Discover Japan: Onsens & Monkeys

Trip ideas
Duration (in days): 3

From: Tokyo

To: Tokyo



Exc. International flights (per person, based on 2 sharing) 
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This enthralling 3-day trip introduces to two of our favourite aspects of Japanese onsen bathing and the Nagano snow monkeys! Spend two comfortable nights in a traditional Ryokan (Japanese-style inn) with access to 6 completely natural thermal spring baths or ‘onsen’. Discover the traditional rituals connected with bathing in these hot springs as you unwind in utter peace. Next, head to Jigokudani Yaen-koen to see the adorable Snow Monkeys who love to soak in the hot spring baths, before you head back to the fast pace of city life of Tokyo.

Your first 2 nights will be spent in the town of Shibu Onsen, approximately 4 hours from Tokyo by train. Here you will stay in a traditional Ryokan and get to join the locals as they head out in the evenings to the local hot spring baths Japan is famous for. From here you can head to see the Snow Moneys as they relax in the hot springs and socialise with their fellow monkeys, providing some light entertainment!

This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.


  • Soak in health giving minerals as you lay back in one of the hot springs
  • Stroll down spa street visiting the local onsens
  • Watch the antics of the Snow Monkeys at Jigokudani Yaen-koen 
  • Learn about Japanese culture as you spend 2 nights in a traditional ryokan
Discover Japan: Onsens & Monkeys | map


Day 1: Arrive Tokyo

On arrival into Tokyo, make your own way by bullet train from Tokyo to Nagano using the Hokuriku bullet train, reaching speeds up to 260kph. On arrival at Nagano Station you will be transferred to the express train to Yudanaka Station where you will be collected by a complimentary shuttle and taken to your ryokan.

Ryokans are traditional Japanese-style inns which usually have their very own Japanese onsen (bath), fed by local hot springs that are rich in minerals that benefit muscles, joints and skin.

Witness a quintessentially Japanese experience as you observe the local people strolling down spa street in their robes visiting one of the nine public onsen baths, you can visit one yourself if you wish.

Your dinner tonight will be Kaiseki, a Japanese traditional meal made up of 9 or more dishes and a range of seasonal dishes using only the freshest of ingredients.

Day 2: Shibu Onsen & Jigokudani monkey park

Today is a self-guided day. We recommend you visit the Jigokudani monkey park to see the famous Nagano snow monkeys as they splash around in the natural hot spring baths. These creature are incredibly social and interact in large groups, they are accustomed to humans and largely ignore the guests watching them!

In the afternoon why not head to the charming town of Obuse, home to a number of traditional houses and stores? If you see an ‘Open Garden’ sign on the door of a house it means you can enter the property and enjoy the gardens, giving you a unique insight into how the locals live!

Tonight you will be served another delicious dinner at your ryokan.

Day 3: Depart Shibu Onsen

The rest of the day is at leisure until your bullet train from Nagano to Tokyo.


Jigokudani Yaen-Koen (“Hells Valley”) remains fairly remote and uncrowded, even though it is now quite well-known - as ‘The Monkey Onsen’.

The monkeys habitually frequent this valley in winter months (late Oct/early Nov till late Mar/early April), spending the daylight hours in & around the onsen pools/Yokoyu River, they are still likely to be around in warmer weather. The path for visitors takes you right through their habitat; don’t rush - the monkeys although wild are quite used to humans & carry on with their day to day routine regardless.

This itinerary is purely a suggestion, and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you

What's included: 

  • 2 nights in a traditional ryokan
  • Daily breakfast
  • Evening meals at your ryokan
  • Roundtrip bullet train tickets from Tokyo to Nagano
  • Roundtrip limited express train tickets from Nagano to Yudakana Station.
  • PASMO transport pass at a value of 1,500 JPY on Day 2

Not included: 

  • International flights
  • Guides and/or entrance fees
  • Local transport other than that mentioned above
  • Any meals not mentioned
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips & gratuities


2 nights in a traditional Japanese ryokan


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