1-Day Tour: Snow Monkeys & Zenko-ji Winter Illumination

1-Day Tour: Snow Monkeys & Zenko-ji Winter Illumination




10:30/11:45 - 20:15/21:30

Meeting Place

Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal / JR Nagano Station


Adult (13+) 20,500 JPY
Child (6-12) 16,000 JPY
Infant (0-5) 5,000 JPY


  • Visit the world-famous hot spring-bathing Snow Monkeys of Jigoukudani and enjoy observing these curious creatures in their winter playground
  • Explore Zenko-ji – Nagano’s 1400 year old temple – in the vivid glow of its magical winter Illumination Festival
  • Indulge in Nagano’s renowned food culture and special winter menus, with lunch and dinner at two of the region’s favorite restaurants – Hotaru-tei and Monzen Terrace Enya – including a special Winter Illumination Dinner Course




Combining a visit to Nagano’s world-famous Snow Monkey Park and evening exploration of the Zenko-ji Illumination Festival, this enjoyable 1-day tour captures the magic of Nagano of in winter. Including lunch and dinner at two favorite Nagano restaurants – Hotaru-tei and Monzen Terrace Enya – this is one tour rich in the festive spirit of winter!




This tour offers alternative pickup points – Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal at 10:30 followed by JR Nagano Station at 11:45 – where you will be greeted by your guide and be quickly on your way toward the Snow Monkey Park.


Arriving nearby the park around 13:00 it’s first time to have lunch to ensure you are well-fed for the walk into and out of the park. Housed in a 160 year old traditional mansion, Hotaru-tei is a local favorite and our chosen lunch destination. Your guide will have you seated quickly as a you are served a filling winter menu (including vegetarian option) in the cosy surroundings of the historic building.




From there it’s time to head into the park. Your guide will take you along the forest trail which leads to the park and into Jigokudani – rather dramatically translating to ‘Hell’s Valley’. Home to the only troop of monkeys in the entire world known to bathe in hot springs, there are no barriers separating you from the wild monkeys, making this a unique and memorable experience.




In the deep snow of winter, the monkeys like nothing more than a long, warming soak in the hot spring. Your guide will introduce these truly curious creatures and provide you time to enjoy the unique experience of observing them in close proximity.


Bathing Baby Monkey in a Hot SpringSnow monkeys cuddling


Walking back out along the forest trail, you will board the tour bus and head toward Nagano City and its famous temple – Zenko-ji. As a Registered National Treasure, the near-1400 temple complex is one of the most important in Japan and in late February, comes to light with the Zenko-ji Illumination Festival.





Arriving around 17:20, your guide will arrange a meetup time and place before setting you free to wander through the ancient temple grounds, awash with purple, silver, and red light in the chilly winter night. If luck is with us the snow might fall, blessing the temple with an even more magical atmosphere.




Meeting up with your guide, you’ll be led to your dinner restaurant – Monzen Terrace Enya. Though relatively new, Enya has quickly established itself as a favorite for visitors and Nagano residents alike. Priding itself in using local produce and seafood brought from the nearby markets on the Sea of Japan, you’ll be treated to a special winter menu.




Guests will be treated to Enya’s special Winter Illumination Dinner course, including appetizers, salad, beef stroganoff, grilled seafood and pizza. The delicious menu will be rounded-out with a welcome drink, dessert and a hot drink of your choice to conclude your meal.


Departing the restaurant at approximately 20:00, guests choosing to end the tour in Nagano will be dropped at JR Nagano Station at 20:15 before the tour concludes at Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal at 21:30.


10:30 Pickup at Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal followed by the second pickup of guests at JR Nagano Station at 11:45. The meetup point at JR Nagano Station is in front of the Information Board, directly opposite the shinkansen tickets gates.
13:00 Arrive nearby the Snow Monkey Park and have lunch at Hotarutei.
13:50 Depart the restaurant and walk along the forest trail into the park.
14:30 Arrive at the Snow Monkey Park and enjoy observing the monkeys in the winter landscape.
15:30 Depart the park and walk back out along the forst trail to board the tour bus around 16:10.
17:20 Arrive at Zenko-ji and enjoy the illumation of the temple and the historic precinct.
18:45 Head to Monzen Terrace Enya for a warming winters dinner.
20:00 Depart the restaurant, board the tour bus and head toward the station followed by Hakuba.
20:15 Drop-off at JR Nagano Station.
21:30 Drop-off at Hakua Happo Bus Terminal.



  • Transportation fee from Hakuba and Nagano and all between activites/attractions
  • Snow Monkey Park entrance fee
  • Lunch and dinner (vegetarian options are available, please let us know beforehand)
  • English-speaking guide



  • Shinkansen/Bullet train tickets
  • Additional food, snacks and drinks
  • Accommodation


Other Information:

  • Please wear suitable shoes for the walking trail and suitable clothing for temperatures potentially below 0°C.
  • During the winter it is common to see the Snow Monkeys enjoying the hot spring bath, however from spring up to autumn there will be times where the monkeys play or eat in the water, however please note that the monkeys are wild animals and there is no guarantee that there will be monkeys in the bath.
  • There are a few days in the year that the monkeys might not come down to the park. In such case we will provide an alternative activity.
  • The tour application deadline is 1 day before the tour date at 17:00.


Google Map

Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal / JR Nagano Station

Kurita, Nagano-shi, Nagano, 380-0921, Japan


Which train service should I use to arrive in Nagano on time for the tour? What time does the bullet train depart back to Tokyo after the tour?

The start and end of the tour are arranged according to the bullet train (called Hokuriku Shinkansen) timetable. See below for specific timetables on the bullet train departure and arrival times to/from Nagano Station.


Departing Tokyo Station – Arriving Nagano Station

Tokyo: 09:32 – Nagano: 11:05 – Hakutaka

Tokyo: 09:44 – Nagano: 11:33 – Asama

Tokyo: 10:24 – Nagano: 11:44 – Kagayaki (reservation only)


Departing Nagano Station – Arriving Tokyo Station

Nagano: 20:20 – Tokyo: 21:56 – Kagayaki (reservation only)

Nagano: 20:34 – Tokyo: 22:12- Hakutaka

Nagano: 21:15 – Tokyo 23:00 – Asama


Can you pick me up/drop me at my accommodation in Hakuba?

Unfortunately, no. Due to time constraints and to keep the tour running as quickly as possible, we are unable to provide alternative pick-up or drop-off points in Hakuba. All guests coming from Hakuba will be collected from and returned to the Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal.