From Myoko Kogen: 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. Though located in Niigata, the resorts of Myoko Kogen are relatively close to the Jigokudani Monkey Park, allowing visitors to visit the monkeys while skiing and snowboarding in the area. On this page you will find the following information:
Blessed with natural beauty and huge snowfall – an outrageous 13+ meters per year! – Myoko Kogen is home to some great ski resorts including Myoko Akakura, Myoko Suginohara, Seki Onsen, and Ikenotaira Onsen. 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. 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.
WHERE IS THE JIGOKUDANI MONKEY PARK?
The Jigokudani Monkey Park – often referred to as the Snow Monkey Park – is just under 45KM / 60-minutes drive to the south-east of Myoko Kogen 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 Myoko using public transport during winter, it is possible to do so via Iiyama Station. At all other times, it is easiest to do so via 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 MYOKO KOGEN
From Myoko Kogen, you have two options to access the park using public transport:
1 / From Myoko Kogen Station: take the Shinano Kitashinano Line from Myoko Kogen Station to Nagano Station – 45 minutes / JPY850 – and then follow the directions below.
2 / From Joetsu-Myoko Station: take the Hokuriku Shinkansen to Iiyama Station – 12 minutes / JPY1390 – and then follow directions below*
*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
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 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).
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 – JPY1500 each way – and cash only. To check the bus schedule, please refer to our ‘Nagaden Express Bus Timetable’ page.
2 / USING THE NAGANO DENTETSU LINE
Limited express services on the Nagano Dentetsu Line take approximately 45 minutes and cost JPY1290 one-way. 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.
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.
BOOK WITH US! NAGANO’S NO.1 TOUR & CHARTER OPERATOR
Snow Monkey Resorts is Nagano’s No.1 tour and charter operator. We have the local knowledge of where and when to go, to help you discover and enjoy the region’s many fantastic and destinations including the Jjgokudani Monkey Park. We offer a range of group tours and for guests wanting to access the resorts in the comfort of their own transport, we can arrange a private tour or charter customised to fit your needs, starting and ending at any destination including from/to Nagano Station and any resort in the region.
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 schedule. All vehicles are fitted with a protective screen – separating the driver from passenger and luggage area – and our drivers wear protective masks, allowing you to move between your destinations in comfort and safety.
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 2022 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 and Central Japan.
Got a question about visiting the monkey park from Myoko? Click the INQUIRY button below or contact us and let’s get planning together!