From Mount Fuji: How To Get To The Snow Monkey Park
Mount Fuji is Japan’s most recognisable and iconic landscape. Standing 3776 metres, it is the country’s tallest mountain and an active volcano. Strikingly beautiful, the mountain lies around 2.5 hours to the west of Tokyo and beckons visitors to leave the capital and begin their exploration of Central Japan including the Jigokudani Monkey Park. On this page you will find the following information:
Many visitors travel to the area around Mount Fuji just to witness the grandeur and beauty of the mountain while others commit to climb it. Surrounding Fuji, numerous attractions and activities make the region one of the most popular destinations outside of the major cities, drawing countless Japanese and international visitors each year. For suggestions on what’s on offer in the area, see our ’30 Things To Do Around Mount Fuji & Where to Stay’ page.
Standing by itself, Mount Fuji is just one of the high mountain peaks that define Central Japan and the grand introduction to a region we hope you will want to explore more, including the Jigokudani Monkey Park. Though both in Central Japan, the mountain and the monkey park are separated by a large distance and there is no direct public transport between them. Japan’s excellent public transport system makes the journey in multiple steps however when looking to visit both the mountain and the monkeys, making use of a private charter is a great option, allowing you to combine your visit to Mount Fuji and the monkeys with other regional attractions and activities – see below for details.
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 approximately 275KM / 5-hours drive north of Mount Fuji. 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 Fuji, you have several options that will get you to Nagano Station, from where 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 here. 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.
DIRECTION SO THE PARK FROM MOUNT FUJI
There is no direct route using public transport from Mount Fuji to the monkey park. Making the journey will require visitors to make multiple transfers and ultimately, go through Nagano City via Matsumoto or Omiya in greater Tokyo. We recommend doing so via Matsumoto. The train services are more suited to travelers with luggage and doing so allows you to incorporate other destinations and activities in Central Japan into your itinerary, rather than head back into the crowds and congestion of Tokyo.
2 / Once at Otsuki Station, take the Limited Express Kaiji service to Kofu Station – 35 minutes / JP1,620 – and switch to the Limited Express Azusa bound for Matsumoto Station – 60 to 75 minutes / JPY3,560*.
Regular services run throughout the day and take approximately 50 minutes / JPY2,370 to reach Nagano. Additionally, the local train running between Matsumoto and Nagano can be used for JPY1,170 and takes between 60-80 minutes.
4 / Once at Nagano Station, follow the directions below.
*It should be noted that some Limited Express Azusa services stop at Otsuki Station, allowing visitors to head directly to Matsumoto – 100 minutes / JPY4,220. If one of these services lines-up with your travel itinerary feel free to use it however due to limited number of Azusa services stopping at Otsuki Station, most visitors will need to use the Limited Express Kaiji service to Kofu Station and then transfer to the Limited Express Azusa bound for Matsumoto.
VIA OMIYA (IN SAITAMA/GREATER TOKYO)
2 / From Shinjuku Station, take the JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line or JR Saikyo/Kawagoe Line Rapid service to Omiya Station – 30 minutes / JPY480**.
3 / From Omiya Station, take the Hokuriku Shinkansen to Nagano – 55 to 75 minutes / JPY6,780 (depending on which service you choose).
4 / Once at Nagano Station, follow the directions below.
*Please note, there are a limited number of Fuji Excursion services each day. If there is no convenient Fuji Excursion service, you will need to take another service on the Fujikyu Railway Line to Otsuki Station and transfer to the Limited Express Kaiji service to reach Shinjuku.
**This is a regular train service and likely to be crowded. Handling luggage on this line can be challenge, another reason we recommend making the journey via Matsumoto.
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 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.
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 accepts cash or credit card with the tap to pay feature. 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 JPY1,290. Local services from Nagano to Yudanaka are only slighter cheaper – at JPY1,190 – 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 Mount Fuji, 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.
TOURS AND CHARTERS FROM MT. FUJI TO THE MONKEY PARK
We are proud to offer charter services and private tours connecting Mt. Fuji with the Snow Monkey Park and beyond. Whether you need a guide or not, our vehicles are ready to go wherever you are located to pick you up and bring you to the Monkey Park. We of course also have room for luggage on board, removing the hassle of having to carry heavy luggage on and off trains all day on your way to Nagano. If you are in need of this service, please contact us using the link above for more information.
1 Day Tour
|1-Day Tour: Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake in Nagano
|All Year Round
|09:35 – 17:35
Hakuba (winter only)
If you can make it to Nagano on your own, we would be glad to have you along on the above group tour! Visiting Zenkoji Temple – Nagano’s biggest cultural highlight – and the famous Snow Monkey Park, this tour is designed to include some of the biggest draws in this region. Also including Sake Tasting and Lunch, all transport on this tour is covered by our vehicles leaving you to relax and enjoy the ride.