From Osaka: How To Get To The Snow Monkey Park
Osaka is one of Japan’s great metropolises offering visitors an endless array of things to do. Loud, brash and great fun, Osaka is in most regards a world away from the mountains and quiet of Central Japan but thanks to Japan’s fantastic rail network, it’s easy to head our way including visiting the Jigokudani Monkey Park. On this page you will find the following information:
— Where is the Jigokudani Monkey Park?
— Directions to the Park from Osaka
— Accessing the Park via Nagano Station
— Recommended Accommodation in Nagano City
— Monkey Park General Information
— 25 Things to Do Around the Monkey Park & Where to Stay
— Book With Us! Nagano’s No.1 Tour & Charter Operator
Only 30 minutes from Kyoto, Osaka also offers contrasting sights, sounds and experience to the refined former capital. Osaka has always been a trading city where the art of negotiation and skilled conversation is paramount, very much moulding the character of the city today. In contrast, Kyoto is refined and reserved while Osaka is fast-paced, vibrant and notably louder. For suggestions of what’s on offer in the region, see our ’40 Things To In Kyoto, Nara & Osaka’ page.
For many if not most international visitors, a trip to Osaka will be part of a longer journey including Tokyo. Sitting between Osaka in the west and Tokyo in the east, Central Japan should not be overlooked and can be easily incorporated into any itinerary. Located in Nagano, the Jigokudani Monkey Park is one of the region’s most popular attractions – one that is readily accessible from Osaka given the efficiency of the Japanese train network.
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 475KM / 6 to 7-hours drive north-east of Osaka. 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 Osaka, 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 there – and a total journey time of around 5 to 5.5-hours from Osaka. 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 MONKEY PARK FROM OSAKA
To reach the Jigokudani Monkey Park from Osaka is a three-stage journey. You must first get to Nagano via either Kanazawa or Tokyo. From Nagano, you then make the onward journey to the park. We recommend doing so via Kanazawa – as it is slightly cheaper and faster – but either option works. To reach Nagano, choose either of these options:
1 / From Osaka Station or Shin-Osaka Station, take the Limited Express Thunderbird to Kanazawa. Regular services connect the two cities each day – approximately 150 minutes / JPY7260*.
2 / Once at Kanazawa Station, transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen bound for Tokyo via Nagano. Using the Kagayaki service, the journey will take 66 minutes and costs JPY9120 (reserved seats only) or using the Hakutaka service it will take 90 minutes and cost JPY8590 (non-reserved). It is important to note the Hakutaka also has the option of reserved seats*.
3 / Once at Nagano Station, follow the directions below.
*All services listed above are covered by the Japan Rail (JR) Pass and JR Hokuriku Arch Pass at no additional cost.
1 / From Shin-Osaka Station, take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Nagoya – 50 to 70 min / JPY5940*.
2 / Once in Nagoya, switch to the Limited Express Shinano bound for Nagano – a journey of around 3 hours / JPY6930*.
3 / Once at Nagano Station, follow the directions below.
*All services listed above are covered by the Japan Rail (JR) Pass.
**It is worth noting that while the Shinano Line offers passengers a very picturesque and enjoyable journey, the nature of the line – a single track – and design of the train mean that it is prone to sway and shake. For many passengers this will not be a problem but for those who suffer from motion sickness, it is known to be a problem. For that reason, we recommend the first option of heading to the monkey park via Kanazawa – as detailed above.
1 / From Shin-Osaka Station, take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Tokyo. The ‘Nozomi’ service is the fastest – approximately 150 minutes / JPY13,870 – but is not covered by the JR Pass or JR Hokuriku Arch Pass. Alternatively, the Hikari service is covered by the passes – approximately 175 minutes / JPY13,870*.
2 / At Tokyo Station, transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen bound for Nagano. The Kagayaki service is the fastest option to reach Nagano – approximately 80 to 85 minutes / JPY8340. The Hakutaka and Asama services also stop at Nagano but take a little longer – 90 to 110 minutes depending on which service you use*. For the daily schedule, please refer to our ‘Hokuriku Shinkansen Timetable’ page.
3 / Once at Nagano Station, follow the directions below.
*All services on the Tokaido Shinkansen- other than the Nozomi – and all services on Hokuriku Shinkasen are cover by the Japan Rail (JR) Pass and JR Hokuriku Arch Pass at no additional cost.
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 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.
*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
Using the limited express services on the Nagano Dentetsu Line, 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 Osaka, 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.
BOOK WITH US! NAGANO’S NO.1 TOUR & CHARTER OPERATOR
1 Day Tour
|1-Day Tour: Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake in Nagano|
|Period||All Year Round|
|Time||09:35 – 17:35|
|Meeting Place||Nagano Station |
Hakuba (winter only)
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. Most 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.
We can also provide private tours and 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. 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?
Got a question about visiting the monkeys from Osaka? Click the INQUIRY button below or contact us and let’s get planning together!