Summer (Jun-Aug) at the Jigokudani Monkey Park
The summer months of June to August at first bring rain and then heat and humidity. Anyone who has visited Japan during summer knows that it can be grueling. The heat and humidity can be unrelenting, especially in the cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Thankfully, Nagnao’s higher altitude offers an escape from the worst of the heat and humidity. On this page you will find the following information:
While Nagano will also be hot, its higher altitude blesses it with a cooler and shorter summer. Home to the majority of Japan’s tallest mountains and best hiking and mountaineering, summer is a great time to escape the heat of the cities and head-up high to the rarefied air of Central Japan.
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 summer, our monthly capture blogs capture some of the typical monkey antics: June 2019 / July 2019 / August 2019 / August 2020.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN SUMMER
The true summer heat of Japan is preceded by its wet season. Expected from around mid-June onward, heavy downpours will be fairly frequent and dramatic. As such, it is one of the quietest times of year to visit the park, but also a very good one. The rain quickly turns the park vibrant green with new growth seemingly appearing out of nowhere. Rain and mist moves through the valley, creating a unique atmosphere which seems to send the monkeys hyperactive.
Heading into July, the new babies are growing in confidence. Mothers allow them to stray and explore a little, a clumsy and awkward display which entertains the few visitors in the park. Come late-July and the start of August, it will be hot. This is the middle of summer and humidity will be high.
In the heat of summer the forest trail is pleasant to walk. Notably cooler and very quiet, strolling to and from the park is enjoyable in its own right. Dress lightly for the heat but take a hat and water. We also recommend wearing 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 however nearby Enza Café will sell the same merchandise, including official souvenirs, and can provide English-language information.
From June onward, temperatures of around 30°C will be punctuated by sudden, heavy downpours. Around mid-July, summer will really take hold and from that time on and until late August, visitors can expect daytime temperatures between 30°C to 40°C with high humidity. For information regarding other seasons in the monkey park, please refer our ‘Snow Monkey Park Throughout the Year’ page.
RECOMMENDED ACTIVITIES IN SUMMER
Summer is all about escaping the heat and humidity and Nagano’s many mountains offer the perfect refuge from the worst of it. Here’s our recommendation of the best things to do in summer:
ESCAPE TO THE MOUNTAINS
Home to many of Japan’s tallest peaks spread across several dramatic mountain ranges, Nagano offers visitors the best summer hiking and mountaineering in the country. Located only 20-minutes drive from the monkey park, Joshinestu Kogen National Park offers leisurely walking trails through a beautiful and ecologically important landscape. Declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1981, Shiga Kogen Highlands sits within the national park and is home to unique alpine flora and fauna and typically around 10°C cooler than the temperature in the valley below.
|1-Day Tour: Wasabi-Picking Experience & Kamikochi Alpine Valley|
|Period||May to November|
|Time||09:00 – 18:30|
|Meeting Place||Matsumoto Station|
|Price||¥120,000 ~ / group|
Nestled high in the Hida Mountains, Kamikochi is found at the southern tip of the Chubu Sangaku National Park. A true alpine oasis sitting beneath the high peaks of Mt Yari (3180m), Mt Hotaka (3190) and Mt Yakedake (2455m), the valley follows the Azusa River and is home to diverse range of flora and fauna. Hiking trails span-out along the valley floor and follow the river as it meanders north to south, before more advanced hiking and climbing routes ascend to the mountains above – some of Japan’s best summer hiking and mountaineering.
|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|
Most famous for its Snow Walls, the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route remains open to the public until November and through summer, offers outstanding hiking opportunities. Summiting at over 3000 metres, Mt Tateyama is one of Japan’s three sacred mountains. Ascending the mountain and hiking its high ridges will transport you to another world, far from the heat and hassle of the cities. For more suggestions of the best alpine walking in Central Japan, see our ‘Japan Adventure Travel: Hiking, Trekking, Mountaineering, Caving & Climbing’ page.
Sitting quietly in the mountains bordering Nagano City, Togakushi is home to some of Japan’s most important Shinto shrines set among a beautiful forested landscape. The five major shrines that make-up the Togakushi complex are spaced-out at intervals through the forest and set against the dramatic background of mountains rising above. Accessible via well-maintained walking tracks, Togakushi continues to draw Shinto practitioners and nature enthusiasts who revel in its tranquillity, beauty, and purity.
On the literal doorstep of the city, Togkuashi is also home to the Togakure ninja school and famous for its ‘soba’ (buckwheat noodles), traditional bamboo craft and stunning autumn leaves making it an ideal destination when planning at day-trip from Nagano. Part of the larger Myoko-Togakushi Renzan National Park, Togakushi can be accessed using local buses from Nagano Station and offers a welcome escape from the summer heat.
|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|
Home to one of Japan’s last remaining castles, Matsumoto is a pleasant city known for its historic streets, great food and lively arts scene. While the castle is the main attraction, visitors to Matsumoto discover that it has a lot to offer and is the gateway to rural areas such as Azumino and launching point into the North Japan Alps. From Matsumoto, visitors can access the alpine oasis of Kamikochi before heading onto the historic old town of Takayama and finally, the World Heritage villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama.
There’s no better time to explore these destinations and Matsumoto is the perfect starting point for heading deep into Central Japan.
ATTEND A SUMMER FESTIVAL
Known as ‘matsuri’ in Japan, festivals take place throughout the year and for all sorts of reasons. A fundamental part of life here, matsuri are a chance for friends, families and communities to come together. Matsuri occur throughout the year but are most frequent in summer.
Visitors coming to Nagano through the warmer months of the year will enjoy the following festival and fireworks displays. The Nagano Gion Festival takes place of the second Sunday every July at the city’s near-1400 year old Zenko-ji Temple and includes traditional events and performances and ubiquitous food stands.
Taking place on the first Saturday every August, the Nagano Binzuru Dance Festival is the city’s largest matsuri. Dating back to 1971, the festival sees numerous dance groups moving down the main thoroughfare of the city with great enthusiasm and noise.
|[AUG 14 ONLY] 1-Day Tour: Azumino Fireworks Festival & Snow Monkeys|
|Time||11:00 – 22:30|
|Meeting Place||Nagano Station|
Speaking of fireworks, the Azumino Fireworks Festival is held on August 14th and includes an impressive 12000 fireworks. Another truly local, enjoyable, and boisterous summer festival.
JOIN A SUMMER TOUR
As shown above, through June to August we offer a range of group tours including seasonal and special events tours. Our 1-Day Highlights of Central Japan: Matsumoto Castle & Kamikochi Alpine Valley Tour is a great way to enjoy two of the region’s most iconic destinations in one convenient day-trip, while our 1-Day Tateyama-Kurobe: Walking on the ‘Roof of Japan’ Tour heads high into Japan’s tallest mountain range for some leisurely walking below the summit of one of the country’s three most sacred mountains, Tateyama.
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 |
Hakuba (winter only)
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 and let’s get planning together!