You have only three direct bus from Nagano Station to Snow Monkey Park, leaving at 10:15, 12:30, 15:10 and ETA are 10:57, 13:12, 15:52 respectively. HOWEVER, once you arrive at the bus stop, you still need to walk 30 minutes to the park. It is NOT a suitable side trip AT ALL.
thank you. However you left me wondering :)
What do you mean by "NOT a suitable side trip" ? Not worth the time ? Or Nagaden express bus is not the best option to take ?
On the way back, instead of the inbound express bus due to too much time waiting after enough of the monkey park, we took a bus to Yudanaka train station through the Kanbayashi onsen town. The train stops at Zenkoji station and we visited Zenkoji temple.
You can buy the fare onboard the bus(cash) from the driver or we bought tickets the night before from the Nagaden office located on the main street toward the Zenkoji just a short walk from the JR Nagano station.Edited: 07 October 2017, 00:47
thank you Amazinga. I've noted tips for a return trip. Our train to Nagano arrives at 10.01, i am confused if we can navigate ourselves and be in time for express bus departure at 10.15 ?
>>What do you mean by "NOT a suitable side trip" ? Not worth the time ? Or Nagaden express bus is not the best option to take ?
The trip takes you too much time and effort. A round trip takes you 2 hours + waiting time already. To make the first bus leaving at 10:15, you need to take the Limited Express Shinano from Nagiso leaving at 08:00 and arrive at Nagano at 10:00. You will arrive at Kambayashi Onsen (i.e. the so-called snow monkey park bus stop) at 11:00. You will not arrive at the park earlier than 11:30. However, unless you are going to call a taxi, the plan is not going to work as the first bus leaving from Tsumago to Nagiso departs at 11:16 in November, and you have no time to visit the Snow Monkey at the time you arrive at Nagano.
For the return, you need to walk back to the bus stop for 30 minutes back to Kambayashi Onsen. If you miss the 13:56 bus (in which there is risk that the bus will depart ahead schedule), you will have to wait until 16:13 for the next bus going back to Yudanaka Station and take the train back to Nagano and change to Shinkansen, and you will arrive at Kanazawa at 19:00
Snow monkey is good to see if you are staying one night in Nagano or Shibu Onsen or Kambayashi Onsen. Other than that IMO it is not a good choice to treat it as a day trip destination.Edited: 07 October 2017, 01:22
I agree that I dont get people that put so much effort going to see monkeys in a man made spring with hoards altough if it was my 10th trip to japan and i was spending a week in the nagano area skiing then sure. This and the silly bamboo forests in kyoto. each to their own i guess.
@HiroSKMT i got your point and appreciate that very much, sounds like too much hassle around.
Anything else to suggest on our route worth a side trip ?
No problem. Trains run on time and by the seconds in Japan. Go south side (opposite of Zenkoji exit) as you exit. See the map on the PDF. You will see people lined up for the bus.Edited: 07 October 2017, 02:10
As per the bus schedule stated by HiroSKMT, you still have more than 1hr and a half left for the monkey park, do you? Never been here myself (yes been to Shiga Kogen countless times), but maybe that's enough, don't you think? If so then doable, so might as well pencil it in (though may be a bit rushed), imo. Yes, the sights of cute baby monkeys taking a soak (in the snow) may leave your heart behind...