Sunday, January 13, 2013

Snow Monkey Park, Jigokudani Yaen-Koen

Can you tell where I am?

Snow Monkey's Spa! Hmm warm and relaxing...

After the broadcasting by a foreign TV company during Nagano Olympic, this hot spring became very famous sightseeing spot because this is the only one place which the monkeys soak in the spa in the world.  The formal name is Jigokudani Yaen-Koen.

To go to the monkey park, walk in the forest about 30 minutes from Kambayashi hot spring resort. Be sure you are dressed warm enough because you will be wanting to stay longer when you see monkeys.  

In fact, the name of this park area is called "Jigokudani" means hell valley because the area is surrounded by steep cliffs with geyser, it seems like hell.  However, for the monkeys, this spa is just perfect heaven.

When you observe monkeys...
1. Do not touch or stare at their eyes... they get scared.
2. Do not feed them.
3. No cats, dogs, or animals in this park. 

Even though about 200 monkeys live in this area, not all the monkeys get in the spa. They are mainly females and their children.  Their behaviors are so cute to observe and forget the time passing...

 Oh my god...
This is between you and me...

 Half of 12 monkeys...

To go to Jigokudani Yaen-Koen, take Nagano Dentetsu Line, Snow Monkey Express from Nagano station to Yudanaka station.  It takes about 45 minutes and the price is JPY 1,230. From Yudanaka station to Kambayashi Onsen (hot springs), the bus is available, but only about 6 times per day. It takes 15 minutes from Yudanaka sta. to Kambayashi Onsen.  By taxi, it takes about 10 minutes.   

Open hours
Between April - October:  8:30-17:00
Between November - March:  9:00-16:00
Admission:  JPY500 per an adult 
Unexpected closure might happen due to the weather condition.  Probably you can see the monkeys in the spa from October to April, but no guarantee because bathing is the way to protect themselves from cold weather.

6845 Yamanouchi-machi Shimotakai-gun
Nagano Japan 381-0401

You can check the weather and if there are monkeys there by this Live Camera.

Experience Japan!