From Kamikochi: How to Get to the Snow Monkey Park

From Kamikochi: How to Get to the Snow Monkey Park

Often described as one of the country’s most beautiful natural treasures, Kamikochi sits high in the Hida Mountains – Japan’s highest mountain range. Kamikochi ranks among Central Japan’s most popular destinations, along with the Jigokudani Monkey Park, which can be reached on a multi-step journey across the heart of Japan. On this page you will find the following information:

Where is the Jigokudani Monkey Park?

Directions to the Park from Kamikochi

Accessing the Park via Nagano Station

Recommended Accommodation in Nagano City

Monkey Park General Information

25 Things to Do Around the Monkey Park & Where to Stay

Charters from Kamikochi to the Monkey Park

Tours and Charters in the Kamikochi Area

Nestled high in the Hida Mountains, Kamikochi is found in the southern half of Chubu Sangaku National Park – Japan’s third largest national park. A true alpine oasis sitting beneath the high peaks of Mt Yari (3180m), Mt Hotaka (3190) and Mt Yakedake (2455m), the valley follows the Azusa River and is home to diverse range of flora and fauna. Hiking trails span-out along the valley floor and follow the river as it meanders north to south, before more advanced hiking and climbing routes ascend to the mountains above. For suggestions of what to do while there, see our ’15 Things To Do In Kamikochi & Where To Stay’ page.


Based in Nagano and operating all year round, we are the region’s No.1 tour and charter operator. Our group tours run throughout the year, including multiple tours to the monkeys. We can also arrange private tours and charters to the park along with any destination in the region, and as a registered travel agent, we can package transport, accommodation and more together so you save and get the most out of your time at the park, Nagano and beyond – scroll to the bottom for details.


The Jigokudani Monkey Park – often referred to as the Snow Monkey Park – is around 35KM / 50-minutes to the north-east of central Nagano City and around 140KM / 3-hours drive to the north-east of Kamikochi. Open every day, the monkeys come to the park through the year making it one of Nagano’s most popular attractions. When heading to the park using public transport from Kamikochi, it will be easiest to do so by first heading to Matsumoto Station and then onto Nagano Station. Once at Nagano, an express bus runs directly to Kanbayashi Onsen – where the park is located – or alternatively, you can take the Nagano Dentetsu railway to Yudanaka Station – the nearest train station to the park – and from there, take a local bus to the park. Both options take around 50 to 55-minutes in total to get there and add-up to a total journey time of between 4 to 5-hours from Kamikochi (depending on bus and train connections). The park is located in the small hot spring village of Kanbayashi Onsen, which itself is located in the wider region of Yamanouchi – a region including the park, multiple hot spring villages, Shiga Kogen Ski Resort, the smaller ski resorts of Kita-Shiga Kogen and Joshinetsu Kogen National Park. Within easy reach of Nagano City, visiting the monkey park as a day-trip is easy while also providing lots of reasons to stay in the area on a multi-day visit.



To reach the monkey park from Kamikochi is a four-stage journey. You must first get to Nagano via Matsumoto. From Nagano, you then make the onward journey to the park:

1 / From the Kamikochi Bus Terminal, take the Alpico Bus to Shin-Shimashima Station. The journey takes approximately 65 minutes and costs JPY2500 per adult / JPY1250 per child to Shin-Shimashima or for passengers then taking the train onto Matsumto, a combined bus + train ticket costs JPY2710 per adult and JPY1360 per child. There are regular services throughout the day.


2 / Once at Shin-Shimashima Station, take the Alpico Line for Matsumoto. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes and costs JPY710 or as shown above, a a combined bus + train ticket from Kamikochi to Matsumoto costs JPY2,710 per adult and JPY1,360 per child.


3 / At Matsumoto Station, transfer to the Limited Express Shinano bound for Nagano Station. Regular services run throughout the day and take approximately 50 minutes / JPY2,370 to reach Nagano for the Express Train, or 65-80 minutes/ JPY 1,170 for the local line. The daily train schedule can be found on our ‘Limited Express Shinano Line Timetable’ page.

4 / Once at Nagano Station, follow the directions below.



Once at Nagano Station, you have two choices to reach the park – express bus or train*:

1 / Use the Nagaden Snow Monkey Express Bus directly from the station to the monkey park

2 / Take a train on the Nagano Dentetsu Line followed by a Nagaden local bus to the park

Starting from Nagano Station, the express bus costs JPY1,800 each way and takes 45 minutes (to the park) and 55 minutes (back from the park). In comparison, the express train from Nagano Station to Yudanaka Station takes around 45 minutes and costs JPY1,290, followed by an 8 minute local bus ride, costing JPY310 – meaning that the option of an express train + local bus will cost a total of JPY1600 and take at least 55 to 60 minutes (depending on train and bus timetables). Please note, the Nagaden express bus, train and local buses are not covered by the Japan Rail (JR) Pass, JR East Pass or JR Hokuriku Arch Pass.

*Not sure which option is best of you? See our ‘How To Get To the Jigokudani Monkey Park’ main page for suggestions of what works best.


The Nagaden Snow Monkey Express Bus operates from Bus Stop No.23, on the east side of the station. Simply line-up for the bus and once onward you buy your ticket directly from the driver – JPY1,800 each way – and accepting cash or credit card equipped with the tap to pay feature.. To check the bus schedule, please refer to our ‘Nagaden Express Bus Timetable’ page.


Using limited express services on the Nagano Dentetsu Line, 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 Station 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.



Given the distance and time taken to reach Nagano from Kamikochi, we recommend staying at least one night. When staying in Nagano City, we recommend Hotel Kokusai 21. One of Nagano’s most established international hotels with a reputation built on attentive service, in-house services, Western-style amenities and English-speaking staff, Kokusai 21 is our recommendation for guests wanting the convenience, comfort and service of an international hotel in the heart of the city.



Open every day of the year, the Jigokudani Monkey Park is one of Nagano’s most popular destinations. Our ‘Snow Monkey Park Information’ page has everything you need to know including opening times, prices, the park rules, FAQs and more. We hope you enjoy your visit with our favourite furry friends.



Often referred to as the Snow Monkey Park, you’d be forgiven for thinking the park is only open and the monkeys only venture there in winter. While it’s true they are most famous for their winter antics, the monkeys come to the park all year round and there are just as many reasons to visit in spring, summer and autumn. Located in the beautiful rural enclave of Yamanouchi and within easy reach of Nagano City, visiting the park can be easily combined with plenty of nearby destinations and activities, as a day-trip or multi-day visit. Our ’25 Things To Do Around The Jigokudani Monkey Park & Where To Stay’ page has lots of tips and suggestions of what’s on offer and the best area to stay when visiting the monkeys.



Accessing the Monkey Park from Kamikochi can be confusing and time consuming when using public transport. Instead, why not book a private charter with us? Our modern, clean fleet of vehicles is ready and waiting to pick you up from Kamikochi and bring you directly to the Monkey Park. As the route is customizable, you can even add in other destinations along the way, such as Matsumoto Castle or Zenkoji Temple. The return point for your journey is of course also up to you. For more information, please click the link above and send as an inquiry – we will get to work on providing you with a pricing quote as soon as possible!


With so much to do in Central Japan, we have a lot more on offer than just the Monkey Park! We have a number of group tours, private tours, and charter services operating in Kamikochi and nearby areas. Read on below for more information on what we can do for you.

As one of our biggest tours of the Spring, Summer, and Fall seasons, this delightful day trip combines a visit to Matsumoto Castle in the morning with an easy hike in Kamikochi in the afternoon. As one of Japan’s most well known and beautiful castles, Matsumoto Castle is a must see if you are in this region. And as one of Japan’s best areas of Natural Scenery, Kamikochi is just as deserving of your time. While there are many difficult hikes in the region, our tour takes an easy but scenic path suitable for travelers of all ages who are in normal physical shape.

Want to move at your own pace? In that case, our private tour of the Kamikochi area is what you are looking for. With much the same itinerary as the above group tour, this tour is perfect for travelers who want more flexibility, or travelers who have large groups.

While not visiting Kamikochi, this tour operates out of nearby Matsumoto (as well as Nagano City), and is perfect for the Winter Season when Kamikochi is closed. This group tour starts with a morning at Matsumoto Castle, with time to stroll through the cities historic streets as well. You will then be taken on a ride in our tour bus to the quaint town of Narai-juku, a 1-km former post town that will immerse you in the atmosphere of Old Japan.


Our charter services don’t only operate between Kamikochi and the Monkey Park – we are prepared to take you to the destination of your choice within a wide area, including Takayama, Matsumoto, Zenkoji Temple, Hakuba, or even the international airports in Tokyo or Nagoya! The course and stops are up to you. Please inquire through the above link, and we can start working together to plan the best route for your trip.

Other Snow Monkey Park / Matsumoto, Kamikochi & Suwa Pages