NAGANO JAPAN
SNOW MONKEY RESORTS

logo_circle
CONTACT
ACCESS
From Kyoto: How to Get to the Snow Monkey Park

From Kyoto: How to Get to the Snow Monkey Park

This post is also available in: TW ZH

As Japan’s capital and residence of the emperor for more than one thousand years – from 794 until 1868 – Kyoto boasts unmatched historic importance and traditional aesthetic, typified by its many astounding temples.

Behind Tokyo, Kyoto is certainly the most well-known of Japanese cities; and in contrast to the modern capital or its nearby neighbour Osaka, Kyoto retains much of its historic character and allows visitors to glimpse of Japan now long-gone.

Most famous for its many temples and historic districts such as Gion, Kyoto is also a modern city with fantastic restaurants, museums and galleries and shopping precincts. Any visitor to Kyoto needs to be prepared to share it with many, many other visitors. But don’t let that put you off! Kyoto remains one of Japan’s most striking destinations and a location from where you can easily explore Central Japan.

Home of most of Japan’s tallest mountains, Central Japan is a dramatic and beautiful region known for its natural and outdoor attractions including the iconic Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, historic Nakasendo Trail, Matsumoto Castle, Kamikochi, the shrines of Togakushi and of course, the Jigokudani Monkey Park.

snow-monkey

To reach the Jigokudani Monkey Park from Kyoto is a three-stage journey. You must first get to Nagano via either Kanazawa or Tokyo. From Nagano, you then make the onward journey to the park. We recommend doing so via Kanazawa – as it is slightly cheaper and faster – but either option works. To reach Nagano, choose either of these options:

 

Via Kanazawa

 

1 / From Kyoto Station, take the Limited Express Thunderbird to Kanazawa. Regular services connect the two cities each day – approximately 135 minutes / JPY6490*.

 

2 / Once at Kanazawa Station, transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen bound for Tokyo via Nagano. Using the Kagayaki service, the journey will take 66 minutes and costs JPY9120 (reserved seats only) or using the Hakutaka service, it will take 90 minutes and cost JPY8590 (non-reserved). It is important to note the Hakutaka also has the option of reserved seats*. .

 

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

 

*All services listed above are covered by the Japan Rail (JR) Pass and JR Hokuriku Arch Pass at no additional cost.

 

Via Nagoya**

 

1 / From Kyoto Station, take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Nagoya – 35 min / JPY5170 – from Kyoto.

 

2 / Once in Nagoya, switch to the Limited Express Wide View Shinano bound for Nagano – a journey of around 3 hours / JPY6930.

 

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

 

**It is worth noting that while the Shinano Line offers passengers a very picturesque and enjoyable journey, the nature of the line – a single track – and design of the train mean that it is prone to sway and shake. For many passengers this will not be a problem but for those who suffer from motion sickness, it is known to be a problem. For that reason, we recommend the first option of heading to the monkey park via Kanazawa – as detailed above.

 

*All services listed above are covered by the Japan Rail (JR) Pass.

 

Via Tokyo

 

1 / From Kyoto Station, take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Tokyo. The ‘Nozomi’ service is the fastest – approximately 135 minutes / JPY13,320 – but is not covered by the JR Pass or JR Hokuriku Arch Pass. Alternatively, the Hikari service is covered by the passes – approximately 160minutes / JPY13,320*.

 

2 / At Tokyo Station, transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen bound for Nagano or Kanazawa. The Kagayaki service is the fastest option to reach Nagano – approximately 80 to 85 minutes / JPY8340. The Hakutaka and Asama services also stop at Nagano but take a little longer – 90 to 110 minutes depending on which service you use*.

 

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

 

*All services on the Tokaido Shinkansen- other than the Nozomi – and all services on Hokuriku Shinkasen are cover by the Japan Rail (JR) Pass and JR Hokuriku Arch Pass at no additional cost.

 

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 the Nagano Dentetsu (Nagaden) Train 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.

 

Using the Nagaden Express Service from/to Nagano Station


The Snow Monkey Express operates from Bus Stop No.23, also 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.

snow-monkey-bus

To check the bus schedule, please refer to our ‘Nagaden Express Bus Timetable’ page.

 

Using the Nagaden Express Train from/to Nagano 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 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


Hotel-Kokusai-21

Given the distance and time taken to reach Nagano from Kyoto, 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.

 

Visit the Monkey Park on a Guided Tour


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.

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.

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?


snow-monkey

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.

 

 

Got a question about visiting the monkeys from Kyoto? Feel free to contact us at snowmonkeyresorts@machinovate.com and let’s get planning together!