See snow monkeys and temples on a small-group day trip by bullet train from Tokyo. In an intimately sized group of just six people, you’ll travel to the Nagano Prefecture in just two hours. Visit the history-steeped Zenkoji Temple, then head to Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park to see the monkeys bathing in a beautiful hot spring.
Day trip to Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park and Zenkoji Temple
Leave Tokyo by the fast shinkansen (bullet train)
Travel to the Nagano Prefecture in just two hours
Visit Zenkoji Temple, a monument with sacred images and statues
See monkeys in the hot springs at Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park
Enjoy a small-group experience, limited to just six people
Your day trip start with early morning pickup from your Tokyo hotel. With your guide and small group of just five others, you’ll travel by Shinkansen to the Nagano Prefecture.
Relax on the 2-hour journey, then disembark at Nagano Station for the start of your tour. Stroll around Zenkoji Temple, which was built before the introduction of Buddhism in Japan, then explore the shopping street nearby to shop for keepsakes and local food.
From Zenkoji, you’ll travel onward to Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park, home to a powerful geyser and wild snow monkeys. Legend has it the local people once feared the geyser, naming it Jigokudani, which means “hell valley.” The monkeys felt no fear though, and each winter they continue to gather at the park’s famous hot spring.
After the visit to the park, you’ll return to the station for the journey back to Tokyo. Your day trip ends at the Tokyo station.
Ryoko was our guide, very competent and pleasant. She got us through all the subway, trains, and bus connections. Made the whole trip less stressful and more fun. This was our first day after arriving Japan so all the walking made for a quicker adjustment to jet-lag. The monkeys were plentiful and amazing. Our day was cold but otherwise clear and beautiful, I think this tour would be weather dependent. So glad we made this trip and experienced such a unique event.
This was a wonderful day in the mountains, just 2 hours by Shinkanzen from Tokyo. The tour guide Ryoko was excellent, very knowledgeable and accommodating. She gave me several options for activities besides visiting the monkey park. She really made the day a very good experience.
The monkey park itself is most certainly worth a visit and I didn't want to leave because it is wonderful being very close to the animals and watching their antics and bathing in the onsen.
After the monkey part I went to an onsen that is located within the park grounds. It was wonderfully relaxing and perfect to warm up again. The visit ended with a delicious meal of soba noodles, which are a specialty in Nagano, and tempura.
All in all a fabulous day with plenty of great memories.
Visitors who go there during the winter time need to know that it is a 45 minute walk from the car park to the monkey park on a forest path, which does get icy, so please wear suitable winter shoes.