Nagano Safaris & wildlife activities

Our most recommended Nagano Safaris & wildlife activities

Nagano: Snow Monkeys, Zenkoji Temple & Sake Day Trip

1. Nagano: Snow Monkeys, Zenkoji Temple & Sake Day Trip

A great tour for all seasons, this is a 1-day guided tour of the most famous attractions of Nagano City and Jigokudani or “Hell’s Valley”, home of the Snow Monkeys. Take a scenic route to see the cutest monkeys in the world, then experience the tranquility of Zenkoji Temple and lively Nakamise shopping street. For guests traveling from Hakuba, from December through March, your journey can begin with a shuttle from Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal at 7:55 AM; otherwise, meet your guide at Nagano Station at 9:35 AM (please be at your chosen pickup point in advance of the meetup time as the tour needs to depart on-time). Famous for being the temple to hold the first Buddhist statue in Japan. Zenkoji Temple has a special energy and welcomes people of all faiths and religions. The temple grounds are beautiful and tranquil; there are hidden gems to explore, such as the dark tunnel running under the temple, said to be where you can gain enlightenment by finding the “Key To Paradise”. After lunch, return to Nagano Station again by public transport and take local bus from there to the Snow Monkeys. World-famous for their rare habit of soaking in the hot spring and living in the snow, these amazing macaques will let you get really close to them for some great photo opportunities and an unforgettable experience. After saying goodbye to the snow monkeys, stroll back along the tranquil forest trail to a delicious lunch at the restaurant near the trail exit. After seeing the Snow Monkeys, head to the local Japanese sake brewery to try various types of sake maybe even find a nice souvenir for yourself.

Nozawa: Full-Day Fire Festival & Snow Monkey Tour on Jan 15

2. Nozawa: Full-Day Fire Festival & Snow Monkey Tour on Jan 15

Your tour begins with pickup from one of two locations: Hakuba’s Happo Bus Terminal at 11:45 AM or JR Nagano Station at 1 PM. After meeting your guide, you’ll hit the road and head towards Yamanouchi, home to the only hot spring-bathing monkeys in the world, Japanese snow monkeys.  After arriving near the monkey park area at 2 PM, your guide will lead you along a snow-covered forest trail to the park itself. Found deep inside Jigokudani, or “Hell’s Valley”, your guide will explain the history and importance of the park and give you plenty of time to enjoy the unique experience of observing the snow monkeys in close proximity. Then enjoy an early dinner at a nearby restaurant where you’ll learn all about Nagano’s renowned food culture. Next, you’ll head to Nozawa Onsen, where you’ll witness one of Japan’s three great fire festivals. After arriving at around 6 PM, you’ll have ample time to explore the village before the main event begins. Preparations start at 7 PM with singing, drumming, fireworks, and more. Then it’s time for the main event, during which the town will converge on a wooden shrine. Fueled by tradition, bravado, and drinking, the mock battle takes place with an explosion of embers. After the gods have been deemed happy and ready to bless the villagers with good luck, harvest, and happiness, the shrine will be set on fire at 10 PM.  At 10:45 PM you’ll regroup with your guide at the designated meeting point and be transported back to your original pickup point.

Nagano: 1-Day Snow Monkey & Cherry Blossom Tour in Spring

3. Nagano: 1-Day Snow Monkey & Cherry Blossom Tour in Spring

This tour takes you from JR Nagano Station to the world-famous Jigokudani snow monkeys and to some of the most beloved cherry blossom viewing spots in Nagano. Seeing the blooming cherry blossoms (called hanami in Japanese) is one of the most Japanese things one can do whilst being in the land of the rising sun. Located in a chilly, mountainous region, northern Nagano’s blossoms start blooming later than those in cities like Tokyo or Kyoto. Every year, the blossoms normally come into bloom from the middle of April. Nagano is not as famous as an aforementioned city but has many lovely places where you can see the brightly colored flowers. If you wish to get off the beaten track and see the wild monkeys and cherry blossoms on the same day, this tour is perfect for you. First, you will be taken to Jigokudani Monkey Park, where you can observe the wild Japanese macaques at an incredibly close distance. April is generally the month when newborn babies arrive to the Jigokudani monkey troop. Usually there are 20 to 30 babies born every spring, and it’s endearing to see the newborns taking their first step and climb. After being filled by a Japanese lunch, the tour will take you to the hanami spots where cherry blossoms can be seen. The spots are selected depending on the degree of bloom of the blossoms on the tour date. Each spot has different types of cherry blossoms with overall more than 500 to 1000 sakura trees. Experience the yearly tradition to welcome spring in full. After enjoying the cherry blossoms, you will be taken to the train that takes you back to JR Nagano Station. The tour is scheduled to conclude at JR Nagano Station by 6:30 PM. Don’t miss this special opportunity to witness Japan’s beautiful spring.

  • Adventures
3 activities found
Sort by:

Other Sightseeing Options in Nagano

Want to discover all there is to do in Nagano? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Nagano

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 12 reviews

Great day. Host made you welcome. Temple street has old world charm in Nagano. Lunch delicious. Walk to monkeys a bit hard at first, uphill but levels off with beautiful scenery. Monkeys are something to see. Babies gorgeous with mums.

Could not be happier! The tour was perfectly paced, the things included were terrific, the food was wonderful, the guides were exceptional, friendly and professional and the monkeys were AMAZING! So happy! Thanks!

well organized tour, knowledgeable guide, enough time at each tour attraction and not felt rushed at all! Delicious food too!

Most amazing guide, Mai. Excellent tour. lunch was amazing. I recommend the beef. Sake tasting was excellent for beginners

A very memorable trip.. December is good timing to visit!! would recommend everybody to join..