See monkeys soaking in hot springs surrounded by pristine snow.
Jigokudani Yaen-koen is home to hundreds of “snow monkeys”, known as such because they spend their days soaking in the mountainous hot springs. In 1970 they appeared on the cover of Life magazine in the U.S. due to this unique behaviour. Furthermore, in 1998, when the winter Olympic Games was held in Nagano, lots of athletes, media, and tourists from foreign countries visited.
Monkeys don’t soak in the hot spring in the warm season because they bathe in order to prevent from the severe coldness in winter. Soaking in the hot spring is only one part of the monkeys’ life. You can also see them lazing or frolicking on the nearby mountain and forest.
① Meet at Yudanaka Station and travel by bus and walking to Jigokudani Yaen-koen. (13:00-14:05)
② Hike from the bus stop through the Yumichi walking trail
Enjoy the fresh mountain air as you undertake a relaxing hike through the forest in order to reach the snow monkeys.
③ Jigokudani Yaen-koen (14:05 - 14:45)
Located in the Yokoyu River Valley at an altitude of 850m, the Jigokudani Yaen Koen is known as "Hell Valley" due to the steep cliffs and steam emitting from the springs. It's buried in snow for a third of the year but is a paradise for the monkeys of Nagano area as they enjoy bathing in the hot springs to warm up.
④ Break time at Enza Cafe (15:30-16:00)
Situated just down from the forest trail leading to the snow monkey park, they serve both Japanese and Western foods along with ENZA originals such as chicken ramen – great in winter – and tasty summer burgers. Local craft beers, coffee and smoothies will quench your thirst after your hike.
⑤ Foot Spa at Yudanaka Station (16:30-16:45)
After all that walking, treat your weary feet to a relaxing outdoor foot spa. The hot natural mineral waters will soothe and heal you.
・Hike the Yumichi walking trail through the forest
・Visit Shibu no Jigokudani funsen, a hot spring geyser
・Visit Jigokudani Yaen-koen and see the snow monkeys
・Take a rest after your hike at a cafe
・Learn about the local nature from the guide
・Please join us wearing shoes that are easy to walk in and do not bring heavy baggage because you will walk the mountain paths.
・Please have a bottle of water and snacks just in case.
・The ticket machines in Yuganaka station do not accept credit cards.
・Passengers coming from Nagano station can purchase the SNOW MONKEY PASS which is sold at Nagano station. It includes a round-trip ticket fare of the train and the bus + the entrance fee for Jigokudani Yaen-koen. It is cheaper to buy this way.
・Time schedule of the Nagano-Dentesu Train *Limited Express only (no transfer required) As of January 23, 2018
<Nagano sta.→Yudanaka sta.>
12:10→12:54 Limited Express ‘SNOW MONKEY’
|Price||¥8,500 per adult (13+)
¥6,000 Children (Age 6-12)
|Duration||3.5 hours (approx.)|
|Hours of availability||
・Food & Drinks
A ticket gate of Nagano-Dentesu Yudanaka station
Very knowledgeable about the history of the area
Our guide is very knowledgeable about the history of the area. She kept us informed about local attractions and the history of the area during the uphil long walk from the bus station to the snow monkeys' hot springs. She kept with our walking pace although our strides were much longer than hers (my wife and I are almost 6' footers). :-) We were able to arrive at our tour destinations ahead of time.
Our guide was delightful, she was very informative and her English is excellent. We really enjoyed the stroll through the trees where the clear water gushed alongside, very refreshing but the monkeys stole the show, there were so many of them just going about their business as if they hadn't even seen us. We saw several youngsters and really cute babies. We'll certainly remember our visit and would highly recommend it.
Great Day in Nagano
Thanks to the guide for our guided tour of the "monkey park" near Nagano. Myself and my sons thoroughly enjoyed the trip, which included a visit to a local sake brewery. Further the guide knew much about the local area and it was truly a great learning experience listening to her during the trip. We were amazed at the number of monkey and that we were able to walk among them freely. There was amply time for pictures and we didn't feel rushed at all. The tour is great value for the money (especially for a private tour), and I highly recommend it.