[Spring Only] 1-Day Tour: Snow Monkeys & Cherry Blossoms in Nagano
09:35 - 17:30/18:30
Hotel Kokusai 21
[Spring Only] 1-Day Tour: Snow Monkeys & Cherry Blossoms in Nagano
**PLEASE NOTE – the official cherry blossom forecast for 2023 is yet to be released however the tour can now be booked. Once the forecast is announced and as we get closer the spring, we may need to adjust the dates this tour operates. If that affects your booking, we will contact you in advance to provide the option of switching onto our 1-Day Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake Tour or a full refund.
This tour combines a visit to Nagano’s Jigokudani Monkey Park with an afternoon of cherry blossom-viewing at some of Nagano’s best blossom spots. Known as ‘sakura’ in Japanese, the beautiful and fragile flowers are a must-see for any visitor to Japan, with Nagano’s countless blossom trees coming into bloom later than other areas – the perfect activity to combine with your visit to the Snow Monkeys in spring!
- Visit the Jigokudani Monkey Park in the morning and learn all about what makes the resident monkeys so unique
- Enjoy lunch at a nearby restaurant (including vegetarian options)
- Spend an afternoon wandering beneath the cherry blossoms and experience the Japanese tradition ‘hanami’ or ‘flower viewing’ as we take you to some of Nagano’s best blossom sites, each selected for the quality of their bloom on the day of your tour
- Led by a locally-based guide and including transport and entry to all venues
Want to join this tour from Tokyo? It’s easy to do! Scroll to the bottom for our FAQs including train services that you can use to join the tour!
The tour begins at Nagano Station at 09:35, where your guide will greet you and quickly have you on your way out of Nagano and headed toward the Jigokudani Monkey Park. Arriving nearby the park, your guide will take you along the forest trail which leads you to the Jigokudani Valley – 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 truly unique experience.
Spring is a great time to visit the park as expectant mothers give birth from mid-April to late-May, with between twenty to thirty babies welcomed into the troop every year. It’s an adorable sight to see, as the large glassy eyes of the newborns look-out at their world for the first time, often with as much curiosity about us as we have about them.
From there it’s time to head to lunch as your guide accompanies you to a nearby restaurant where you will be given a choice of meals including vegetarian options. You’ll have plenty of time to relax, enjoy your lunch and recharge before your guide has you board the bus again and get ready for the afternoon’s activity – ‘hanami’.
‘Hanami’ or ‘flower viewing’ plays a central role in Japanese culture and there no flower is more synonymous with this beautiful country more than its fabled cherry blossoms. Known as ‘sakura’ in Japanese, the fleeting bloom of the blossoms each spring is seen as symbolic of the fragility and passing beauty of life. Located in the cooler, mountainous region of northern Nagano, blossoms bloom later in this region than those in cities like Tokyo or Kyoto, typically blooming sometime from early to mid-April.
We monitor a variety of sites – some famous, some secret and local – and chose those in the best condition of bloom on the day of your tour. Each spot has its own unique atmosphere, variety of trees and types of blossoms – endearing this tour, perhaps more than any other, with its own uniqueness as venues varying from one day to the next. But rest assured, you won’t be left disappointed as we select the best possible sites!
As the afternoon draws to a close your guide will have you board the tour bus and begin your journey back to Nagano Station, where the tour is scheduled to conclude between 17:30 to 18:30, with drop-off at Hotel Kokusai 21 if required*.
*Tours will end at slightly different times depending on the chosen location for each day’s blossom-viewing. We monitored the blooming of the flowers in order to select the best possible location for each day’s tour.
|09:10/09:35||The tour begins with pickup at the entrance Hotel Kokusai 21 at 09:10 followed by Nagano Station at 09:35. For guests joining at Nagano Station, your guide will be waiting for you in front of the large Information Board and city map directly across from the Shinkansen / 'Bullet Train' ticket gates. Once all guests have arrived, your guide will have you all board the tour vehicle to begin your journey to the monkey park.|
|10:50||Arrive in Kanbayashi Onsen and walk along the forest trail - 1km / 1.6 miles - into the park. The walk takes most guests 20 to 25 minutes in each direction.|
|11:20||Arrive at the park and enjoy observing the monkeys in close proximity with your guide on-hand to point-out what makes them so unique and answer your questions.|
|12:20||Meetup with your guide and walk back out of the park along the forest trail.|
|13:00||Enjoy lunch at a nearby restaurant.|
|13:50||Depart the restaurant and head toward the day's chosen location for cherry blossom viewing site.|
|We monitor the blooming of the cherry blossoms at a variety of sites and select the best location to view them for each tour, meaning that the location will vary from day-to-day but is always selected to give guests the best possible experience!|
|17:30-18:30||Arrival back to Nagano Station where the tour concludes. The tour end time depends on the the selected cherry blossom site on that day and its distance from Nagano Station.|
This tour operates from two meetup points in Nagano City – Hotel Kokusai 21 and Nagano Station:
1 / HOTEL KOKUSAI 21 @ 09:10
The meetup point is at the entrance of Hotel Kokusai 21. Please note that this is group tour and there are other pick-up points therefore the tour will need to depart on-time. Please be at the entrance prior to the meetup time and look for the guide wearing a SNOW MONKEY RESORTS tour tag. The tour will need to depart on-time.
2 / NAGANO STATION @ 09:35
The meetup point is inside the station, in front of the Information Board directly across from the Shinkansen ticket gates. Be sure to look for the guide wearing a SNOW MONKEY RESORTS tour tag and ensure you are there prior to the meetup time as the tour will need to depart by 09:40.
- Transport from Nagano Station to the Snow Monkey Park and between all listed activities / attractions
- Snow Monkey Park entrance fee
- Lunch (vegetarian options are available)
- English-speaking guide
- Shinkansen / ‘Bullet Train’ tickets to & from Nagano Station
- Additional food, snacks & drinks
- Accommodation (unless requested)
- This tour involves a reasonable amount of walking and is therefore suitable to anyone of reasonable fitness. To access the monkey park guests must walk along a 1.6km / 1 mile forest trail. It takes most guests 20 to 25 minutes to walk in both directions. It is unsealed and in spring, typically dry and in good condition. Please wear suitable shoes for the walking forest trail and clothing suitable for changing weather conditions.
- This tour is not wheelchair accessible and may not be suitable for mobility-impaired travellers. Should you have any concerns about your ability to join the tour, please contact us to discuss prior to booking.
- There are a few days in the year that the monkeys might not come down to the park. While it is unlikely it is possible and outside of our control.
- Newborn babies typically appear in the park from mid-April onward. We cannot however guarantee that babies will be present in the park on the day of your tour.
- Blossom-viewing sites are selected upon which is in best condition on the day of the tour. Chosen site/s for an individual tour cannot therefore be confirmed until the morning of that tour.
- In the case that the cherry blossoms are not in bloom at any of the above-mentioned sites on the day of the tour, we will instead take you to Zenko-ji Temple and ‘sake’ tasting. In that case, we will notify you of the change in itinerary a minimum of 2 days in advance.
- This tour uses restaurants nearby the monkey park, including ‘Enza Cafe’ and ‘GOEN’. Operating days of those restaurants can vary so we cannot confirm which restaurant we will use in advance of the tour.
- Infants (0-5) are free of charge. An infant lunch is not included and the order will be made directly to the restaurant according to your needs. We also cannot guarantee that a seat on the tour transport will be available for infants and they may be required to sit in the lap of an adult.
- The tour application deadline is 1 day before the tour date at 17:00.
- I'd like to join this tour from Tokyo. Which Shinkansen / 'Bullet Train' service should I use to arrive in Nagano on time? What time do services depart for Tokyo after the tour?
The start and finish time of this tour are arranged according to the Shinkansen timetable. You can book the following services on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line when joining this tour at Nagano Station:
Departing Tokyo Station – Arriving Nagano Station
Tokyo: 07:20 – Nagano: 08:43 – Kagayaki (reserved seats only) *
Tokyo: 07:24 – Nagano: 09:14 – Asama
Tokyo: 07:52 – Nagano: 09:30 – Hakutaka
* You can still take 07:52 – 09:30 train since Nagano Station isn’t big at all and there is only one Shinkansen ticket exit. The tour meet-up is just after the Shinkansen ticket exit so please come straight to there.
Departing Nagano Station – Arriving Tokyo Station
Nagano: 19:03 – Tokyo: 20:23 – Kagayaki (reserved seats only)
Nagano: 19:08 – Tokyo: 20:52 – Asama
Nagano: 19:38 – Tokyo: 21:16 – Hakutaka
- Which cherry blossom venues does this tour visit?
We monitor a variety of sites – some famous, some secret and local – and choose the venue in the best condition of bloom on the day of your tour. Each spot has its own unique atmosphere, variety of trees and types of blossoms – endearing this tour with its own uniqueness as venues varying from one day to the next. While we can’t tell you in advance where we’ll be taking you, rest assured you won’t be disappointed and in the end the surprise adds to the enjoyment of the tour.
- Can I add accommodation to my tour booking?
Yes. We can add accommodation in Nagano City. When staying in Nagano, we recommend Hotel Kokusai 21. Guests staying at Kokusai can enjoy our pick-up and drop-off service at the hotel. To do so, contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss options.
- I am staying in Yudanaka / Shibu / Kanbayashi. Can I join the tour?
For guests staying in the hot spring towns of Yudanaka Onsen, Shibu Onsen and Kanbayashi Onsen, it is possible to join the tour in those areas rather than traveling to Nagano Station. Guests staying in Yudanaka and Shibu can meet the tour at Yudanaka Station while guests staying in Kanbayashi Onsen can meet the tour at Enza Cafe in Kanbayashi. This will change the tour start time. Please let us know at the time of booking if you would like to arrange one of these meeting points. Please also note that the tour ends in Nagano City and we will not be able to take you back to Yudanaka / Shibu / Kanbyashi however train services run from Nagano Station to Yudanaka Station.
- Is this tour wheelchair accessible or suitable for mobility-impaired guests?
Unfortunately, this tour is not wheelchair accessible and may not be suitable for mobility-impaired guests. The tour requires a significant amount of walking – suitable for anyone of reasonable fitness – including along a 1.6km/1-mile forest trail leading to and from the park. The trail is unsealed and if wet due to rain, a wheelchair cannot move along it. There is also a relatively steep staircase at the end of the trail leading into the park. Guests who are mobility-impaired may also struggle with the conditions. We also use a range of cherry blossom sites in the afternoon – chosen based on which site is in best condition on the day – and we cannot guarantee that all locations are wheelchair accessible or suitable for mobility-impaired guests. Should you have any concerns about your ability to join the tour, please contact us prior to booking to discuss options.
- I have specific dietary requirements. Can these be catered for?
Yes. The lunch restaurant should be able to cater to dietary requirements including pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and allergies. We would appreciate if you can let us know in advance by entering that information in the booking form. Please note that some dietary restrictions may require the restaurant to prepare a different lunch to the typical tour meal.
(Travel Agency License No: Nagano 2-562)
Snow Monkey Resorts Tours
Nagano City Kurita 1015-7, NK Copo 202, Nagano, 380-0921 Japan
Member of All Nippon Travel Agents Association
Travel Service Supervisor: Tomoko Kasahara
09:35 - 17:30/18:30
Hotel Kokusai 21