From Madarao: How To Get To The Snow Monkey Park
Located 40KM to the north of Nagano City, Madarao Mountain Resort is known for its chilled atmosphere, powder bowls, tree zones and fantastic backcountry. Less busy than Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort – which lies just over the valley – yet just as easy to reach from nearby Iiyama Station, Madarao is a great little ski resort within striking distance of the Jigokudani Monkey Park. On this page you will find the following information:
There are no direct bus services from Madarao Mountain Resort to the monkey park however there are from Iiyama Station. Taking only 30-minutse to reach the station using local bus services from Madarao, it’s then an easy onward journey to the park. Alternatively, larger groups including families and friends wanting to visit the monkeys together might consider booking a private tour or charter with us.
Much like the monkeys, we are here all year round! As Nagano’s No.1-rated tour and charter operator, we offer a range of group tours to the monkey park and can arrange private tours and charters to match your needs. We hope the following information helps in planning your visit to the monkeys from Madarao and of course, if you’d like to join one of our tours or would like to enquire about a private tour or charter, we’ll be happy to assist!
WHERE IS THE JIGOKUDANI MONKEY PARK?
The Jigokudani Monkey Park – often referred to as the Snow Monkey Park – is just under 30KM / 45-minutes drive to the south-east of Madarao and 35KM / 50-minutes to the north-east of central Nagano City. 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 from Madarao using public transport, there are two direct bus services operating from nearby Iiyama Station during winter. Outside of winter, accessing the park by public transport requires you to head to Nagano Station, from where an express bus runs directly to Kanbayashi Onsen – where the park is located – or alternatively, use the Nagano Dentetsu railway to Yudanaka Station – the nearest train station to the park – and from there, take a local bus to the park. 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 TO THE PARK FROM MADARAO
For visitors heading to the monkey park from Madarao, there is unfortunately no easy option. If you wish to visit without returning to Nagano Station, you’ll first need to get yourself down to Iiyama Station. This is easy to do using the local bus operating from in-front of the resort’s largest hotel, Madarao Kogen Hotel. In winter, there is a bus departing at 09:30 that will have you at Iiyama Station by around 10:00. A one-way ticket costs JPY700 per adult / JPY350 per child:
However, the bus which once ran between Iiyama Station and the Monkey Park has been discontinued for this season. It may resume operation at some point in the future, but there is no guarantee as to when, if ever, that will occur.
This means that from Iiyama Station you would need to catch a taxi to the Monkey Park. While easy and convenient, this will cost a large sum of money. Additionally, finding a taxi back to Iiyama from the Monkey Park may prove difficult. For this reason, we cannot recommend this option.
If you do return to Iiyama Station from the Monkey Park by taxi, the following buses will have you back up to Madarao:
Obviously, the services listed above are very limited and will not suit many visitor’s itineraries. In that case, to access the monkey park using public transport you will need to do so via Nagano Station.
ACCESSING THE PARK VIA NAGANO STATION
The bus+taxi services listed above are the easiest and quickest way to access the park from Madarao. However, as you will have noted, daily services as well as taxi availability are very limited, and costs will be high. For a safer and cheaper route, you have the option of making the journey via Nagano Station. This option is really only good for visitors who want to visit the park on the day they are leaving Madarao i.e. returning to Tokyo and have a reason to go through Nagano before heading to the park due to the amount of time it takes. It is possible via a three-step journey:
1 / Take the bus or taxi from Madarao to Iiyama Station
2 / Take the train from Iiyama to Nagano Station
3 / Take another bus or train from Nagano to the monkey park
From Madarao, you first need to head to Iiyama Station using either the local bus – approximately 30 minutes and JPY700 per adult / JPY350 per child – or a taxi. Once at Iiyama Station, you then need to head onto Nagano Station. Again, you have two options:
1 / Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen bound for Nagano Station – 11 mins / JPY1390
2 / Take the local Iiyama Line bound for Nagano Station – 45 mins / JPY550
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).
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 – JPY1,800 each way – and payable by cash or credit card equipped with tap to pay features. 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 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.
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.
TOURS AND CHARTERS FROM MADARAO TO THE MONKEY PARK
As you have read above, getting to the Monkey Park from Madarao is unfortunately neither cheap, easy to understand, or quick. For that reason, we recommend a private charter or a private tour as the best way to reach the park from Madarao. You can even store your luggage on our bus and get dropped off back at Nagano Station to catch the Shinkansen to Tokyo!
|[START FROM NOZAWA/MADARAO] Private Snow Monkey Tour
|All Year Round
|09:00 to 17:15 ~ 18:30
|Any location in Nozawa Onsen/Madarao Kogen
|¥170,300 ~ / group
Our above private tour is just what your group will need to reach the park in ease from Madarao – and not just the park, but other fun destinations as well! Including a visit to the charming town of Obuse, the historic Zenkoji Temple in Nagano City, and a Sake Brewery, this tour is both enjoyable and educational. With lunch in a 170 year old farmhouse also being on the menu, you are sure to come away pleased.
If you aren’t looking for a guide, only transportation, we still have you covered with our private charter service! Our fleet of clean and well maintained vehicles is ready and waiting to bring you to the Monkey Park from Madarao at whatever time you would like. The options are not limited to the Madarao – Monkey Park route either, as we can bring you to and from most locations around Central Japan and Tokyo, including Narita and Haneda International Airports. Please see the link above for more information on pricing and availability.