Snow monkey pass for Jigokudani monkey park from Nagano by bus or train. Best things to do in Nagano in 2 days. best places to visit in Nagano. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

 

There’s a lot of walking involved in this 2-day Nagano itinerary as I did it.

The snow monkey pass isn’t available year-round. So while you can do this itinerary any time of the year, it will require buying individual transportation tickets when there’s no pass available.

You can check this website for available dates.Β For the near future in 2019, it lists that no snow monkey passes are available again until December 7, 2019. (Passes were stopped being sold on September 30, and none in October and November.)

Per the website, snow monkey passes can’t be bought online. If you’ll start your trip in Nagano, you can buy your snow monkey pass at the Nagano dentetsu station, which is basically located in the basement level of the regular Nagano Station, the main train station. So you can buy the pass on the day that you want to start using it!

It seems that in the not-so-distant past, this pass was only a 1-day pass. When I got it, it was a 2-day pass, with that being the only option available. I’m not sure if they will continue to keep it as a 2-day pass, but in any case, this 2-day Nagano plan below can give you ideas!

 

2-day snow monkey pass for Nagano winter itinerary. best things to do in Nagano. best places to visit in Nagano. Backpacking Japan travel blog

2-day snow monkey pass for Nagano winter itinerary. best things to do in Nagano. best places to visit in Nagano. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

 

4 best things to do in Nagano in 2 days with a snow monkey pass

 

1. Jigokudani Monkey Park

Jigokudani monkey park. Best things to do in Nagano in 2 days with Snow monkey pass. best places to visit in Nagano. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Snow monkeys in onsen hot springs

 

 

2. Shibu Onsen

Shibu Onsen hot springs village. Best things to do in Nagano in 2 days with Snow monkey pass. best places to visit in Nagano. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Small hot springs village

 

 

3. Obuse

Obuse chestnut town. Best things to do in Nagano in 2 days with Snow monkey pass. best places to visit in Nagano. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Small town famous for chestnuts

 

 

4. Zenkoji Temple

Zenkoji Temple. Best things to do in Nagano in 2 days with Snow monkey pass. best places to visit in Nagano. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Famous temple in Nagano

 

 

When you buy your snow monkey pass, you’ll get a little brochure or sheet of paper, and this will also include tips on where to go and how to get there. Otherwise, Google Maps is a reliable way to figuring out how to get around.

 

 

What’s included in the snow monkey pass?

Public transportation between the places listed above is all included, and so is the entry fee to the Jigokudani snow monkey park.

Officially, the snow monkey pass includes:

Unlimited use of the Nagano Dentetsu Train Line.
Unlimited use of the Nagaden Express bus (Nagano station – Snow Monkey Park).
Unlimited use of the Nagaden local bus (Yudanaka station – Kanbayashi Onsen/Snow Monkey Park)
Free admission to the Snow Monkey Park (Jigokudani Yaen Koen)

 

 

How much does the snow monkey pass cost?

There is only one snow monkey pass you can buy, and that’s the 2-day pass.

In March 2019, the cost of my snow monkey pass was 3,500 yen (US$30).

With the round-trip between Nagano and the monkey park, the price will cover itself!

 

 

Planning a trip to Nagano in the winter

Nagano is the name of a prefecture (similar to a state or province), and it’s also the name of a city. For this 2-day Nagano itinerary, it’s based in Nagano city.

A 2-day Nagano itinerary can be a perfect part of a 10-day Japan winter itinerary!

You can start in Tokyo, and then from the Shinjuku bus terminal in Tokyo, you can take a bus from Tokyo to Nagano. There’s a shinkansen bullet train too if you’ll be traveling with a JR pass. The train will be faster, but the bus will be cheaper if you’re buying tickets individually.

After 2 days in Nagano city, you can then take a bus from Nagano to Hakuba. Hakuba is also in Nagano prefecture, and it is a popular ski and snowboarding destination. Even if you don’t ski, Hakuba can be worth a visit if you’re after views of snow-capped mountains. Hakuba is in the northern Japan Alps.

See more of the Japan winter itinerary!

 

Where to stay in Nagano

I stayed at a backpackers hostel in Nagano that was a 20-minute walk from Nagano Station. This place can give you a Japanese-style type feeling, and there are private rooms also. This hostel was also about a 10-minute walk from the famous Zenkoji Temple. It is also about a 10-minute walk from the nearest dentetsu line station (Gondo Station), which is the train line included with the snow monkey pass. It’s listed that you can also buy the snow monkey pass at Gondo Station.

 

 

And now…

A little bit more about 2 days in Nagano with a snow monkey pass!

This is what I did with the snow monkey pass in March 2019! You may decide to do things a little differently, but here are some ideas to get you started!

 

DAY 1 IN NAGANO

  • Buy snow monkey pass at Nagano Dentetsu Station
  • Direct bus to Jigokudani monkey park
  • See snow monkeys in onsen hot springs
  • Walk from Jigokudani monkey park to Shibu Onsen hot springs village
  • Walk from Shibu Obsen to Yudanaka Station
  • Train from Yudanaka Station to Nagano on the dentetsu line

 

Arrive at Nagano Station to buy the snow monkey pass

So you’ll head underground to get the snow monkey pass. You can follow the signs from the front of the station to “Nagano Dentetsu Station.”

From there, there’s a manned booth near the ticket gate, and that’s where you can buy the pass. You’ll probably see signs for the snow monkey pass.

 

Where to buy snow monkey pass at nagano dentetsu station. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Where to buy snow monkey pass at nagano dentetsu station. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Where to buy snow monkey pass at nagano dentetsu station. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

 

Then, once you’ve bought your ticket…

Walk to the Jigokudani monkey park bus stop!

The bus stop for the Jigokudani monkey park is also basically at the train station, on the back side.

From the Dentetsu station that you’ve bought your snow monkey pass, you can follow signs to the east exit, and then to the bus stop.

 

How to get to Jigokudani monkey park bus stop from Nagano Station with snow monkey pass. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary. Backpacking Japan travel blog

How to get to Jigokudani monkey park bus stop from Nagano Station with snow monkey pass. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

 

Wait for the bus to arrive

There were 2 bus stops right next to each other that were labeled as the snow monkey park bus stop. This is right near the taxi pick-up area. You can just wait in this general area for the bus to show up. At some point, people might start to line up. There might also be someone around that’s wearing a “nagaden” jacket or something, and that can be a good person to ask too. Nagaden is the bus service to the monkey park.

There’s a convenience store near the bus stop, so if you find yourself with some extra time, you might want to go and buy some snacks and drinks for the day.

 

Jigokudani monkey park bus stop from Nagano Station with snow monkey pass. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

 

Get on the bus and enjoy the bus ride to (near) the monkey park!

You’ll show your pass and this will serve as your bus ticket.

The bus ride is about 1 hour.

 

Nagano to Jigokudani monkey park bus ride with snow monkey pass. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Nagano to Jigokudani monkey park bus ride with snow monkey pass. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Nagano to Jigokudani monkey park bus ride with snow monkey pass. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Bus stop near Jigokudani monkey park with snow monkey pass. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

 

Walk to the Jigokudani snow monkey park entrance

The bus won’t drop you off immediately at the park entrance. This might be about a 30-40 minute walk, including on a dirt trail. When I went, since there was some snow melt, it also made for a muddy trail in some parts. You can rent rain boots (aka waterproof shoes) at the shop near the Jigokudani bus stop if you’d rather not take the chance on getting your shoes dirty.

 

Walk to get to Jigokudani monkey park trail from bus stop. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Walk to get to Jigokudani monkey park trail from bus stop. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

 

See the monkeys!

Going to Jigokudani monkey park with Snow Monkey Pass. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Going to Jigokudani monkey park with Snow Monkey Pass. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Going to Jigokudani monkey park with Snow Monkey Pass. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Going to Jigokudani monkey park with Snow Monkey Pass. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Going to Jigokudani monkey park with Snow Monkey Pass. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Going to Jigokudani monkey park with Snow Monkey Pass. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Going to Jigokudani monkey park with Snow Monkey Pass. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

 

After the monkey park

After I was done with the visit to the monkey park, I basically decided to walk from Jigokudani monkey park to Yudanaka Station. From Yudanaka Station, there’s a train back to Nagano Station.

Otherwise, if you don’t want to walk as much, you can get a direct bus back to Nagano, or you can get another bus that will go in the direction of Yudanaka Station, and I think you can stop off at some places along the way too.

But walking wasn’t so bad!

 

 

Walk from Jigokudani monkey park to Shibu Onsen

Walk to get from Jigokudani monkey park to Shibu Onsen. where to eat fruit apples near jigokudani monkey park. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Walk to get from Jigokudani monkey park to Shibu Onsen. where to eat restaurants near jigokudani monkey park. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Walk to get from Jigokudani monkey park to Shibu Onsen. where to eat restaurants near jigokudani monkey park. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Walk to get from Jigokudani monkey park to Shibu Onsen. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Walk to get from Jigokudani monkey park to Shibu Onsen. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Walk to get from Jigokudani monkey park to Shibu Onsen. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

 

Walking the streets of Shibu Onsen village

Shibu Onsen is a hot springs village.

You can find lots of onsen (hot springs) here, in the form of public and private. There are onsen foot baths too.

 

Walk the streets of Shibu Onsen hot springs village. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Walk the streets of Shibu Onsen hot springs village. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Walk the streets of Shibu Onsen hot springs village. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Walk the streets of Shibu Onsen hot springs village. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

See more photos from my walk around Shibu Onsen village. You may also consider staying a night here at a ryokan, a traditional Japanese-style ryokan.

 

 

Walk from Shibu Onsen to Yudanaka Station

After passing through Shibu Onsen, I continued the walk to Yudanaka Station.

There was a short hiking trail along the way, called “issa walking course” so I made a side trip for a hike in the woods.

 

Walk to get from Jigokudani monkey park to Shibu Onsen to Yudanaka Station. issa walking course. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Walk to get from Jigokudani monkey park to Shibu Onsen to Yudanaka Station. issa walking course. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Walk to get from Jigokudani monkey park to Shibu Onsen to Yudanaka Station. issa walking course. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Walk to get from Jigokudani monkey park to Shibu Onsen to Yudanaka Station. issa walking course. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Walk to get from Jigokudani monkey park to Shibu Onsen to Yudanaka Station. issa walking course. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Walk to get from Jigokudani monkey park to Shibu Onsen to Yudanaka Station. issa walking course. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Walk to get from Jigokudani monkey park to Shibu Onsen to Yudanaka Station. issa walking course. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Yudanaka Station to Nagano. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Train from Yudanaka Station to Nagano. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

 

Snow monkey Nagaden express train to Nagano!

Snow monkey nagaden express train from Yudanaka Station to Nagano. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Snow monkey nagaden express train from Yudanaka Station to Nagano. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Snow monkey nagaden express train from Yudanaka Station to Nagano. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

luggage storage on Snow monkey nagaden express train from Yudanaka Station to Nagano. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

inside seats Snow monkey nagaden express train from Yudanaka Station to Nagano. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Snow monkey nagaden express train from Yudanaka Station to Nagano. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Snow monkey nagaden express train from Yudanaka Station to Nagano dentetsu station. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

 

DAY 2 IN NAGANO

  • Train from Nagano to Obuse Station
  • Walk the streets of Obuse
  • Train from Obuse Station to Zenkojishita Station
  • Visit Zenkoji Temple
  • Eat soba near Zenkoji Temple

 

If you want to make time on the first day, you can stop by Obuse on the way back from Yudanaka Station. Obuse is located between Nagano and Yudanaka.

 

 

Train from Nagano to Obuse

There is a direct train from Nagano to Obuse, which is the express train. The timings for this train are more limited. Otherwise, there’s the local train that does require a transfer.

You can consult google maps to see which train to take, and it could turn out the local train will get you to Obuse faster even with the transfer, depending on how long you need to wait for the next express train departure.

I took the local train to get to Obuse.

 

Train from Nagano to Obuse station. local train timings. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Train from Nagano to Obuse station. local train timings. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Train from Nagano to Obuse station. local train timings. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Train from Nagano to Obuse station. local train timings. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

 

Walk the streets of Obuse

Obuse is a small town known for chestnuts. You’ll find lots of chestnut-flavored products around.

Aside from that, this is another place where you can walk the quiet streets of Japan.

 

Walk the streets of Obuse chestnut town. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Walk the streets of Obuse chestnut town. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Walk the streets of Obuse chestnut town. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Walk the streets of Obuse chestnut town. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Walk the streets of Obuse chestnut town. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Walk the streets of Obuse chestnut town. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Walk the streets of Obuse chestnut town. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

See more photos from my walk around Obuse town.

 

 

Train to Nagano!

Train from Obuse to Nagano. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

 

Visit Zenkoji Temple

This is Nagano’s famous temple. If you get off the train from Obuse at Zenkojishita Station or Gondo Station, it will be about a 10 minute walk to the temple.

 

Zenkoji Temple in Nagano. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Zenkoji Temple in Nagano. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

 

Eat SOBA!

At some point during your time in Nagano, make it a point to eat the Japanese soba noodles!

While you can find soba all across Japan, it’s especially famous in Nagano.

You’ll find soba specialty shops all around Nagano, including near Zenkoji Temple.

If your timing is good, you might even be able to see from the street the preparation of soba!

 

Best food to eat in Nagano. soba. what to eat. where to eat. restaurants. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Best food to eat in Nagano. soba. what to eat. where to eat. restaurants. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Best food to eat in Nagano. soba. what to eat. where to eat. restaurants. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Best food to eat in Nagano. soba. what to eat. where to eat. restaurants. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

Best food to eat in Nagano. soba. what to eat. where to eat. restaurants. 2 day Nagano winter itinerary with snow monkey pass. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

And there’s a pretty full 2 days in Nagano!

 

Also be sure to see more places to visit in Japan around Nagano!

 

HAPPY VISIT TO NAGANO WITH A SNOW MONKEY PASS!

 

Snow monkey pass for Jigokudani monkey park from Nagano by bus or train. Best things to do in Nagano in 2 days. best places to visit in Nagano. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

 



How to spend winter in Japan

Backpacking Japan travel blog: Japan winter itinerary. Japan itinerary travel planning tips. Backpacking Japan travel blog: Hokkaido winter itinerary. Japan itinerary travel planning tips.

More quick tips for planning your trip to Japan

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Among the top 3 things people get specific for a trip to Japan


Food in Japan
If you are in Japan for FOOD, then be sure to see where to try different types of Japanese food! (Sometimes for cheaper!)

And also have a look at some of these cooking classes in Japan too.

If you're looking for a route for winter in Japan, here are some ideas!
Hokkaido winter itinerary (train to get around - there are JR Hokkaido passes available, and you can use a regular JR pass too)


When the JR pass is worth it
In general, 2 long-distance shinkansen train trips will likely end up making it so the JR pass will be worth it. But here's how to calculate it to be sure. See the current price of a JR pass from an official vendor.

Natural disasters in Japan
Unfortunately, Japan can be prone to natural disasters which means risk for travel delays. So be sure to look at travel insurance for natural disasters.

My travel insurance took care of my accommodation and food costs when I was forced to stay extra days in Japan because of a typhoon. There have been a few typhoons that have hit Japan in the past couple of years and they can cause real travel disruptions!

See how much insurance costs for your trip.

More for your Japan itinerary
 
That's it for now!
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