From Myoko: How to Get to the Snow Monkey Park
Located at the southern end of Niigata Prefecture, Myoko borders Nagano and is blessed with some of Japan’s heaviest snowfall. While it doesn’t yet have the profile of other Nagano resorts – such as Hakuba, Nozawa Onsen and Shiga Kogen – things are changing quickly, as more and more people discover the epic powder that falls on Myoko each year.
Blessed with natural beauty and huge snowfall – an outrageous 13 meters per year! – Myoko is home to some of the longest ski runs in Japan. Often referred to as ‘Myoko Kogen’, it does not in fact exist as a single resort. Instead Myoko Kogen is a conglomeration of different resorts including Myoko Akakura, Myoko Suginohara, Seki Onsen, and Ikenotaira Onsen serviced by a shuttle bus.
The region offers some of the best powder in Japan, great off-piste runs and long vertical. Less developed than nearby resorts such as Hakuba and Nozawa Onsen, Myoko doesn’t offer the nightlife of other resorts however if you’re priority is days of deep powder runs, Myoko is the place for you!
The resorts of Myoko are actually not that far from the Jigokudani Monkey Park but to reach it, takes a little time and planning due to the lack of direct public transport options. A couple of options to reach the park from Myoko are detailed below but it is worth noting, that given the lack of direct transport, a private tour or charter is a great option for many visitors in Myoko.
Information regarding the services we provide – including private tours and charters – is included below following-on from instructions regarding how to use public transport from Myoko to the park.
From Myoko Kogen, you have two options to access the park using public transport:
1 / From Myoko Kogen Station: take the Shinano Kitashinano Line to Nagano Station – 45 minutes / JPY850 – and then follow the directions below – from Nagano Station
*If you are coming from Joetsu-Myoko Station and the bus times from Iiyama do not work for you, you can stay on the shinkansen to Nagano Station – another 11 minutes – and follow the directions below.
Accessing the park via Nagano Station
When coming from Myoko Kogen Station, the monkey park can be accessed via Nagano Station. Once at Nagano 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
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).
Using the Nagaden Express Service from/to Nagano Station
The 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.
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.
Accessing the park via Iiyama Station
Making the journey via Iiyama Station will only be convenient when already based around Joetsu-Myoko Station. Two daily buses connect Iiyama Station and the Snow Monkey Park in winter.
Departing at 10:15 and 14:25, the journey takes approximately 35 minutes and costs JPY1000 per adult.
Two return buses from the park depart 12:21 at 14:20 respectively and return to Iiyama Station.
We only recommend making the journey for visitors coming from Lotte Arai Resort. For visitors coming from the other Myoko resorts, we recommend however if that option doesn’t work for you, you can also reach the monkey park from Myoko Kogen using the second and third options. Those options – as described above – will get you as far as Nagano Station from where you need to follow the directions below.
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.
Our tours start and end at Nagano Station and therefore accessible from Myoko using the Kitashinano and Hokuriku Shinkansen lines. If you would like to join any of our tours, make sure you allow adequate time to reach Nagano Station in the morning.
We can also provide private tours and charters from Myoko to any destination, with customised itineraries to suit your travel needs and interests. Locally-based and operating all year round, 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 ski resort in the region – a great option for people heading to and from Myoko!
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?
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 Myoko? Feel free to contact us at email@example.com and let’s get planning together!