1-Day Tour: Snow Monkeys & Zenko-ji Tomyo Lantern Festival

1-Day Tour: Snow Monkeys & Zenko-ji Tomyo Lantern Festival


February 2023


12:55 - 20:50

Meeting Place

Nagano Station Information Board


Adult (13+)19,800 JPY
Child (6-12)15,300 JPY

1-Day Tour: Snow Monkeys & Zenko-ji Tomyo Lantern Festival

**PLEASE NOTE – the dates for the Tomyo Lantern Festival have not yet been announced for 2023. Once they are we will open the tour for booking**.

Combining a visit to Nagano’s world-famous Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park and evening exploration of the Zenko-ji Tomyo Lantern Festival, this enjoyable tour marks the midpoint of winter and illuminates Nagano’s ancient heart! Including an early dinner at Monzen Terrace Enya, this tour brings warmth and light into the midst of winter.


  • Visit the world-famous hot spring-bathing Snow Monkeys of Jigokudani and enjoy observing these curious creatures in their winter playground
  • Warm yourself on some of Nagano’s best ‘sake’ with a guided tasting followed by early dinner at Monzen Terrace Enya
  • Explore Zenko-ji – a registered National Treasure – at night, awash with the ‘Buddha’s Light’, light installations and ‘kiri-re’ paper lanterns

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!


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).


Meeting up with your guide at Nagano Station, you will the 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).

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 back to Nagano City. As the evening takes hold, your guide will walk you to the temple precinct, where you will first enjoy a warming ‘sake’ tasting before heading to an early-dinner at Monzen Terrace Enya.


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 enjoy the temple’s Tomyo Lantern Festival.

zenkoji tomyo festival, Nagano

For one week each February, the temple and nearby precinct emerge from the dark evening in vivid colors. The word ‘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 also celebrates Nagano’s role as host of the Winter Olympics in February 1998.

Arriving around 19:00, your guide will lead you along the ‘Omotesando’ (Pilgrims Road) and ‘Nakamise’ (shopping street) toward the temple. Cluttered 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 around 20:30, you will then walk back to Nagano Station where the tour concludes around 20:50.


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 first enjoy a warming 'sake' tasting nearby the temple before heading to dinner.
18:00 Enjoy an early dinner at Monzen Terrace Enya.
19:00 Head to the temple to enjoy the Tomyo Lantern Festival. Your guide will introduce you to the history and story of the temple before allowing you plenty of time to explore for yourself before meeting-up with your guide and heading back to the station.
20:50 The tour concludes at Nagano Station.



  • Transportation fee from/to Nagano Station and all listed activities/attractions
  • Snow Monkey Park entrance fee
  • Dinner (vegetarian options are available, please let us know beforehand)
  • English-speaking guide including guided night tour of Zenko-ji
  • Sake-tasting (non-alcoholic options available)


  • Shinkansen / ‘Bullet Train’ tickets
  • Additional food, snacks & drinks
  • Accommodation

Other Information

  • Please wear suitable shoes for the walking trail and suitable clothing for temperatures potentially below 0°C (and as low as -10°C). In winter, the trail leading to the park and park itself 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.
  • This tour includes a large amount of walking and spends most of the day outside, where it will be cold. It may not be suitable for guests who are mobility impaired and cannot walk for 40 to 60-minutes at a time. Please note, in the monkey park there are few places to sit meaning that guests will be on their feet for around 2 hours by the time they walk in and out of the park. If you have any concerns about this, including 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.
  • 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.
  • The transport used for this tour depends on the size of the tour group. For smaller tour groups, we will use the Nagaden Snow Monkey Express Bus service from Nagano Station and return using the Nagaden limited express service on the Nagaden Railway. For large groups, we may arrange our own transport i.e. small tour bus, from/to Nagano Station and all listed destinations.
  • This tour includes dinner at Monzen Terrace Enya. 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.
  • 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 light installations at the festival change each year and may not be the same as those shown in images above.
  • The tour application deadline is 1 day before the tour date at 17:00.


Google Map

Nagano Station Information Board

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


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 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 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