DESTINATIONS
01. SNOW MONKEY PARK
Autumn (Sep-Nov) at the Jigokudani Monkey Park

Autumn (Sep-Nov) at the Jigokudani Monkey Park

This post is also available in: TW ZH

Snow monkey in a tree

Autumn is a delightful time at the Jigokudani Monkey Park and throughout Nagano. Though the temperature is likely to remain high during September, the humidity of summer will be gone leaving us with hot days, that quickly cool to lovely warm days.

As September turns to October, so to the landscape, which begins its transformation of colour. Turning from October until well into November, the autumn leaves of Nagano are a truly spectacular sight. Also a time of harvest, Nagano’s rice is being cut and collected from the fields while apples are being picked from the orchards. We simply can’t recommend autumn enough!

When planning your visit, we recommend you start with our ‘Jigokudani Monkey Park’ activity page which includes tips and suggestions for getting the most out of your visit.

For information regarding opening times, entry tickets and access please refer to our ‘Snow Monkey Park Information’ page, while our ‘The Snow Monkeys FAQ’ page answers the most common questions when planning a visit.

tour-banner

For a glimpse of what to expect in autumn, our monthly capture blogs capture some of the typical monkey antics: September 2019 / October 2019/ November 2019.

What to expect in autumn


Autumn is a time of abundance. With the forest full of wild fruit, nuts and more, the monkeys are their happiest. It is also mating season, so they are well and truly preoccupied.  As a result, there are days in the autumn when the monkeys might not come. But this is rare. It is more likely that they will come to the park later than usual. When visiting in autumn, it’s a good idea to aim for the middle of the day – from 11AM to 3PM – just in case the monkeys feel like coming later and planning to spend a little longer there to accommodate their monkey schedule.

Days are likely to remain warm until well into November but temperatures can drop quickly. Dress for warm days but with a jacket and sweater that will keep you warm if there’s a sudden change. Autumn is typically dry, making the walk to and from the park along the forest trail really enjoyable. As always, we recommend good quality footwear and it is always worth be prepared for the walk to the park in winter.

enzacafe-autumn

During summer, the Snow Monkey Resorts Info & Gift Shop will be closed until late-September however nearby Enza Café will sell the same merchandise, including official souvenirs, and can provide English-language information. Toward the end of September or beginning of October, the Info & Gift Shop will reopen and remain open through the rest of autumn and winter.

snow-monkey-resorts-info-and-gift-shop

From September to November there will be a huge variation in temperature. Expect temperatures of between 20°C  to 30°C  to begin – thankfully, without the humidity of summer – before late-October and into November bringing daytime highs of between 10°C  to 15°C . Usually sunny with big blue skies, this is a lovely time of year to visit.

For information regarding other seasons in the monkey park, please refer our ‘Snow Monkey Park Throughout the Year’ page.

Recommended things to do in and around the park in autumn


Autumn is a time of beauty and abundance in Nagano. A final chance to enjoy the warmth of the sun before the long cold winter. So make the most of it and get exploring with these recommended activities:

Autumn Leaves

As a place of mountains and abundant forests, Nagano is one of the best places to enjoy the beautiful autumn leaves of Japan. Known as ‘koyo’ in Japanese, the stunning colours of the autumn leaves are cherished and valued, much like the cherry blossoms of spring.

The exact timing of the leaves varies from year-to-year and depending on the altitude and location of each area. From late-September onward, the landscape will start to turn and soon be awash with colour – a mosaic of red, gold, amber and brown – as the autumn leaves fill the forests, valleys and mountains through October and November. Needless to say, the higher altitude of Nagano provides the perfect conditions for some of Japan’s most stunning autumn leaves.

Looking for the best locations to see the leaves? Please refer to our ‘Best Places to See Autumn Leaves in Nagano’ page.

Enjoy the food of Nagano

Autumn is a time of harvest meaning there is no better season to try the delicious food of Nagano. Whether it’s the region’s acclaimed Shinshu beef, handmade soba, traditionally-made miso, tsukemono, oyaki or any of its huge and delicious produce including apples, grapes, peaches or chestnuts, a visit to Nagano is sure inspire and delight the foodie inside you!

Blessed with an ideal climate for growing many types of fruit and vegetables, Nagano is most famous for its apples and grapes. From mid-September until mid-November, many farms are open to the public for fruit-picking and to buy directly from the farmer. Many if not most apple orchards in Nagano are family-run making this a great way to meet the local community and support a traditional industry which has defined many towns and villages for generations.

For further information, please refer to our ‘Fruit-picking in Nagano’ page.

Walk the Nakasendo Trail

While the route can be walked any time of year – even in winter, although you need to consider this carefully before attempting it – the Nakasendo Trail is one of Central Japan’s best experiences and one we considered best enjoyed in autumn.

Commonly referred to as the ‘Nakasendo Trail’ or ‘Nakasendo Way’ follows a historic route which connected Kyoto and Tokyo during the Edo Period. Section can still be walked today, with the route running through the Kiso Valley – known as the Kiso-ji – regarded as the most beautiful and pleasurable to follow.

Passing through heavily forest mountains and over pristine streams and rivers, the trail takes you deep into the heart of Japan. As a place where tradition lives on, the post towns of the Kiso Valley retain their historic character through continued use as places of residence and industry.

Ebisu-ko Fireworkds Festival

Held on November 23rd, Nagano’s Ebisu-ko Fireworks Festival is the largest autumn fireworks display in Japan. Dating back to 1899, the display was first held in gratitude to Ebisu – one of Japan’s seven lucky gods – and in prayer and thanks for a prosperous business harvest. Today, the fireworks attract more than 400,000 spectators – a stunning display that celebrates the passing of autumn and heralds that winter is soon to arrive.

Interested in attending the fireworks festival on a guided tour? Please refer below to ‘Join a Spring Tour’ or access our full tour list through our ‘Tours’ page.

Join an autumn tour

We offer a range of group tours during autumn including:

Taking place each year on November 23rd, our 1-Day Ebisu-ko Fireworks Festival & Snow Monkeys Tour includes reserved seating at the event with a visit to Nagano’s world-famous Snow Monkey Park – home to the only troop of monkeys in the world known to bathe in hot springs – and late lunch at one of the region’s best restaurants. This once a year tour is one of our most popular and is sure to leave a lasting impression long after the fireworks fade away!

Our 1-Day Matsumoto Castle & Kamikochi Alpine Valley Tour  runs until mid-November and combines a morning visit to Matsumoto Castle with a guided walk at Kamikochi, before guests are given time to explore the stunning valley by themselves.

Alternatively, our 1-Day Matsumoto Castle & Local Food Experience Tour treats guests to a day of culinary adventures in and Matsumoto before ending the day with an afternoon visit to the castle.

While our 1-Day Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple and Sake Tour runs throughout the year and combines a morning visit to Nagano’s near-1400 year old Zenko-ji Temple, followed by a warming sake tasting and lunch, followed by an early afternoon visit to the monkeys.

For full details regarding all available tours, please refer to our ‘Tours’ page.

Want to learn more about the monkeys?

Why not book at tour! Operating all year round we are Nagano’s No.1 rated tour and charter operator!

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 operate a variety of group tours that combine a visit to the Jigokudani Monkey Park with other nearby attractions and experiences.

We offer the local knowledge, support, and service that you need to get the most out of your adventure in Japan including private tours and charters to any destination in the region. 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.