Dec 29, 2009

Snow Monkeys, Jigokudani Yaen-koen, Nagano Pref.

I visited the Jigokudani Yaen-koen(地獄谷野猿公苑, the Jigokudani wild monkeys park) in Nagano Prefecture to see the world famous snow monkeys on the other day. You can see onsen bathing monkeys in the winter. About 200 wild monkeys are said to live around the area (They are wild monkeys but I saw a park worker feeding them). Usually you can see their onsen bathing from Dec. through Mar. But it depends on the temperature and I can't assure you.

They just ignore visitors and relax in the bath, so visitors can watch them closely.

My husband asked me "Hey, how did you take this self-portrait?"

Temperature of the bath around here was 38.8°C.

Probably boss of the school. When this monkey stepped in the bath, other monkeys gave space and walked away.

◆Jigokudani Yaen-koen (地獄谷野猿公苑)

Type: An open-air bath exclusively for monkeys.

Address: 6845 Yamanouchi-machi Shimotakai-gun, Nagano Pref.

Location: 36.732745,138.462775

Business hour: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM in the winter (Nov. to Mar.)

Holiday: None

Admission fee: ¥500 for adult, ¥250 for child

Access: From Yudanaka Station of Nagano Dentestu Line(for the access from Nagano to Yudanaka Station, see related post), take a bus to Kanbashi Onsen (上林温泉)taking 15 minutes and costing ¥250. For bus timetable see below. You have to walk about 30 minutes from the Kanbayashi Onsen to the park (Ask the bus driver which way to walk). There is no direct transportation to the park. Even if you take a taxi, you have to get off at the entrance point of the walk pass and walk for 25 minutes. The taxi ride costs about ¥1800 one way.

Bus timetable (as of Dec. 2009):
From Yudanaka Station:(* not operated on weekends & holidays)

From Kanbayashi Onsen: (* not operated on weekends & holidays)

If you stay overnight at the Yudanaka Onsen or Shibu Onsen or other neibouring onsens on weekend or holiday season, you have a chance to ride the "Snow Monkey Holiday Mini Bus". It cost ¥800 one way,  return ticket is ¥1700 including the admission fee of the park. This bus takes you to the closer to the park, and just 10 minutes walk will take you to the park. Advance booking is necessary, but you can book and buy the ticket just the day before (not earlier). Ask about the bus service to the ryokan you'll stay. If you are a day visitor, you can ride the bus if seat is availble on the day.

You need appropriate shoes to walk snowy or slippy or muddy foot path for 30 minutes one way. Although I saw many visitors in sneakers and leather shoes, I think it's difficult to walk in these shoes after fresh snow falls.

The walk pass to the park as of late Dec. 2009. It was a warm day for the winter and the snow was melting partly.

Official website of the Jigokudani Yaen-koen in English
Live Webcam of the Snow Monkeys

Related Post:
Kaede no Yu, Yudanaka Onsen, Nagano Pref.

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