From Tokyo: How To Get To The Snow Monkey Park

From Tokyo: How To Get To The Snow Monkey Park


As one of the world’s great cities, Tokyo offers visitors so many things to do, see and experience that it is tempting to spend your entire time in Japan exploring the capital. A truly huge metropolis, Tokyo is without doubt, the financial and political heart of the nation. Yet for many Japanese, Tokyo doesn’t encapsulate the essence of the country. That spirit lies in the villages and traditions of rural areas such as Nagano. Lying to the north-west of Tokyo, Nagano is the gateway to Central Japan – a place of dramatic mountains, abundant farmlands, heavy snow in winter and of course, the Jigokudani Monkey Park. On this page you will find the following information:

Where is the Jigokudani Monkey Park?

How to Get to Nagano from Tokyo

Accessing the Park via Nagano Station

Monkey Park General Information

Recommended Accommodation in Nagano City

25 Things to Do Around the Monkey Park & Where to Stay

Tours and Charters to the Monkey Park from Tokyo

Open all year round, the monkeys come to the park in all seasons. Winter is a time of heavy snow, as the ski resorts of Nagano attract visitors from all over the world. As the host of the 1998 Winter Olympics, Nagano’s pedigree is well-known. Home to around 80 resorts, visitors are spoiled for choice including Shiga Kogen – Japan’s largest resort and the nearest to the monkey park.


Outside of winter, Nagano and Central Japan offer some of Japan’s best outdoor experiences including the iconic Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, the alpine valley of Kamikochi, and the Nakasendo Trail. Spring brings the regions beautiful cherry blossoms into bloom, and through summer and autumn the fruit of Nagano fills the orchards while tables are full of culinary delights, before the stunning leaves of autumn wash over the landscape. For tips and suggestions of what’s on offer in the region, see our ’40 Things To Do Around Nagano & Where To Stay’ page.


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.


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 270KM / 4 to 5-hours drive north-west of Tokyo. 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, it will be easiest to do so from 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 here. 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.



Despite the park being located a long way from Tokyo, the efficiency of Japan’s rail network means that you can get there in under 3-hours making it possible to visit as a day-trip from the capital. To reach the park from Tokyo is a two-stage journey via Nagano Station:

1 / From Tokyo Station or Ueno Station, take the Hokuriku Shinkansen to Nagano. All services heading north on the Hokuriku Line stop at Nagano, taking 80 to 110 minutes depending on which service – Kagayaki, Hakutaka or Asama – you choose. A one-way fare costs around JPY8,500 if using reserved seats, and all services on this line are covered by the Japan Rail (JR) Pass, JR East Pass and JR Hokuriku Arch Pass.

The daily shinkansen schedule from Tokyo to Nagano can be accessed via our ‘Hokuriku Shinkansen Timetable’ page.

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



Once at Nagano Station, you have two choices to reach the park*:

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 JPY1,800 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 JPY1,290, 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 JPY1,600 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.

*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.


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 – JPY1,800 one-way – and accepting cash or cashless payments such as credit cards equipped with tap to pay functionality. To check the bus schedule, see our ‘Nagaden Express Bus Timetable’ page.


The Nagano Dententsu Line operates from the underground level of Nagano Station. The journey from Nagano to Yudanaka Station – the final stop on the line – takes approximately 45 minutes and costs JPY1,290. Local services from Nagano to Yudanaka are only slighter cheaper – at JPY1,190 – 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.



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.



Given the distance and time taken to reach Nagano from Tokyo, we recommend staying in Nagano City for at least one night, from where you can explore destinations including Togakushi and the city’s near-1400 near old Zenko-ji Temple. 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.



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.



We offer multiple ways for you to join in on the monkey business in Nagano from Tokyo. Whether you want a group tour, private tour, or charter, we have you covered.

Our most recommended tour if you are looking to enjoy a day trip to the Monkey Park from Tokyo, this option starts with a morning at the Zenkoji Temple alongside a lunch in Nagano, followed by a trip to the Monkey Park. Always accompanied by your friendly and knowledgeable guide, this tour is sure to be an enjoyable way to take a break from the big city.

If you are coming from Tokyo, the tour meetup time of 9:35 has been selected specifically to allow you time to catch the morning Shinkansen and arrive in Nagano for the tour. After the tour is over, you need only ride the Shinkansen back to Tokyo to return to your hotel. Please see the tour page for more specifics.

If you are looking for a more private option, look no more! Our private tour of the monkey park takes you and your companions to all the destinations included in the group tour, as well as some additional stops such as the charming town of Obuse. This private tour is also accessible to those taking a day trip from Tokyo, and we can even hold your luggage on the bus during the tour.


We also offer charter services to and from the Monkey Park, as well as other destinations around Central Japan. We can pick you up from anywhere in Tokyo, including directly from the airport, and take you straight to Nagano and the Monkey Park Area. While the drive by car is longer than taking the Shinkansen, the ease of door to door service cannot be ignored when planning your trip, especially as many areas in Central Japan are inconvenient to access through public transport alone.

Other Snow Monkey Park / Tokyo Pages