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

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

Period

December

Time

12:55 - 20:40

Meeting Place

Nagano Station Information Board

Price

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

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 a mutli-course dinner at one of Nagano City’s most popular restaurants – Monzen Terrace Enya – this is one tour rich in the festive spirit of winter!

 

Highlights

  • Visit the world-famous hot spring-bathing Snow Monkeys of Jigoukudani and enjoy observing these curious creatures in their winter playground
  • Indulge in Nagano’s renowned food culture an early-dinner at Monzen Terrace Enya including its Winter Illumination Dinner Course
  • Explore Zenko-ji – Nagano’s 1400 year old temple – in the vivid glow of its magical winter Illumination Festival

 

Want to join this tour from Tokyo? It’s easy to do! Scroll to the bottom for our FAQs including train services that can you use to join the tour!

 

Description

 

Meeting up with your guide at Nagano Station, you will board the Snow Monkey Express Bus and begin your journey toward the Jigokudani Monkey Park (please note, depending on the number of guests, this tour may use public transport so please ensure you are on-time as your guide cannot wait for long). Arriving nearby the park at 14:00, your guide will lead you to the trail entrance and then along the forest trail into the park. Home to the only troop of monkeys in the world known naturally to bathe in hot springs, there are no barriers separating you from the wild monkeys, making this a unique and memorable experience.

 

jigokudani-monkey

jigokudani-monkey-winter

 

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. Walking back out along the forest trail, you will then be transported to a nearby station and take the Snow Monkey express service back to Nagano City and Zenko-ji Temple. As the evening takes hold, your guide will walk you to the temple precinct, where you will first have an early-dinner at Monzen Terrace Enya.

 

monzen-terrace-enya

enya-illumination-dinner

 

Enya celebrates the festival with its Winter Illumination Dinner course including appetizers, bagna cauda, a warming winter soup and hamburger steak in sauce. The delicious menu will be rounded-out with a welcome drink, dessert and a hot drink of your choice to conclude your meal*.

 

zenkoji-illumination

zenkoji-illumination

 

You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy your meal and get warm before heading to the nearby temple, where you guide will introduce you to the near-1400 year history of Zenko-ji before allowing you time to explore for yourself and take in the beauty and atmosphere of the winter illumination. This is a rare opportunity to explore the temple at night. Accompanied by a locally-based guide, we are certain to find this to be an illuminating experience in every sense of the word!

 

zenkoji-temple-illumination

zenkoji-illumination

 

Meeting-up with your guide around 20:15, you will then walk back to Nagano Station where the tour concludes between 20:30 to 20:40.

 

*Please note, Monzen Terrace Enya is likely to update their menu each season therefore the exact dinner may differ to that shown and described above. We will update this page once we are aware of any change to the menu.

ITINERARY

12:55 Meetup at Nagano Station. The meetup point is in front of the Information Board, directly opposite the shinkansen ticket gates.
14:00 Arrive at Kanbayashi Onsen and walk along the forest trail into the monkey park.
14:45 Arrive at the park and enjoy observing the monkeys in their winter habitat. Your guide will explain just what makes the monkeys so unique while also allowing lots of time to yourself.
15:45 Depart the park and walk back out along the trail.
16:20 Board the bus and head to nearby Yudanaka Station
16:45 Train departs Yudanaka and heads toward Nagano
17:30 Arrive in Nagano and walk toward the temple and dinner restaurant
17:45 Enjoy your multi-course dinner at Monzen Terrace Enya.
19:15 Head to the temple to enjoy the illumination
20:15 Meetup with your guide and walk back to station where the tour concludes at 20:30-20:40.

NOTES

Included

  • Transportation from/to Nagano Station and all listed activities/attractions
  • Snow Monkey Park entrance fee
  • Dinner (vegetarian options available, please let us know beforehand)
  • English-speaking guide

Excluded

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

Other Information

  • There will be a significant amount of walking required (1.6 km one way) to get to and from the Snow Monkey Park, along an unsealed forest trail so please wear appropriate shoes/boots.
  • This tour uses different forms of transport. Tours can be conducted by microbus, larger coach or train depending on the season and size of the group.
  • From mid-December until early-April the trail and park are likely to be affected by snow and ice. Please ensure that you are wearing suitable shoes/boots and warm clothing. If required, rental boots are available close to the monkey park and crampons (metal spikes that attach underneath your shoes/boots) can also be purchased. From mid-December until early-March please wear suitable clothing for temperatures potentially below 0°C.
  • This tour is not wheelchair accessible and may not be suitable for mobility-impaired travels. Should you have any concerns about your ability to join the tour, please contact us to discuss prior to booking
  • 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.
  • This tour includes dinner at Monzen Terrace Enya. The photos included above are of the menu served in the previous year’s tour. The restaurant will update their menu each year meaning that the exact meal will vary however include the same number and types of dishes. We will keep this information and images up-to-date as the restaurant confirms their menu with us.
  • Illumination and installations at the festival change each year and may not be the same as those shown in images above.
  • Infants (0-5) are free of charge. An infant meal 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

Nagano Station Information Board

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

FAQ

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 of the 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: 10:32 – Nagano: 12:07 – Hakutaka

Tokyo: 11:04 – Nagano: 12:48 – Asama

Tokyo: 11:24 – Nagano: 12:52 – Hakutaka*

*You can take the 11:24–11:52 train since Nagano Station isn’t big and the tour meet-up point is immediately across from the shinkansen ticket gates. If you intend to use that service, please ensure that you come straight to the meetup point upon arrival at Nagano Station, as the guide/tour cannot wait for long.

Departing Nagano Station – Arriving Tokyo Station

Nagano: 21:15 – Tokyo: 23:00 – Asama*

Nagano: 21:46 – Tokyo: 23:24 – Hakutaka

*We recommend booking the 21:15 service if you need to return to Tokyo. Alternatively, staying in Nagano City is a great option, allowing you to take your time and enjoy yourself.

Can I add accommodation to my tour booking?

Yes. We can add accommodation in Nagano City. To do so, contact us at snowmonkeyresorts@machinovate.com at anytime to discuss options.

I have specific dietary requirements. Can these be catered for?

Yes. This tour uses Monzen Terrace Enya in Nagano City as our dinner restaurant. Enya can 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 dinner to the typical tour meal.

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 in winter will be affected by snow and ice in winter, meaning that 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. Should you have any concerns about your ability to join the tour, please contact us at snowmonkeyresorts@machinovate.com prior to booking to discuss options.

(Travel Agency License No: Nagano 2-562)
Snow Monkey Resorts Tours
Nagano City Kurita 1015-7, NK Copo 202, Nagano, 380-0921 Japan
Tel: (81)26-219-6256
Member of All Nippon Travel Agents Association
Travel Service Supervisor: Tomoko Kasahara

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