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.
Many visitors travel to the area around 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.
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.
Whichever option you choose, we hope the following information assists with planning your visit to Central Japan.
Directions to the Monkey 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.
1 / From either Kawaguchiko Staiton or Mt Fuji (Fujisan) Station, take the Fujikyu Railway Line to Otsuki Station – 45 to 65 minutes / JPY1170 to JPY1770 (depending on which service you choose).
2 / Once at Otsuki Station, take the Limited Express Kaiji service to Kofu Station – 35 minutes / JP1620 – and switch to the Limited Express Azusa bound for Matsumoto Station – 60 to 75 minutes / JPY3560*.
Regular services run throughout the day and take approximately 50 minutes / JPY2370 to reach Nagano.
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 / JPY4220. 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 (Saitima/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 / JPY6780 (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
1 / use the Nagaden Snow Monkey Express Bus directly from the station to the monkey 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, 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.
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
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.
Book a Private Charter or Tour
We can also provide 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. In doing a charter with us, you can combine your visit to Mount Fuji and the monkeys with any of the many regional attractions and activities on offer in Central Japan.
For whisky fans, visiting the Hakushu Suntory Distillery is a great way to enjoy of of Japan’s best whiskies or why not explore the historic Nakasendo Trail and the beautiful Kiso Ontake Mountain Range? For further suggestions of what to do in Central Japan, please refer to our ’30 Things To Do Around Mount Fuji & Central Japan’ page.
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!
For guests who decide to stay in Nagano City, we offer a range of group tours including visits to the Jigokudani Monkey Park starting and finishing at Nagano Station. 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.
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.
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.
Got a question about visiting the monkeys from Mount Fuji? Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get planning together!