Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park (地獄谷野猿公苑)

Posted on March 27, 2016

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This past February, the husband and I took a trip to the the infamous snow monkey park in Yudanaka. We had never been that far west of the island before. It was also our first time to ride the shinkansen. From where we stay in Japan, our total ride took about four hours. Worth it!

After packing our bags and preparing to leave this amazing onsen town (which I MUST write a future blog post about), the two of us informed the front desk at our hotel that we were heading to the snow monkey park. The staff asked how we were going to get there. My husband’s immediate response was “I don’t know.” This earned us a concerned look from the hotel staff and a free ride to the snow park. Score! For anyone planning to visit, there is a local bus that commutes back and forth from the little town to the park, but it only comes every so often. Thank you, concerned hotel staff!!

At the entrance to the hiking trail up the mountain, I spotted some special regional Kit Kats for Nagano. Apple flavor!

The hike to the actual park was about 25 minutes. The view was amazing, and the ground was slippery with ice.

Before arriving at the actual entrance, there was a monkey scrounging for food near some coke machines. I got pretty close. It was amazing. He also tried to lunge at some older gentleman  who got too close. I secretly told the monkey, “Pssst, good job.” Okay, not really. I tried to get close, too.

Just a little more walking, and we arrived! We paid our ¥500 each and were shortly in the midst of a bajillion monkeys! I actually heard that this year there were less than there have been in the past, but it felt like a ton.

Monkey pictures incoming.

Prepare yourself.

They’re really damn cute.

I warned you!

The bath area was actually pretty cool. It’s what helps make these monkeys special. The body temperature is raised by soaking for a bit, and they hold onto the heat for a good while after leaving.

One monkey had enough of the gawking. He said, “Hey, human, you comin’ with me.”

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I thought it was interesting to also do some human watching. We were humans watching humans watching monkeys. It was crazy to see the huge ass cameras some people brought.

The husband and I stayed for as long as possible before we were ready to get out of the cold. Good thing is that there is no time limit. Bad thing? We couldn’t jump in the monkey bath to get warm with our new found friends.

Afterwards, we walked back to the little onsen area and shot some nice pictures that I hope to share soon.

Feel free to leave comments or questions! I’ll attempt to reply as soon as my silly head lets me remember.

Jigokudani Official Site

General Info on Jigokudani Park

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