The Snow Monkeys in Nagano are probably the only monkeys in the world that take a dip in the onsen hot spring for warmth. They can be seen on a daytrip from Tokyo. We board the Shinkansen bullet train from either Tokyo or Ueno station for a comfortable ride of less than two hours and get off at Nagano or Iiyama station.
From there, a direct bus will take you to the foot of the mountains where the monkeys live.
Note that there is a 30-40 minute walk (one-way) from the bus stop, though most of it is through a flat path and not overly difficult.
If you have a Japan Rail Pass, or JR East Pass, they will both work for the train ride, though you will have to pay separately for the buses
*Iiyama-Snow Monkey Park ; 1,000 JPY
*Nagano-Snow Monkey Park; 1,400 JPY
40,000 JPY for a group of up to four.
Includes: Fully guided tour plus the transportation charges for the guide
*If you wish to use the Green Car (first class) and would like the guide to join, please pay an additional 3,090 yen one-way. Or the guide can sit in non-reserved seat without a charge.
Not included: The transporation charges for you. Meals, admission fee (500 JPY) for the park.
|10:52 Tokyo bullet train departure|
|12:44 Iiyama arrival|
|13:10 Iiyama bus departure|
|13:45 Snow monkey park bus arrival|
|16:15 Snow monkey park bus departure|
|17:10 Nagano arrival|
|17:46 Nagano departure|
|19:12 Tokyo arrival|
Optional - Visit to Zenko-ji Temple
For additional 5,000 JPY
A Buddhist temple dating back to the 7th century, the Main Hall is one of the largest wooden structures in the country. A large bell hanging next to the main hall signaled the start of the 1998 Winter Olympics.
The visit will take an additional 90-120 minutes to complete, with easy access by bus from the Nagano rail station.