a different route and stops. Yudanaka is a small station and the buses operate from directly outside. You can’t miss them!
For the local bus schedule, please refer to our ‘Nagano Dentetsu Local Bus Timetable’ page.
Bus or Train – Which Option Suits Best?
Put simply, both options work well and both are covered by the Snow Monkey Pass (see below). Regardless of which option you choose, you’ll enjoy an easy and enjoyable trip to and from the park. But each option also has its strength.
For visitors who want to head straight to the park with needing to switch from train to local bus at Yudanaka including travelers with luggage, the express bus is a good option as it heads directly to the park from Nagano Station. The large coaches which operate on this line have storage underneath, allowing passengers to stow their luggage as they are transported to and from the park – a particularly useful option if you are staying in the area around the park.
Using the train requires you to then jump on a local bus at Yudanaka Station, however this is easy enough. The positive of using the train – particularly when you have the Snow Monkey Pass – is that you can jump on and off the train as much as you like, and combine your visit to the park with other popular destinations including Zenko-ji Temple, historic Obuse town including the Hokusai Museum, and Yudanaka and Shibu Onsen.
The journey itself is scenic with express trains offering great views of the surrounding landscape and plenty of room to relax.
The Snow Monkey Pass
All services discussed above are covered by the 2-Day Snow Monkey Pass. Valid for use for 2 days following activation, the Snow Monkey Pass allows for unlimited use on the Nagano Dentetsu line, Snow Monkey Express Bus and local buses to the park along with one entry to the Jigokudani Monkey Park*.
Passes costs JPY3600 per adults (13+) and JPY1800 (6-12). Children under the age of 6 can ride Nagano Dentetsu line and Nagaden buses and enter the park free of charge. Passes can be purchased at the following stations: Nagano / Gondo / Suzaka / Obuse.
For further information, please refer to our “Snow Monkey Pass’ page.
*Please note, this pass only covers bus services from Nagano Staiton to the Jigokudani Monkey Park. It does not cover services to Shiga Kogen.