SNOW MONKEY PASS
For visitors to Nagano, the Jigokudani Monkey Park is one of the region’s most popular attraction. At its most popular through winter, the monkeys do in fact come to the park all year round and each season offers its own unique reasons to visit. So whether you are here in the depths of winter or the warmer months of spring, summer and autumn, we highly recommend heading to the monkey park to enjoy one of Nagano and Japan’s most unique experiences.
Most people heading to the park will being their journey at Nagano Station and for those intending to make the journey using public transport, the Snow Monkey Pass offers value for money and opens-up your options of places to visit. Sold by Nagano Dentetsu – or more simply referred to as ‘Nagaden’ – the pass is available for sale at several stations along the Nagaden train line.
What is covered?
The pass is valid for 2 days from the date of purchase and includes*:
1 / Admission to the Jigokudani Monkey Park – one-time only.
2 / Train: 2-day unlimited use of the Nagaden express and local train services on the Nagano Dentetsu Line.
3 / Express bus: 2-day unlimited use of the Nagaden Express Bus from/to Nagano Station & the monkey park.
4 / Local bus: 2-day unlimited use of the Nagaden Local Bus rom/to Yudanaka Station & Kanbayashi Onsen/monkey park.
*Please note, the pass does not cover the local bus fare between Nagano Station and Zenko-Ji Temple or express and local bus services to Shiga Kogen.
What does it cost?
The pass costs: JPY3600 per adult (aged 13+) / JPY1800 for children (6-12).
Children under the age of 6, can travel on Nagaden trains and buses and enter the monkey park free of charge.
Where can I buy it?
The pass can be bought at the following stations on the Nagaden Line:
NAGANO / GONDO / SUZAKA / OBUSE
For most visitors, buying the pass at Nagano Station will be the most convenient option. To access the Nagano Dentetsu ticket window 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.
Can I buy it online?
At this time, the Snow Monkey Pass cannot be purchased online.
Other than the monkey park, where can I use this pass to get to?
The Snow Monkey Pass includes 2-days of unlimited use on the Nagano Dentetsu Line. Covering both express and local trains services on this line, the pass can take you to any station located on that line between Nagano Station and Yudanaka Station.
The pass opens up the following destinations which can be easily combined with a visit to the Jigokudani Monkey Park:
As one of the oldest and most important Buddhist temples in Japan, Zenko-ji is the spiritual heart of Nagano. It is also one of Japan’s most welcoming temples, performing a morning ceremony every day of the year and offering a range of Buddhist activities for visitors of any faith or background.
The temple can be accessed using the Snow Monkey Pass, via Gondo Station. Take any express or local train service to Gondo, come up to street level and follow the signs to Zenko-ji – approximately 10-minutes walk.
Yudanaka & Shibu Onsen
Yudanaka Station is the terminus of the Nagano Dentetsu Line and the nearest train station to the Jigokudani Monkey Park. Located in the centre of Yudanaka Onsen, using the pass opens-up some great accommodation options.
Yudanaka Onsen along with nearby Shibu Onsen, are home to numerous ‘ryokan’ (traditional guesthouses), many of which have their own ‘onsen’ (natural hot springs). Staying overnight at one of these guesthouses allows you to experience the traditional comfort and cuisine that Japan is known for.
Shibu Onsen in particular is a quiet and quaint little town with a 1300-year history. Once used to recuperate injured samurai, the town is blessed with numerous onsen sources following into its many guesthouses and 9 public baths.
Once an important Edo Period (1603-1868) trading town, Obuse is another little historic town now known for its chestnut confectionaries, sake and miso breweries, and importantly, as home to the Hokusai Museum.
Japan’s most famous artist, Katsushika Hokusai, spent some of this final years in Obuse under the patronage of local merchant Takai Kozan.
It is here that he painted his last great masterpiece – a stunning phoenix – on the ceiling of Gansho-in Temple and Obuse is now also the proud home of a museum dedicated to his life and work.
Another important Edo Period merchant town, Suzaka retains many of its historic buildings and has a quietly emerging food scene and interesting collection of shops. Known as ‘kura’ in Japanese, traditional warehouses are being repurposed for interesting purposes and quietly putting Suzaka on the tourist map.