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.