From Yuzawa: How to Get to the Snow Monkey Park
As a stop on the Joetsu Shinkansen line running from Tokyo to Niigata, Echigo-Yuzawa is a convenient and popular destination for many international visitors. Providing access to the many nearby ski resorts in winter and Japan’s largest music festival – Fuji Rock – in summer, Echigo-Yuzawa is a convenient hub from where to explore Central Japan.
Yuzawa is located within the boundaries of Joshinetsu Kogen National Park. As such, it is relatively nearby the Jigokudani Monkey Park yet the topography of the area and lack of direct public transport means it takes time to reach the monkey park from Yuzawa, with the easiest option including use of the Joetsu Shinkansen and Hokuriku Shinkansen Lines via Takasaki Station.
For those wanting to make the journey using public transport, reaching the monkey park from Echigo-Yuzawa is a three-stage journey requiring you to first get to Nagano:
3 / Once at Nagano Station, follow the directions below.
Accessing the park via Nagano Station
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
Given the time taken to reach the monkeys from Yuzawa, we recommend staying in Nagano City, from where you can explore destinations including Togakushi and the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route. 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.
The Option of a Private Charter or Tour
Based in Nagano City, we operate a range of vehicles that can be privately chartered to transport you to any regional destination, including the Jigokudani Monkey Park.
We can also provide 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!
We also 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.
Why choose us?
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 Yuzawa? Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get planning together!