How To Get To The Jigokudani Monkey Park
Within easy reach of Nagano City, the Jigokdauni Monkey Park is one of the region’s most popular all-year-round destinations. Often referred to the ‘Snow Monkey Park’, it is home to a curious troop of monkeys most famous for their hot spring-loving antics of winter while spring, summer and autumn all offer their own reasons to visit. On this page you will find the following information:
The monkey park is open every day of the year with a slight variation of hours across seasons. For opening hours, pricing, rules and more, see our ‘Snow Monkey Park Information’ page. To access the park, visitors must walk along a 1.6km / 1 mile unsealed trail through a forest. For anyone of reasonable fitness, this walk is easy and pleasant. The trail is well-maintained and mostly level however in winter, it will be affected by snow and ice making it harder to navigate. For further information, see our ‘Information About The Walk To The Snow Monkey Park’ page.
Based in Nagano, we are the region’s No.1 tour and charter operator offering both group and private tours to the park along with the option of just transport and/or accommodation. Our vehicles and drivers are all fully certified and our guides are all locally-based. For more information, scroll to the bottom of the page.
WHERE IS THE JIGOKUDANI MONKEY PARK?
The Jigokudani Monkey Park – often referred to as the Snow Monkey Park – is around 35KM / 50-minutes to the north-east of central Nagano City. Open every day, the monkeys come to the park through the year making it one of Nagano’s most popular attractions, When heading to the park using public transport, it will be easiest to do so from Nagano Station, from where an express bus runs directly to Kanbayashi Onsen – where the park is located – or alternatively, you can take the Nagano Dentetsu railway to Yudanaka Station – the nearest train station to the park – and from there, take a local bus to the park. Both options take around 50 to 55-minutes in total to get here. The park is located in the small hot spring village of Kanbayashi Onsen, which itself is located in the wider region of Yamanouchi – a region including the park, multiple hot spring villages, Shiga Kogen Ski Resort, the smaller ski resorts of Kita-Shiga Kogen and Joshinetsu Kogen National Park. Within easy reach of Nagano City, visiting the monkey park as a day-trip is easy while also providing lots of reasons to stay in the area on a multi-day visit.
HOW TO GET TO THE MONKEY PARK
If you’re headed to the monkey park using public transport, you are almost certain to do so via Nagano Station. As a stop on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line running from Tokyo to Kanazawa, Nagano Station is the nearest major station to the park. From Nagano Station, visitors have the choice of using a direct express bus directly to the park or alternatively, a train to Yudanaka Station followed by short local bus ride to the park. For full details of how to get there from Nagano, see ‘Accessing the Park from Nagano Station’ below. For directions from other popular starting points, click on the location below:
Visitors heading to the park from Shiga Kogen will not need to come through Nagano Station – although they already may have to have reached Shiga – and in some cases, visitors heading to the park from Nozawa Onsen, Madarao and Myoko Kogen may not need to come through Nagano. But in all other cases, Nagano Station will be your point of transfer when accessing the the park from further afield. For international visitors, it should be noted that the bus and train services to the park are not covered by any Japan Rail (JR) Pass.
ACCESSING THE PARK FROM NAGANO STATION
As mentioned above, most visitors heading to the park will do so via Nagano Station. Once at the station, you have two options for getting to the park using public transport. Both options take you to Kanbayashi Onsen, where the monkey park is located:
— EXPRESS BUS direct from the station to Kanbayashi Onsen
— TRAIN to Yudanaka Station followed by LOCAL BUS to Kanbayashi Onsen
Both options take around 45 to 55-minutes to reach Kanbayashi Onsen and drop you at the bottom of the village, from where it’s a 5 to 10-minute walk (depending on the season) to the entrance of the trail leading to the park. Let’s look at each in turn:
VISITING THE MONKEY PARK BY EXPRESS BUS
Operating to and from Nagano Station, the Nagaden Snow Monkey Express Bus runs all year round and with additional services during the peak season of winter. After stopping nearby the monkey park, many express buses continue onto to Japan’s largest ski resort, Shiga Kogen. In doing so, it connects two of the regions most popular destinations – the Jigokudani Monkey Park and Shiga Kogen – directly to the station. The bus takes just over 40 minutes to reach the park from the station and around 55 minutes for the return journey. The bus operates from Bus Stop No.23, outside the station’s East Exit and costs JPY1500 per adult to the monkey park. Tickets are bought on the bus from the driver. Cash only. To check the bus schedule, please refer to our ‘Nagaden Express Bus Timetable’ page.
VISITING THE MONKEY PARK BY TRAIN
The park can also be reached using the Nagano Dentetsu Line. Also operating from Nagano Station, Nagaden has express and local services to the terminus of Yudanaka Station. The journey takes approximately 45 minutes and costs JPY1290 one-way. 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, see our ‘Nagano Dentetsu Line Timetable’ page.
Once at Yudanaka 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 (which also continues onto Shiga Kogen Ski Resort) – 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, see our ‘Nagano Dentetsu Local Bus Timetable’ page.
WHICH OPTION IS BEST FOR ME – BUS OR TRAIN?
Put simply, both options work well and both are covered by the Snow Monkey Pass (see below). Regardless of which option you choose, you’ll enjoy an easy and enjoyable trip to and from the park. But each option also has its strength.
For visitors who want to head straight to the park without needing to switch from train to local bus at Yudanaka including travelers with luggage, the express bus is a good option as it heads directly to the park from Nagano Station. The large coaches which operate on this line have storage underneath, allowing passengers to stow their luggage as they are transported to and from the park – a particularly useful option if you are staying in the area around the park.
Using the train requires you to then jump on a local bus once you arrive at Yudanaka Station, however this is easy enough. The positive of using the train – particularly when you have the Snow Monkey Pass – is that you can jump on and off the train as much as you like, and combine your visit to the park with other popular destinations including Zenko-ji Temple, historic Obuse town including the Hokusai Museum, and Yudanaka and Shibu Onsen. The journey itself is scenic with express trains offering great views of the surrounding landscape and plenty of room to relax. For tips and suggestions of things to do around the park, see ’25 Things To Do Around The Monkey Park & Where To Stay’ below.
THE SNOW MONKEY PASS
All services discussed above are covered by the 2-Day Snow Monkey Pass. Valid for use for 2 days following activation, the Snow Monkey 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. Passes can be purchased at the following stations: Nagano / Gondo / Suzaka / Obuse.
*Please note, this pass only covers bus services from Nagano Staiton to the Jigokudani Monkey Park. It does not cover services to Shiga Kogen.
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.
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 and let’s get planning together!