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From Takayama: How to Get to the Snow Monkey Park

From Takayama: How to Get to the Snow Monkey Park

This post is also available in: TW ZH

When people talk about the beauty of Takayama and encourage you to visit, they are speaking of the city’s beautiful historic centre. Renowned for its highly skilled carpenters and timber-artisans, that mastery can still be seen today in the charming street scape of Takayama’s old town. Known as the ‘Sannomachi’, the historic centre of the city lays claim to being one of Japan’s best remaining examples of an Edo Period town.

Takayama is also a great food town, famous for its indulgent Hida beef, local ramen and many other treats. For these reasons, though small and somewhat distant from the major tourist destinations of Japan, Takayama has quickly become popular with international visitors.

From Takayama, destinations including the World Heritage-listed villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama, Kamikochi, Matsumoto Castle and of course, the Jigokudani Monkey Park are readily accessible.

To reach the monkey park from Takayama is a three-stage journey. You must first get to Nagano via either Matsumoto or Kanazawa. From Nagano, you then make the onward journey to the park. Either route allows you to combine your visit with either of those two lovely cities. To reach Nagano, choose one of these options:

 

via Toyama 

 

We recommend this option for reaching the monkey park from Takayama:

 

1 / From Takayama Station, take the Limited Express Hida service to Toyama Station. Taking approximately 90 minutes / JPY2890.

takayama-station

The line is popular with tourists, so if you have the chance to book ahead it can be helpful.

 

2 / At Toyama Station, transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen bound for Nagano Station.

Multiple services connect the two cities each day, taking between 45 to 65 minutes / JPY6710-JPY7240 (depending on which service you choose).

 

3 / Once at Nagano Station, follow the directions below.

 

via Matsumoto

 

1 / From Takayama Station, the Nohi Bus company operates multiple services each day to Matsumoto. The bus departs from the Takayama Bus Terminal, located next to Takayama Station, and takes approximately 2.5 hours / JPY3500 one-way.

 

2 / At Matsumoto Station, transfer to the Limited Express Shinano bound for Nagano Station. Regular services run throughout the day and take approximately 50 minutes / JPY2370 to reach Nagano.

The daily train schedule can be found on our ‘Limited Express Shinano Line Timetable’ page. This line/service is covered by the Japan Rail (JR) Pass.

 

3 / Once at Nagano Station, follow the directions below.

 

via Kanazawa

 

1 / From Takayama Station, the Nohi Bus company operates multiple services each day to Kanazawa. The bus departs from the Takayama Bus Terminal, located next to Takayama Station, and takes approximately 2 hours / JPY3600 one-way.

 

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).

For the daily schedule, please refer to our ‘Hokuriku Shinkansen Timetable’ page.

 

3 / Once at Nagano Station, follow the directions below.

 

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 the Nagano Dentetsu (Nagaden) Train 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.

 

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


Hotel-Kokusai-21-nagano-city

Given the distance and time taken to reach Nagano from Takayama, 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.

 

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.

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.

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?


snow-monkey

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 Takayama? Feel free to contact us at snowmonkeyresorts@machinovate.com and let’s get planning together!