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:
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.
WHERE IS THE JIGOKUDANI MONKEY PARK?
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.
DIRECTIONS THE PARK FROM KAMIKOCHI
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 JPY2710 per adult and JPY1360 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 / JPY2370 to reach Nagano. The daily train schedule can be found on our ‘Limited Express Shinano Line Timetable’ page.
4 / Once at Nagano Station, follow the directions below.
ACCESSING THE PARK VIA NAGANO STATION
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 JPY1500 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 JPY1290, 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.
1 / USING THE NAGADEN EXPRESS BUS
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 – JPY1500 each way – and cash only. To check the bus schedule, please refer to our ‘Nagaden Express Bus Timetable’ page.
2 / USING THE NAGANO DENTETSU LINE
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.
RECOMMENDED ACCOMMODATION IN NAGANO CITY
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.
SNOW MONKEY PARK GENERAL INFORMATION
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.
25 THINGS TO DO AROUND THE MONKEY PARK & WHERE TO STAY
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.
BOOK WITH US! NAGANO’S NO.1 TOUR & CHARTER OPERATOR
1 Day Tour
|1-Day Tour: Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake In Nagano|
|Period||All Year Round|
|Time||09:35 – 17:35|
|Meeting Place||Nagano Station / Hakuba (winter-only)|
We offer a range of group tours including visits to the Jigokudani Monkey Park. Led by locally-based guides, our tours are designed to transport you to and from the park in comfort, while making the day entertaining and engaging. Basically, we want to turn your visit to the park into an experience you love. Most tours start and end at Nagano Station, making them easily accessible and one of the most enjoyable ways to explore the region. Operating all year round we offer a range of group tours through winter, spring, summer and autumn – including to the monkey park and many other regional destinations. Tours are led by locally-based, English-speaking guides.
We can also provide private tours and charters to any destination, with customised itineraries to suit your travel needs and interests. We have the expertise and experience to help you get the most out of your time in the region, including transport to and from the monkey park along with any regional destination.
Our drivers and vehicles are fully certified, allowing us to transport you to and from your preferred destinations, in combination with any activity that suits your interests and schedule. All vehicles are fitted with a protective screen – separating the driver from passenger and luggage area – and our drivers wear protective masks, allowing you to move between your destinations in comfort and safety.
We can arrange both private tours with an English-speaking guide or a private charter, including a private vehicle and driver but without a guide. We’d love to be part of that experience and help you discover even more!
Why choose us?
Awarded a 2019 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award for our 1-Day Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake Tour – recognised as one of the Top 10 Experiences in Japan – we have the local knowledge and experience to help you get the most out of your time in Nagano.
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