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[FEB 6-11]1-DAY SNOW MONKEYS & ZENKO-JI TOMYO LANTERN FESTIVAL

[FEB 6-11]1-DAY SNOW MONKEYS & ZENKO-JI TOMYO LANTERN FESTIVAL

Period

Feb 6 - 11

Time

10:30/11:45 - 19:45/21:00

Meeting Place

Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal / Nagano Station

Price

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

Highlights

  • Visit the world-famous hot spring-bathing Snow Monkeys of Jigoukudani and enjoy observing these curious creatures in their winter playground
  • Explore Zenko-ji – a registered National Treasure – at night, awash with the ‘Buddha’s Light’, light installations and countless paper lanterns
  • 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

 

Description

 

Combining a visit to Nagano’s world-famous Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park and evening exploration of the Zenko-ji Tomyo Lantern Festival, this enjoyable 1-day tour marks the midpoint of winter and illuminates Nagano’s ancient hear! Including lunch and dinner at two favorite Nagano restaurants – Hotaru-tei and Monzen Terrace Enya – this tour brings warmth and light into the midst of winter.

 

zenkoji tomyo festival, Nagano

 

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, you’ll first sit down to lunch at Hotaru-tei – 160 year old traditional mansion and one of our favorite local restaurants. 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.

 

hotarutei

 

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 world known to bathe in hot springs, witnessing these curious creatures go about their lives in the deep snow of winter, this a truly unique and memorable experience.

 

 

Walking back out along the forest trail, you will board the tour bus and head toward Nagano City and its famous temple – Zenko-ji. The near-1400 temple complex is one of the most important in Japan and there is no better time to visit than during the Tomyo Lantern Festival.

 

Tomyo Matsuri Nagano

 

For one week each February, the temple and nearby precinct emerge from the dark evening in vivid colors. The world ‘tomyo’ means to offer light to the Buddha and by illuminating the temple in splendid colors, the people of Nagano do just that. The festival celebrates Nagano’s role as host of the Winter Olympics in February 1998.

 

Tomyo Matsuri Nagano

 

Arriving around 17:20, your guide will lead you along the ‘Omotesando’ (Pilgrims Road) and ‘Nakamise’ (shopping street) toward the temple. Clutter with countless ‘kiri-e’ paper lanterns this is a beautiful stroll and builds anticipation for the temple and surrounding historic precinct. ‘Shukubo’ (traditional temple lodgings) in the streets around the temple also come to light, as their courtyards exhibit light installations – an Instagramers delight!

 

 

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.

 

monzen-terrace-enya

 

Departing the restaurant at approximately 19:30, guests choosing to end the tour in Nagano will be dropped at JR Nagano Station at 19:45 before the tour concludes at Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal at 21:00.

ITINERARY

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 Hotaru-tei.
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 nearby Zenko-ji, walk along the Omotesando and into the temple precinct. Your guide will arrange a meeting place and time and then set you free to explore for yourself.
18:30 Head to Monzen Terrace Enya for a warming winters dinner.
19:30 Depart the restaurant, board the tour bus and head toward the station followed by Hakuba.
19:45 Drop-off at JR Nagano Station.
21:00 Drop-off at Hakua Happo Bus Terminal.

NOTES

Included:

  • 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

 

Excluded:

  • 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.
  • Infants (0-5) is free of charge. A infant lunch is not included and the order will be made directly to the restaurant according to your needs.
  • The tour application deadline is 1 day before the tour date at 17:00.

MEETING PLACE

Google Map

Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal / Nagano Station

FAQ

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?

 

Unforuntately, 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.

RESERVATION