Take in some of the highlights of Nagano with this engaging tour led by a locally-based English-speaking guide. Visit Zenko-ji Temple — one of the oldest and most important Buddhist temples in Japan — have lunch and sake at a nearby restaurant, then see the world-famous hot spring-bathing monkeys at the Snow Monkey Park!
The tour begins at Nagano Station at 09:35, where you'll meet your guides and tour group, then head to Zenko-ji Temple. As a registered National Treasure, the temple is the most important cultural site in Nagano and one of the oldest and most important Buddhist temples in the entire country. Founded in the 7th century, Zenko-ji Temple is a place of true historic importance, full of legends and myths. You'll be guided around the temple before — time permitting — your guide gives you the opportunity to explore the smaller temples and shops in the area by yourself. Home to a huge number of breweries, Nagano is synonymous with sake. No visit to the region is complete without delving into Japan’s most famous beverage! Your guide will treat you to a tasting and introduce you to the complex world of sake, before you sit down for an early lunch. From delicious and warming beef, chicken, or vegetarian hot pot in the winter months, to mixed sushi plates and Nagano-style chicken or seasonal grilled vegetables from spring through autumn, meals are designed to match the season and highlight the best of Nagano’s renowned food culture. After lunch, it’s time to head to the Snow Monkey Park. Your guide will take you along the forest trail which leads to the park and into Jigokudani — rather dramatically translating to "Hell’s Valley". Home to the only troop of monkeys in the entire world known to bathe in hot springs, there are no barriers separating you from the wild monkeys, making this a unique and memorable experience. Your guide will introduce these curious creatures and provide you time to enjoy the unique experience of observing them in close proximity. Make sure to bring your camera as you're going to need it! Your guide will then accompany you back along the trail and soon have you heading back toward Nagano. Sit back, relax, and look through all those monkey photos before the tour returns to Nagano Station and concludes at 17:35. For guests joining from and returning to Hakuba (winter only), you'll be dropped off at between 18:30 to 18:45.