Autumn (Sep-Nov) at the Jigokudani Monkey Park
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. On this page you will find the following information:
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!
For information regarding opening times, entry tickets and access please refer to our ‘Snow Monkey Park Information’ page, while our ‘The Snow Monkey FAQs’ page answers the most common questions when planning a visit. For a glimpse of what to expect in autumn, our monthly capture blogs capture some of the typical monkey antics: September 2019 / November 2019 / September 2020 / November 2020.
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.
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.
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 ACTIVITIES 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:
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 FIREWORKS FESTIVAL
1 Day Tour
|[NOV 23 ONLY] 1-Day Tour: Ebisu-ko Fireworks Festival & Snow Monkeys|
|Time||11:00 – 21:00|
|Meeting Place||Nagano Station|
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.
JOIN AN AUTUMN TOUR
|1-Day Highlights of Central Japan Tour: Matsumoto Castle & Kamikochi Alpine Valley|
|Period||May to November|
|Time||10:00 – 18:30|
|Meeting Place||Matsumoto Station|
|Price||¥120,000 ~ / group|
In autumn we offer a range of group tours that allow you to enjoy the beauty of Nagano’s open landscapes. Our 1-Day Highlights of Central Japan: Matsumoto Castle & Kamikochi Alpine Valley Tour combines a visit to two of the region’s most iconic destinations while our 1-Day Tateyama-Kurobe: Walking on the ‘Roof of Japan’ Tour takes you high into Japan’s tallest mountain range. Both destinations are known for their beautiful autumn colours which are likely to be at their best from late-September until late-October (depending on the weather conditions of the season).
|1-Day Tateyama-Kurobe Tour: Walking on the ‘Roof of Japan’|
|Period||July to October|
|Time||07:50/08:15 – 18:00-19:00|
|Meeting Place||Hotel Kokusai 21 |
|Price||¥120,000 ~ / group|
As detailed above, our 1-Day Ebisu-ko Fireworks Festival & Snow Monkeys Tour takes place on November 23rd and 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!
1 Day Tour
|1-Day Tour: Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake in Nagano|
|Period||All Year Round|
|Time||09:35 – 17:35|
|Meeting Place||Nagano Station |
Of course, 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 in spring and throughout the year, refer to our ‘Tours’ main page.
25 THINGS TO DO AROUND THE 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 great tips and suggestions of what’s on offer throughout the year.
BOOK WITH US! NAGANO’S NO.1 TOUR & CHARTER OPERATOR
Based in Nagano and operating all year round, we are a registered travel agent and the region’s No.1-rated tour and charter operator. We have the expertise and experience to help you get the most out of your time in the region including any destination or activity listed above starting, of course, with the monkeys! We offer a range of group tours with the option of booking a private tour to the monkeys. As a registered travel agent, we can package your trip to Nagano and Central Japan including group and private tours, ski packages, accommodation, private charters, restaurants, ticketing and more!
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. All vehicles are fitted with a protective screen – separating the driver from passenger and luggage area – and our drivers wear protective masks, allowing you to move between your destinations in comfort and safety.
For guests wanting to access the resorts in the comfort of their own transport, we can arrange a private tour or charter customised to fit your needs, starting and ending at any destination. 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 – whichever works best for you!
Why choose us?
Awarded a 2022 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 and Central Japan.
Got a question about visiting the monkeys? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get planning together!