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2-Day Tour: Snow Monkeys & Tateyama Mountain Worship

2-Day Tour: Snow Monkeys & Tateyama Mountain Worship

Period

July - October

Time

(Day-1) 09:35 - (Day-2) 18:45

Meeting Place

JR Nagano Station Information Board

Price

Adult (13+) 79,900 JPY
Child (6 - 12) 49,570 JPY

Starting in Nagano and ending in Toyama, the tour heads to Zenko-ji Temple – one of the most important Buddhist temples in Japan – followed by an early afternoon visit to the Jigokudani Monkey Park on Day 1, before taking you high into the mountains along the fabled Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route on Day 2. Often called the ‘Roof of Japan’, Tateyama is one of Japan’s three most sacred mountains and the ideal location to explore the concepts of mountain worship before ascending back down to Toyama with the option of extending the tour into a third day. Including accommodation and led by locally-based guides, this immersive tour takes you deep into the heart of Japan, exploring traditional belief of nature worship through guided visits to some of the region’s most iconic destinations.

 

Highlights

 

  • Day 1: Explore Zenko-ji – a National Treasure and one of the oldest and most important Buddhist temples in Japan; enjoy a guided ‘sake’ tasting experience and lunch at one of Nagano City’s best restaurants; and visit the world-famous snow monkeys of Jigokudani and learn all about what makes them so unique
  • Day 2: Ascend to the ‘Roof of Japan’ traversing the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, lunch, and guided tour near the summit of Mt Tate – one of Japan’s three most sacred mountains – where you will discover the importance of mountain worship to the Japanese people and the dramatic natural beauty of Japan’s highest mountain range
  • (Optional) Day 3: Visit Shomyo Falls, Japan’s highest waterfall and another natural feature of devotion followed by lunch at Mandala Shokudo. After lunch, the guide  and private vehicle take you to Oyama Shrine – an important focal point for the region’s mountain faith, Kyosanbo and its beautiful traditional garden
  • Including English-speaking guide and lunch on all days, accommodation on Days 1 and 2 (for guests choosing the option of a 3-day tour)

 

Day 1

 

Your guide will meet you at Nagano Station at 09:35 and from there head to Zenko-ji. As a registered National Treasure, the temple is a place of true historic importance, full of legends and myths, where you will be guided around the temple before your guide will give you the opportunity to explore the surrounding precinct of smaller temples, shops, and food by yourself.

 

zenkoji-temple

 

It’s then time for a ‘sake’-tasting and an early lunch. Home to a huge number of breweries, Nagano is synonymous with sake and no visit to the region is complete without delving into Japan’s most famous beverage. Lunch is at a nearby restaurant with your choice of Nagano-style chicken or seasonal grilled vegetables, a mixed vegetarian sushi plate and dessert on offer.

 

food-drink-sake-nihonshu

 

Following lunch you’ll be transported to the Jigokduani Monkey Park. Your guide will take you along the forest trail which leads to the park, home to the only troop of monkeys in the world known to bathe in hot springs. With no barriers separating you from the monkeys, this a unique and memorable experience. Your guide will introduce these truly curious creatures and provide you time to enjoy the unique experience of observing them in close proximity.

 

snow-monkey-baby-jigokudani

 

Once done, your guide will then accompany back along the trail and soon have you heading back toward Nagano where the tour concludes at your accommodation, Hotel Kokusai 21.

 

Day 2

 

The day begins with breakfast at your hotel before you are met by your guide and start your journey to the fabled Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route. Around 70-minutes drive from your hotel, you’ll be transported to Ogizawa Station to begin your ascent to the ‘Roof of Japan’ using a series of different mountain transports.

 

tateyama-kurobe-alpine-route

 

Enroute to the top you’ll pass the iconic Kurobe Dam and ride the Tateyama Ropeway before reaching Murodo Station – the highest station in Japan at 2450 metres. Once at Murodo, your guide from Nagano will hand you over to your guide from Toyama.

 

tateyama-mountain-worship-tour

 

You’ll enjoy lunch at a restaurant before your guide begins your afternoon near the summit of Mount Tate (or Tateyama) – one of Japan’s three most sacred peaks. Long considered the domain of the gods, your guide will accompany you along leisurely trails and introduce you to the principles of Shintoism, Buddism and the importance of mountain worship in Japan.

 

tateyama-kurobe

 

As the domain of the gods, mountains have long been revered and also feared in Japan – places where only ascetics or the most hardened, wild people would venture and long regarded as the intersection of heaven and hell. Tateyama epitomises such landscapes with its stunning alpine scenery and dramatic volcanic fields. Around 16:20 you will begin your descent toward the Toyama-side of the mountain, accompanied by your guide. Once in Tateyama station your guide will transfer you to the train service bound for Toyama, where the tour will conclude at Toyama Station around 18:45 (or at your hotel in Tateyama around 17:30 for guests choosing the option of a 3-day tour).

 

(Optional) Day 3

 

For guests wanting to extend the tour into a third day, you have the option of staying in Tateyama at Hotel Mori no Kaze, including dinner and breakfast on Day 2. The third and final of your tour then begins with breakfast at your hotel before you are collected by your guide and make the brief journey to Shomyo Falls. At 350 metres in height, Shomyo Falls is the tallest waterfall in Japan. Known as ‘Shomyo-daki’ in Japanese, the waterfall is both spectacular and another point of devotion for Buddhist practitioners.

 

tateyama-mountain-worship-tour

 

Heading-on from Shomyo Falls, your guide will take you the lunch at Mandala Shokudo. Serving a traditional vegetarian menu, your guide will conclude the tour with reference to the ‘mandala’ depicting Mount Tate and the realm in which you have spent the past two days. As graphic depictions of the spiritual universe, seeing Tateyama depicted in this form is a striking reminder of our place within a much larger esoteric picture and the intersection of the cultural and natural realms.

 

mandara-toyama-alpine-route

tateyama-mountain-worship-tour

 

After lunch, our guide will take you to Oyama Shrine. Located in the enclave of Ashikuraji, the shrine is a central point of focus for the Tateyama faith and local people who have often worked as mountain guides. Surrounded by cedar trees estimated to be around 500 years old, the shrine acts as an important focal point for local people asking for safe passage through the mountains.

 

tateyama-mountain-worship-tour

 

Your guide will then accompany you to Kyosanbo, a former ‘shukubo’ (temple lodging). Famous for its traditional garden, your visit to Kyosanbo offers a beautiful and reflective way to end your tour with another aspect of Japan’s devotion to nature worship through the tradition of beautifully crafted gardens that imitate the natural world around us.

 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Toyama-alpine-route-tateyama-mountain-worship-taxi.jpg

 

Following Ashikuraji sightseeing, you will be transported to Toyama Station by private taxi. Once in Toyama, your guide will say their goodbyes and the tour concludes around 15:30.

ITINERARY

Day1 09:35 Meet-up with the guide at JR Nagano Station. The meeting point is in front of the Information Board, directly opposite the shinkansen ticket gates. From the station you will head directly to Zenko-ji Temple where you will be guided around the historic precinct before enjoying free-tie to explore for yourself, followed by a guided ‘sake’-tasting experience and lunch at 12:00.
14:00 Arrive nearby the Snow Monkey Park area. Prepare and walk along the forest trail (25-30 minutes) into the park. Once in the park, enjoy watching the wild macaques bathing in the onsen and going about their lives. Around 15:40 your guide will collect you and have you walk back out along the trail before beginning the journey back to Nagano.
18:00 Check-in at your hotel where the day’s tour comes to its end.
Day2 08:20 Your guide will collect you from the hotel and begin the journey toward the Ogizawa Station. Once at the station, you will be given time to prepare before boarding the trolley bus begin your ascent toward the summit using a number of mountain vehicles including trolley bus, cable car and Tateyama Ropeway - which at 1700 meters long, is the longest ropeway of its kind.
13:00 In the shadow of the summit of Mount Tate, your guide from Nagano will hand you over to your guide from Toyama who will lead your around the alpine plateau, introducing the importance of mountain worship to Japanese and the natural, dramatic beauty of Japan’s highest mountain range.
16:20 Board the large coach for the descent to the Tateyama-side of the mountain. Once at Tateyama Station, your guide will transfer you to the train service bound for Dentetsu-Toyama Station departing at 17:30. Arriving in Toyama just after 18:40, your guide will accompany you on the short walk to Toyama Station where the tour conclude. Please note, this tour also includes the option of a third day - please see below for details.
*For guests opting for a 3-day tour your guide will accompany you to your hotel on Day 2 and say good evening, as you check-in around 18:00.
(Optional) Day3 09:00 Your guide will collect you and using a private taxi (for the entire day), you will head straight to Shomyo Falls – Japan’s highest waterfall and another natural feature of devotion.
11:45 Enjoy lunch at Mandala Shokudo before heading onto Oyama Shrine and Kyosanbo, etc. Following the day's schedule your private taxi and guide will accompany you t Toyama.
15:30 Tour concludes at Toyama Station.

NOTES

Included

  • Transportation from Nagano Station to Toyama Station and all listed destinations
  • Entrance fee to the Snow Monkey Park
  • Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route ticket (Ogizawa to Tateyama)
  • Guided tours of Zenko-ji Temple, the monkey park, and near summit of Mount Tate on Days 1 & 2; and Shomyo Falls, Oyama Shrine and Kyosanbo on Day 3 for guests choosing that option
  • Accommodation on Day 1 (inc. breakfast) and on Day 2 (inc. dinner & breakfast) for guests choosing the 3-day option
  • Lunch on all days
  • English-speaking guide on all days

 

Excluded

  • Shinkansen/bullet train ticket
  • Dinner on Day 1 (however there are many restaurant options in and around the hotel)
  • Additional snacks, food & drinks

 

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.
  • Due to a significant amount of walking, including over uneven terrain, this tour is not wheelchair accessible and may not be suited to persons who are mobility impaired. If you are unsure if this applies to you, please contact us to discuss prior to booking.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Traversing the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route requires use of multiple mountain transports including tunnel buses, cable cars, a ropeway and large coaches. Due to the popularity of the Alpine Route, these will be busy on all days are require visitors to be close proximity to each other. Some visitors can find aspects of the journey, including the tunnel buses, to be claustrophobic. Some visitors also experience motion sickness on the coach ride down from Murodo to Bijodaira/Tateyama. Given the popularity of the route, it is not possible to reserve specific seats in advance. If this is a concern for you, please contact us to discuss
  • Murodo Station is located at 2450 metres above sea level and subject to notably different weather conditions. Even in summer, the temperature at the top can be cool or cold if weather conditions turn quickly. Please come prepared for changing conditions including a waterproof jacket, hat, umbrella and sunglasses.
  • This tour combines different group tours into one convenient package. It is likely therefore that other guests will also be on the tour, especially on the first day.
  • Accommodation on Day 1 is at Hotel Kokusai 21 in Nagano City and Hotel Mori no Kaze in Tateyama on Day 2 (for guests choosing the 3-day tour option). If either hotel is not available, we will arrange other comparable accommodation and notify you of this prior to booking/payment for your approval.
  • Rooms included in this package are twin/double rooms with Western-style bedding and private shower and toilet. Different room options can be arranged by request. If you would like to do so, please discuss with us prior to booking/payment.

MEETING PLACE

Google Map

JR Nagano Station Information Board

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

FAQ

I’m coming from Tokyo on the morning of the tour. Which shinkansen/bullet train service should I use to arrive in Nagano on time?

 

The start and finish 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: 07:20 – Nagano: 08:43 – Kagayaki (reserved seats only) 

Tokyo: 07:24 – Nagano: 09:14 – Asama

Tokyo: 07:52 – Nagano: 09:30 – Hakutaka*

 

*Nagano Station is a small station and our morning meet-up point is directly opposite the shinkansen/bullet train tickets gates at 09:35. Therefore you can take the 07:52 – 09:30 train service however please ensure you come straight to the meeting point after your train arrives.

 

I want to book my onward travel after the 2-day tour ends. Which shinkansen/bullet train services can I use?

 

For guests choosing the standard option of a 2-day tour, the tour is scheduled to end at Toyama Station at 18:45. The following shinkansen/bullet train services can be booked:

 

Departing Toyama Station – Arriving Kanazawa Station*

 

Toyama: 19:16 – Kanazawa: 19:38 – Hakutaka

Toyama: 19:38 – Kanazawa: 19:57 – Kagayaki (reserved seats only) 

Toyama: 19:47 – Kanazawa: 20:05 – Tsurugi

 

*Kanazawa Station is the northern terminus of the Hokuriku Shinkansen line. Visitors wanting to continue their journey west onto Kyoto and Osaka can do so using the Limited Express ‘Thunderbird’ service running from Kanazawa.

 

Departing Toyama Station – Arriving Tokyo Station*

 

Toyama: 19:25 – Tokyo: 22:12 – Hakutaka

Toyama: 19:37 – Tokyo: 21:56 – Kagayaki (reserved seats only) 

Toyama: 20:41 – Tokyo: 23:24 – Hakutaka

Toyama: 21:20 – Tokyo: 23:32 – Kagayaki (reserved seats only) 

 

I want to book my onward travel after the 3-day tour ends. Which shinkansen/bullet train services can I use?

 

For guests choosing the option of a 3-day tour, the tour is scheduled to end at Toyama Station at 15:30. The following shinkansen/bullet train services can be booked:

 

Departing Toyama Station – Arriving Kanazawa Station*

 

Toyama: 15:58 – Kanazawa: 16:20 – Hakutaka

Toyama: 16:18 – Kanazawa: 16:40 – Tsurugi

Toyama: 16:58 – Kanazawa: 17:20 – Hakutaka

 

*Kanazawa Station is the northern terminus of the Hokuriku Shinkansen line. Visitors wanting to continue their journey west onto Kyoto and Osaka can do so using the Limited Express ‘Thunderbird’ service running from Kanazawa.

 

Departing Toyama Station – Arriving Tokyo Station*

 

Toyama: 16:15 – Tokyo: 18:28 – Kagayaki (reserved seats only) 

Toyama: 16:33 – Tokyo: 19:12 – Hakutaka

Toyama: 17:07 – Tokyo: 19:20 – Kagayaki (reserved seats only) 

 

Is this a private tour?

 

No. This tour combines different group tours into one immersive package. It is not however a private tour so please expect other guests to be on the tour with you. Shoudl you wish to book this as a private tour, it is possible however it will significantly increase the price. Please contact us for a quote should you wish to do so.

 

What type of accommodation does this tour include?

 

The tour includes acccommodation on both Day 1 and Day 2 (for guests choosing the 3-day tour option). On Day 1, we partner with Hotel Kokusai 21 in Nagano City. The package includes a double/twin room with Western-style bedding and a private bathroom and toilet as standard. On Day 2, we partner with Hotel Mori no Kaze in Tateyama. The package includes a double/twin room with private bathroom and toilet as standard. The booking also includes breakfast at Hotel Kokusai 21 and dinner and breakfast at Hotel Mori no Kaze. If either hotel is not available on your request dates of travel, we will arrange another, comparable hotel nearby. If this is required, we will notify you of the hotel choice for your approval prior to booking/payment. If you would like to request a different type of room, we should be able to accommodate this however it will increase the tour price. Please contact us to discuss should you wish to do so.

 

Is this tour wheelchair accessible/appropriate for persons who are mobility impaired?

 

Unfortunately, due the amount of walking involved – including over uneven terrain – this tour is not wheelchair accessible and might also be inappropriate for persons who are mobility impaired. If this affects you, please feel free to contact us prior to booking the tour to discuss whether the tour is suitable.

 

What types of transport does this tour use?

 

Running three days, this tour uses mutliple forms of public transport and some private transport. Public transport includes trains and local buses while private transport can include taxis and shuttle buses for legs of the tour. For the journey up and down the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, you will ride a series of mountain transports include trolley/tunnel buses, cable cars, a ropeway and large a large coach/bus for the descent toward the Toyama-side of the mountain.

 

Are all meals included?

 

All but one meal is included in this tour. Lunch is included on all days with breakfast also included with your accommodation. For guests choosing the 3-day tour option, dinner is included at your hotel in Tateyama on Day 2 however the accommodation on Day 1 in Nagano City does not offer the option to include dinner. This however isn’t a problem. The hotel itself has multiple restaurants serving both Japanese and international cuisine while there are also many restaurants within easy walking distance but please note, the cost of dinner on Day-1 is not included in the tour price.

 

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

 

In most cases, yes. The lunch restaurants we use can provide vegetarian meals and with adequate notice, should be able to accommoate guests who are vegan. Our partners should also be able to provide vegetarian options however we cannot guarantee that they able to cater to guests who are strictly vegan. If you have any specific dietary needs, including any allergies, please notify us in advance and we will do our best to arrange suitable meals for you.

(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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