Nagano Dentetsu Line (Nagano–Yudanaka/Monkey Park)
Running from Nagano Station to Yudanaka Station, the ‘Nagano Dentetsu’ or ‘Nagano Electric Railway’ is most commonly referred to as Nagaden. On this page you will find the following information:
Numerous daily services – including both limited express and local trains – connect Nagano City to popular destinations such as Suzaka, Obuse and Yudanaka, the closest station to the Jigokudani Monkey Park and Shiga Kogen Ski Resort. For visitors heading to either of these destinations, the train is one of two public transport options along with the Nagaden Snow Monkey/Shiga Kogen Express Bus – that also operates to and from Nagano Station.
For visitors headed to the monkey park, make sure to allow enough time to explore everything the area has to offer! Located in the rural enclave of Yamanouchi, the park can be visited as a day-trip from Nagano City or enjoyed as an overnight or multi-day stay, allowing you to enjoy the historic hot spring towns of the area, multiple ski resorts, Joshinetsu Kogen National Park and more. For suggestions of what’s on offer and where to stay, checkout our ’25 Things to Do’ section below and start planning your next Nagano getaway right now.
NAGANO DENTETSU LINE MAP
Running from Nagano Station to Yudanaka Station, the following stations are on the Nagano Dentetsu Line:
Nagano / Shiyakusho-mae* / Gondo / Zenkoji-shita / Hongo* / Kirihara / Shinanoyoshida* / Asahi* / Fuzokuchugaku-mae / Yanagihara / Murayama / Hino / Suzaka / Kitasuzaka / Obuse / Tusumi / Sakurasawa / Entoku / Shinshu-Nakano / Nakano-Matsukawa / Shinano-Takehara / Yomase / Kamjio / Yudanaka
*These stations are stops for ‘B Limited Express’ services which operate at various times through the day. Not all limited express services will stop at these stations however all limited express services stop at stations marked red.
TYPES OF SERVICES
The Nagano Dentetsu train line is serviced by express and local trains:
EXPRESS SERVICE Nagano to Yudanaka: 45 minutes
Taking approximately 45 minutes to travel between the terminals of Nagano Station and Yudanaka Station, there are many limited express services each day stopping at Gondo, Suzaka, Obuse, Shinshu-Nakano and Yudanaka. Express services include two types of trains: Snow Monkey Express and Yukemuri Express. These trains alternate through the day and are marked in blue and orange on the timetable. They are both express services and stop at all stations marked red in the line map above but only certain services stop at B stations. The front carriage of each service is reserved and costs an additional JPY300 to sit there. All other carraiges are non-reserved. Please see below for further details.
LOCAL SERVICE Nagano to Yudanaka: 70-80 minutes
Stopping all stations between Nagano Station and Yudanaka Station, local services are notably slower than the limited express service and require users to switch trains at Shinshu-Nakano. It is worth noting that some services end at Suzaka or Shinshu-Nakano and users will have a protracted wait at the station for the connecting train onto to Yudanaka. If you are not therefore disembarking at Suzaka or an earlier station, we recommend using the limited express to avoid any confusion.
TYPES OF CARRIAGES & SEATING
Three types of train operate on the line – two limited express services along with local services. In terms of the type of limited express service you take, it makes no difference in terms of stops or the total journey time. Different types of train simply alternate through the course of the day:
SNOW MONKEY EXPRESS
Only operational for limited express services, carriages include 4 seats per row with an aisle separating them into pairs. Large windows provide good views of the passing scenery and landscape and chairs can we swiveled and turned to face to the pair of seats behind, creating a 4-person space. Overhead storage is available including adequate room for fairly large luggage. The front carriage is reserved while all other carriages are non-reserved. Carriages do not include toilets.
Alternating with the Snow Monkey Express, the Yukemuri also covers limited express services. This train is famous for its distinctive front and rear carriages, in which the driver climbs into the ceiling and operates the train above the passengers. This neat little trick allows for seating in the very front and rear of the train, looking directly at the track. These seats are available at no additional cost. Always popular, you need to hurry to get them. The remainder of the train is a standard configuration of carriages including 4 seats per row with an aisle separating them into pairs. Large windows provide good views of the passing scenery and landscape and chairs can be swiveled and turned to face to the pair of seats behind, creating a 4-person space. Overhead storage is available including adequate room for fairly large luggage. The front carriage is reserved while all other carriages are non-reserved. Carriages do not include toilets.
Local services include carriages typical of many train lines around Japan. Bench seats run along the sides of the train, with seating available for elderly, mobility impaired and pregnant passengers at the end of each carriage. Carriages are spacious with plenty of room to stand or hold onto luggage. All seats are non-reserved and carriages do not include toilets.
FARES & TIMETABLES
From Nagano Station, expect to pay the following one-way fares for non-reserved seating on a limited express service to: Gondo = JPY270 / Suzaka = JPY650 / Obuse = JPY780 / Shinshu-Nakano = JPY1030 / Yudanaka = JPY1290. If you wish to have a reserved seat on one of the limited express services, you will need to pay JPY300 on top of the standard fare.
Local services to the same stations cost only JPY100 less: Gondo = JPY170 / Suzaka = JPY550 / Obuse = JPY680 / Shinshu-Nakano = JPY930 / Yudanaka = JPY1190. Given the minimal difference in price but substantial saving in time and improved comfort, unless you are disembarking at an early station such as Gondo, we recommend using limited express services.
Numerous daily services operate on the Nagaden line. For details including the timetable, please refer to our ‘Nagaden Timetable’ page.
TICKETING & TRAVEL PASSES
Tickets can be purchased at the Nagano Dentetsu ticket machines. Machines can be switched to English. Some staff have basic English but not enough to provide detailed information. It is worth noting that when purchasing an express ticket from the machines, visitors must select two tickets: the relevant local fare to their station of choice (i.e. Yudanaka Station) + a JPY100 express ticket. A map above the ticket machines displays the local fares to each station. Just make sure to also select and additional express ticket for each passenger from the machine. As a private train line, Nagano Dentetsu Line is not covered by the Japan Rail (JR) Pass.
Alternatively, visitors can purchase tickets directly from the ticket window and in addition, the Snow Monkey Pass. Valid for use for 2 days following activation, the pass allows for unlimited use on the Nagano Dentetsu Line, Snow Monkey Express Bus and local buses to the park along with one entry to the Jigokudani Monkey Park*. Passes costs JPY3600 per adults (13+) and JPY1800 (6-12). Children under the age of 6 can ride Nagano Dentetsu Line and Nagaden buses and enter the park free of charge. For further information, please refer to our ‘Snow Monkey Pass’ page. Passes can be purchased at the following stations: Nagano / Gondo / Suzaka / Obuse.
*Please note, the pass covers non-reserved seating on limited express services only.
ACCESS TO THE NAGANO DENTETSU LINE AT NAGANO STATION
To access the Nagano Dentetsu Line platforms at Nagano Station, simply exit the station via the Zenko-ji Exit. As you walk-out of the station you will see an escalator immediately to your right.
Proceed down the escalator and once at the bottom go to your left. The Nagano Dentetsu Line ticket window and machines and ticket gates are approximately 50 metres ahead.
The Nagano Dentetsu office and ticket window at Nagano Station is usually open from 06:00 until 23:20 (in time for the earliest and latest services). Please note, restrictions currently in place due to COVID-19 have altered the opening hours to 06:30 to 21:00. Nagaden can be contacted on +81-(0)26-226-2681.
POPULAR DESTINATIONS ACCESSIBLE ON THE NAGANO DENTETSU LINE
Using the Nagano Dentetsu line, the following popular destinations and attractions can be accessed via these stations: Zenko-ji Temple via Gondo Station / Obuse including the Hokusai Museum via Obuse Station / Jigokudani Monkey Park via Yudanaka Station / Yudanaka & Shibu Onsen via Yudanaka Station / Shiga Kogen Ski Resort via Yudanaka Station.
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.