From Shiga Kogen: How To Get To The Snow Monkey Park
Nestled within Joshinetsu National Park, Shiga Kogen is not only Japan’s most extensive area of interconnected ski fields, but the largest ski resort in Asia. It is also the closet significant ski fields to the Snow Monkey Park, and thus is extremely popular with visitors wanting to combine their ski trip with a visit to the park. On this page you will find the following information:
As Japan’s largest ski resort, Shiga Kogen offers skiers and snowboarders and unparalleled extent of interconnected terrain – around 80 runs or over 600 ha of terrain connected by more than 50 chair-lifts and gondolas – including the highest ski fields in Japan. That altitude also blesses Shiga with Nagano’s longest season and most reliable snow – starting as early as mid-November and running into May (depending on the conditions of the season). As such, visiting Shiga Kogen in winter offers some of Japan’s best skiing and snowboarding.
Most famous for having hosted several events during the 1998 Winter Olympics, Shiga Kogen is increasingly also seen as a destination during the green season, as Japanese and international visitors alike head into the mountains to escape the intense heat and humidity of the cities and get active with pursuits including hiking, trail running, paddle-boarding, and more!
Shiga sits within Joshinestsu Kogen National Park – Japan’s fourth largest national park – and roughly corresponds with Shiga Kogen Highlands. Designated a ‘Biosphere Conservation Area (or Eco Park) by UNESCO in 1981, in recognition of the importance of its natural and unique ecosystems, its array of native flora and fauna, and as a landscape representative of a successful ‘coexistence of nature and society’. In short, Shiga Kogen offers visitors world-class snow conditions in winter and a wealth of natural beauty and equally energetic pursuits in spring, summer, and autumn – including the stunning autumn leaves of Nagano.
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 15KM / 25-minutes drive to the west of Shiga Kogen Yamanoeki and 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 using public transport from Shiga Kogen, you can choose between express and local bus services that connect the ski resort to Nagano Station and Yudanaka. When staying at the resort, Shiga Kogen Yamanoeki will be the most convenient transport hub with express bus services running to and from Nagano Station via the monkey park, while local bus services stop at the park enroute between Yudanaka Station – the nearest train station to the ski resort – and Shiga Kogen. 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 that includes the park, Shiga Kogen Ski Resort, the smaller ski resorts of Kita-Shiga Kogen, multiple hot spring villages and large parts of Joshinetsu Kogen National Park.
DIRECTIONS TO THE MONKEY PARK FROM SHIGA KOGEN
Nagaden operates both express and local services to Shiga Kogen that include stops at the monkey park and Shiga Kogen Yamanoeki. During winter, express bus services depart regularly throughout the day, taking less than 20-minutes to reach the park and costing JPY660 one-way. Alternatively, local bus services also run to the park. Regular daily services mean the journey is simple however the length of time and cost of journey to the park varies depending on which part of Shiga you are coming from. As a rough approximation, it will take between 30 to 60 minutes and will cost between JPY580 to JPY1100, depending on where you board the bus in Shiga. For many, using the bus to and from the Shiga Kogen Yamanoeki (Mountain Station) will be the most convenient option. No reservation is needed. You simply buy your ticket on the bus (when disembarking). For further information regarding how to use local buses, please refer to our ‘Nagaden Local Bus’ page.
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 and Japan’s largest ski resort, Shiga Kogen including accommodation, ticketing and travel packages. 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 and 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 Shiga Kogen? Click the INQUIRY button below or contact us and let’s get planning together!