As we head into the second half of summer it’s the right time to continue our series of articles focusing on the many great reasons to visit the Snow Monkey Park in July and August. The days remain hot but the subtle signs of another passing summer can be seen in the yellowing of the rice paddies, the changing evening light and color-filled sunsets, and blooming of late summer flowers.
With the humidity dropping, days are hot but now more pleasant, making August a great time to visit the monkey park. Visitor numbers in the park remain much lower than winter, with August being a little busier than July due to school holidays and ‘Obon’ – a traditional celebration in which many Japanese head to their ancestral homes and villages to spend time with their families. The Snow Monkey Park is a favorite destination for families, and both children and parents alike adore watching baby macaques now full of confidence and tackling their world (and each other) with open arms and bright, curious eyes.
The lush green and warmth of summer encourages visitors to take their time in park and enjoy watching the monkeys go about their lives. Younger monkeys make the most of the warmth wrestling and chasing each other around the park and, when the mood takes them, jumping into the pool to splash around and swim.
For those coming to the monkey park in summer, we encourage you to take your time and enjoy the beauty, tranquillity, and traditional comforts of rural Japan. Located in Kanbayashi Onsen, within easy walking distance of the park, Hotel Senjukaku is the region’s most luxurious ryokan (traditional guesthouse), known for its service, refinement, cuisine, and natural hot springs.
Drawing its water from the same source as the monkey park – the largest in natural reserve in Nagano prefecture – Senjukaku has both indoor and outdoor pools in which guests can unwind and relax into another world. The hotel also offer guests the option of booking a private onsen (for a small additional fee) in which they can soak in their own secluded baths.
Senjukaku is equally well-known for its service including ‘kaiseki’ (traditional, multi-course) dinners, which guests have the option of booking in advance. Meals highlight the best of local seasonal produce and other staples including Shinshu wagyu beef and Shinshu salmon, with vegetarian courses also available.
After dinner you are free to stroll in the quiet surroundings of Kanbayashi or bathe again, before retiring to your room and the sanctuary of Japanese traditional design – tatami floor mats, low tables and seating, and futon bedding (western-style beds are also available).
No visit to Japan is complete without experiencing the comfort of a traditional ryokan, and as a yearly favorite of members of Japan’s royal family, Hotel Senjukaku’s reputation for its service and hot springs speaks for itself and promises an indulgent stay within easy walk of the Snow Monkey Park.
For further information including reservations, please refer to our Hotel Senjukaku hotel page.
The Snow Monkey Park and Hotel Senjukaku are both readily accessible by both train and bus from JR Nagano Station. The Nagano Dentetsu (Nagaden) train line services the monkey park via JR Yudanaka Station. Numerous trains operate each day – including Nagano’s famous Yukemuri-class – along a scenic rail line, a great way to enjoy the surrounding countryside as you make your way to the park. For further information regarding the train timetable please refer to our access page.
Once at Yudanaka Station, you need to jump on a local bus for the quick journey to the monkey park itself or for guests of Hotel Senjukaku, a pickup service from the station is available (by request) upon booking.
Nagaden also operates express buses (as pictured below) directly from JR Nagano Station to nearby the Snow Monkey Park. No advance booking is needed. You simply buy a ticket from the driver once on the bus which will drop you at Kanbayashi Onsen, nearby the park.
Express buses can be accessed via JR Nagano Station’s East Exit and depart from Bus Stop 23. Furthermore information regarding the bus schedule can be found through our access page.