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(Winter Only) 1-Day Tour From Nozawa Onsen: Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake

(Winter Only) 1-Day Tour From Nozawa Onsen: Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake

Period

December to March

Time

08:50-18:00

Meeting Place

Nozawa Onsen

Price

Adult (13+)15,500 JPY
Child (6-12)11,000JPY

(Winter Only) 1-Day Tour From Nozawa Onsen: Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake

Take in some of the highlights of Nagano with this engaging tour starting with a morning visit to the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park and its world-famous hot spring-bathing monkeys, followed by a warming winter lunch and afternoon exploration of Zenko-ji – one of the oldest and most important Buddhist temples in Japan. Led by a locally-based English-speaking guide and including a sake tasting experience to bring the tour to an indulgent conclusion this tour is a great way to enjoy the best of Nagano in winter!

Highlights

  • Visit the world-famous Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park and learn all about what makes the resident monkeys so unique
  • Enjoy a warming winters lunch at a nearby restaurant with your choice of different lunch sets
  • Try ‘sake’ with a tasting and learning experience all led by your guide (non-alcoholic option also available)
  • Explore Zenko-ji, one of Japan’s oldest and most important Buddhist temples, and home to the first known Buddhist statue to be brought to Japan.

Description

With two meetup points / times in Nozawa at 08:50 and 09:00, your guide will greet all guests and quickly have on your way to the monkey park! Arriving around 10:00, your guide will take you along the forest trail which leads to the park and into Jigokudani – rather dramatically translating to ‘Hell’s Valley’.

jigokudani-monkey-january-2021

Home to Nagano’s world-famous hot spring-bathing monkeys, there are no barriers separating you from the wild monkeys, making 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. Make sure to bring your camera as you’re going to need it! It’s then time for an early lunch!

Your guide will lead you back along the trail and to a nearby restaurant for a warming winter’s lunch – your choice of different rice bowls such as ‘oyakadon’ (chicken and egg), ‘kaisen’ (seafood) or ‘tempura’ (lightly battered and fried vegetables) with a side serve of hot ‘soba’ (buckwheat noodles) and more! Well-fed you’ll then head toward Nagano City and onto Zenko-ji. Established in 642, Zenko-ji is one the oldest and most important Buddhist temples in the entire country! A place of true historic importance, full of legends and myths, you will be guided around the temple before (time permitting) your guide will give you the opportunity to explore the surrounding precinct of smaller temples, shops, and food by yourself.

The tour concludes with a guided sake tasting. 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. Dive into this seductive world as your guide explains the process, terminology, and appreciation of Nagano’s acclaimed sake (a non-alcoholic option is also available).

sake-yoshinoya

Around 16:30 your guide will say their goodbyes as you board the tour bus and transported back toward Nozawa Onsen where the tour ends around 18:00.


MEETUP POINTS

This tour includes two pick-up and drop-off points in Nozawa Onsen:

/  NOZAWA GRAND HOTEL @ 08:50

Please wait outside the entrance of Nozawa Grand Hotel and be sure to look for the guide wearing a SNOW MONKEY RESORTS tour tag. Please be waiting before the meetup time as the tour will depart by 08:55.

nozawa-onsen-grand-hotel-meetup

/  NOZAWA ONSEN TOURIST INFORMATION CENTER @ 09:00

Please wait outside the Tourist Information Center and be sure to look for the guide wearing a SNOW MONKEY RESORTS tour tag. Please be waiting before the meetup time as the tour will depart by 09:05.

nozawa-onsen-tourist-info-meetup

ITINERARY

08:50The tour starts from the first meetup point at Nozawa Grand Hotel followed by second meetup point at 09:00. From there you're on your way to the park.
10:00Arrive nearby the Snow Monkey Park area. Prepare and walk along the forest trail (25-30 minutes) into the park.
10:50Arrive at the park and enjoy watching the wild macaques bathing in the onsen and going about their lives in their winter habitat.
11:50Depart the park and walk back out along the forest trail toward your lunch restaurant.
12:30Enjoy lunch at Hotaru-tei - your choice of beef, chicken or vegetarian hot-pot with appetisers and dessert.
13:15Depart the restaurant and head toward Nagano City.
14:30Arrive at Zenko-ji Temple and explore the precinct with your guide followed by (time permitting) 25-30 minutes of free time.
16:00Meetup with your guide and enjoy a guided sake tasting to round-out the days activities.
16:30Board the tour and begin the journey back to Nozawa Onsen via Nagano station*.

*Your guide will say their goodbyes at this point and the driver will transport all guests back to their preferred drop-off point of Nozawa.
18:00Drop-off at Nozawa Onsen.

NOTES

Included

  • Transportation fee from / to Nozawa Onsen and all listed activities / attractions
  • Snow Monkey Park entrance fee
  • Lunch (vegetarian options are available)
  • Sake tasting
  • English-speaking guide

Excluded

  • Additional food, snacks & drinks
  • Optional entrance fee to the inner sanctuary of Zenko-ji Temple
  • Shinkansen / ‘Bullet Train’ tickets
  • Accommodation

Other Information

  • There will be a significant amount of walking required (1.6 km / 1 mile in both directions) to get to and from the Snow Monkey Park, along an unsealed forest trail so please wear appropriate shoes / boots.
  • 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 (and as low as -10°C).
  • 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.
  • Guests are required to follow the Snow Monkey Park rules at all times. Guests are not permitted to touch, hold, feed or bathe with the monkeys at any time.
  • There are no barriers separating the monkeys from visitors to the park. Please ensure you keep a minimum distance of 1 to 2 meters between yourself and the monkeys. Your guide will explain the rules prior to entering the park.
  • During the winter it is common to see the Snow Monkeys enjoying the hot spring however please note that the monkeys are wild animals and there is no guarantee that there will be monkeys in the water at the time of your visit.
  • 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.
  • Booking cut-off time is an hour before the pick up time on the day.

FAQs

Can I start in Nozawa and leave the tour in Nagano City? And if so, can you transport my luggage?

We should be able to cover that if you can give us advance notice. To do so, just select the relevant options and please explain your preference in the Special Requirements field of the booking page. We can carry one piece of luggage per guest. If you are travelling with oversized luggage including ski or snowboarding gear, it may be possible to carry it with us but please contact us prior to booking to discuss and confirmation. Please also note, if you want to be dropped in Nagano City you must request this in advance. We will drop you at Nagano Station around 16:40.

After being dropped at Nagano Station, I’d like to book a Shinkansen / Bullet Train service? Which service should I book?

As noted above, should you wish to be dropped at the station, you must request this in advance. We expect to drop you there around 16:40, allowing you to book the following services:

Departing Nagano Station – Arriving Tokyo Station

Nagano: 17:04– Tokyo: 18:28 – Kagayaki – reserved seats only
Nagano: 17:09 – Tokyo: 18:52 – Asama
Nagano: 17:35 – Tokyo: 19:23 – Hakutaka

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

Yes. This tour typically uses GOEN nearby the monkey park as our lunch restaurant (noting that we may occasionally need to use another). GOEN 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.

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 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 to discuss prior to booking.

(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