Full-Day Tour of Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple and Sake in Nagano
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Full-Day Tour of Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple and Sake in Nagano
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Full-Day Tour of Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple and Sake in Nagano

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Stop At: Zenko-ji Temple, I-491 Motoyoshicho, Nagano 380-0851 Nagano Prefecture

As one of the oldest, largest, and most important Buddhist temples in Japan, Zenko-ji is the spiritual heart of Nagano. A registered National Treasure, the temple's near-1400 year history is full of legend and myth which your guide will help you unlock as they guide you around the temple precinct followed by time to explore for yourself (time-permitting).

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

Stop At: MONZEN TERRACE ENYA, Japan, 〒380-0841 Nagano, 大門町57−2

Nagano is Japan's second largest producer of 'sake', meaning no trip to the region is complete without sampling some of the local breweries. Your guide will introduce to the complex and warm world of sake with a guided tasting and while there also treat you to a delicious lunch at one of Nagano's favorite restaurants.

Duration: 1 hour 20 minutes

Stop At: Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park, 6845 Heion, Yamanouchi-machi, Shimotakai-gun 381-0401 Nagano Prefecture

Established in 1964, Nagano's world-famous Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park is home to the only troop of monkeys in the entire world known to bathe in hot springs. With no barriers between you and the monkeys (don't worry, they are very calm) this is a unique opportunity to observe these curious creatures in close proximity as the walk about you, wrestle with each other, endlessly groom, and of course, soak in their favorite hot spring! Your guide will introduce you to everything that makes them so unique and famous while giving you plenty of time to explore for yourself.

Please note that estimated time at the monkey park includes walking in and out along the forest trail - 1.6km each way / 25 minutes each way in summer, slightly longer in winter. We endeavour to give our guests 1 hour in the park to observe the monkeys.

Duration: 2 hours

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  • Transportation fee from Nagano to the Snow Monkey Park and between activities/attractions
  • Lunch (vegetarian and vegan options available, please try to let us know in advance)
  • Sake tasting
  • English-speaking guide
  • Entry/Admission - Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park
Not included
  • Shinkansen/bullet train tickets
  • Entry to paid attractions at Zenko-ji
  • Additional food, snacks and drinks
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • This tour includes a reasonable amount of walking including to and from the monkey park along a 1.6km (1 mile), unsealed forest trail. Please sure your footwear is approriate and you are dressed accordingly for the season.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Infants (0-5) are welcome to join the tour free of charge and as such, do not receive lunch. If food is required, please order and pay directly at the restaurant.
  • This tour includes lunch at Monzen Terrace Enya. On rare occasions it may not be possible to use this restaurant in which case we would switch to another, comparable location.
  • The start and finish of the tour are arranged according to the bullet train (called Hokuriku Shinkansen) timetable. See below for specific timetables on the bullet train departure and arrival times to/from Nagano Station.
  • Departure Tokyo Station – Arrival Nagano Station: Tokyo: 07:20 – Nagano: 08:43 – Kagayaki (reserved seats only) * Tokyo: 07:24 – Nagano: 09:14 – Asama Tokyo: 07:52 – Nagano: 09:30 – Hakutaka
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Infant seats available
  • Departure Nagano Station – Arrival Tokyo Station Nagano: 17:55 – Tokyo: 19:20 – Kagayaki (reserved seats only) Nagano: 18:22 – Tokyo: 20:00 – Hakutaka
  • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • This tour does not include bullet train/shinkansen tickets. For guests traveling to Nagano from Tokyo, Kanazawa or other hubs, please check the train schedule and pricing in advance of the day of your tour to avoid unexpected delays and costs.
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 50 travelers
Nathaniel S
5 | 2019-07-31

I can't really say enough good about this day. Asuka was a wonderfully pleasant guide for the day. The monkeys were incredibly cool. The Nihonshu was tasty! Even though the forecast was for mostly cloudy, the morning was blue sky and HOT, so we worked up a good sweat walking to and around Zenko-ji. Next was Nihonshu tasting and lunch. Then you go on a decent length of a train ride + mini-bus up to the Snow Monkeys. You do have to walk for another 20ish minutes along both paved and non-paved incline, but it was very easy and I had some great conversation with the guide on the way. Then the monkeys! When you get into the main area, they are everywhere! They walk amongst you, though you cannot touch them. There were baby monkeys with their mommas. There were kid monkeys playing with each other. There were all kinds of other monkeys doing monkey things. We stayed for about an hour or so and I enjoyed every minute of it. The afternoon we went was rainy, so there were very few people there...maybe 6-8 other humans. The guide said it is usually much more crowded. Couldn't recommend this activity enough. Even with the Shinkansen day trip from Tokyo, it was well worth it. At the end of the day, grab some sushi from the local market at the train station and settle in for the ride back to Tokyo without much of a care except remembering your experience with the monkeys!

Elaine W
5 | 2019-04-23

Very well organized tour with ample time at each location . Guide was very knowlegable and snow monkeys were lovely

5 | 2018-03-09

We had a limited time in Japan, but seeing the snow monkeys was something we wanted to make time for. It made for a long day since we came from Tokyo, but we're so glad we went! We loved being outside we went in Feb and had fleece-lined pants, winter coats, snow boots, and hand-warmer packets, which was a nice change of pace from Tokyo. We researched a number of similar tours, but chose this one because visiting the monkeys were scheduled in the morning. The morning definitely had fewer people then compared to when we left. The baby macaques were adorable! The lunch was delicious. We stopped by a fruit market/grocery store and were able to buy a number of treats to take back for our families. The Zenko-ji Temple complex was beautiful. We loved our guide, Peter, he was very informative throughout the tour but not pushy. This tour was fantastic and we highly recommend it. And our friends and family love the pictures!

Lars-olof E
5 | 2018-02-27

First we went to see the show monkey, and have shoes that not slip on ice or dirty ice. The monkey did not take a bath when I was there, but get some good pictures anyway. After that lunch at a ryokan that tastes very good., Then take bus and train to Nagano where we visited a famous Buddhist temple where our guide telling us many interesting things. And don't forget to go down in the labyrinth, and trying find the door to enlightenment. After that probably with a little tired feet it's time to go to the last event, sake tasting, there are both alcohol and non alcoholic, so everyone can taste.

Robert C
5 | 2018-02-26

Very good day. It was certainly worth it to see the snow monkeys and visit the Temple. I thought the temple visit was a throw-in but ended up being more than I expected. If you go in the winter you only Need to visit one days as the monkeys are always there at that time because of the temperatue of the hot springs.

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