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“Easier to get to than you think, monkeys in October” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park

Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park
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Explore Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park and Taste Local Sake
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England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
78 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
“Easier to get to than you think, monkeys in October”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 7, 2012

We travelled to the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park in October 2012 as an independent day trip from Tokyo. Prior to setting out, we were concerned (1) about how to get there and (2) if there would be any monkeys in October:
(1) It's actually much easier than we thought - we had JR passes which covered our trip on the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagano and then from Nagano we caught the private rail (there are direct busses in the winter but these are very infrequent off-season) to Yudanaka, a bus from the train station to the bottom of the park area (40 minute walk or 10 minutes on the bus) and then a nice walk to the park through the forest on a well maintained trail (30 minutes - I did this in flip flops and was quite happy but I appreciate that in winter you might need proper shoes). Based on the Onsen Soaker Blog, we bought the Kaede no Yu coupon at Nagano station (please note that there is some poorly translated english guidance at the station which suggests that you should not do this but it worked really well for us) for ¥1500 which included the round-trip train ticket and a trip to the Onsen which is located just to the back of the Yudanaka Train Station (I think that it is mandatory that you visit the onsen (they will stamp your ticket) but the onsen is basic but clean and very friendly (and is quite a nice break if you've been travelling all day - though do remember a towel)) - the coupon reduced the cost of the train ticket by about half (plus you get to visit an Onsen!). There were English speaking volunteers at the train station who greeted us with maps and helped us with the bus. I cannot emphasise how friendly (and helfpul) everyone at the station, in the village and in the Onsen was - especially as we did not speak Japanese.
(2) There were monkeys, lots and lots of monkeys - along the paths, on the roofs and near the monkey onsens - large monkeys and baby monkeys.
I would absolutely recommend this trip - we left Tokyo around 8am and were back for dinner. There is a lot of transport involved but it is reliable and quite straightforward. The monkeys are amazing and Yudanaka is a really nice place to visit if your travels have mostly been through the cities.

Visited October 2012
22 Thank PJice9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
66 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 170 helpful votes
“Fun fun fun snowy monkeys!!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 24, 2012

It took a bus and a 30 min walk on a snowy slope to reach the hot spring where the monkeys hang out but it was worth it! The spring was surrounded by bearded westerners with huge cameras - felt like we're in anthropology central! :D Anyway, there were tons of monkeys of various ages lounging in the spring, running around and clowning around on the ropes that are hung there for that purpose - especially the small ones are really cute. It was February, the right season to be there but it was really cold and snowy (also it's fairly dangerous to walk there if you don't have the right shoes, so make sure you do!), so keep moving to keep warm. It was the highlight of the area.

Visited February 2012
Thank UK_Traveller3000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Takasaki, Japan
Level Contributor
17 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“A must on your itinerary!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 23, 2012

We loved this place, went on first week of April, although not covered in Snow, it was still beautiful! It's amazing how close you can get,
look out for the monkeys playing in the bucket swinging from the bridge as well!
would like to go again in deep winter!
Please check out my video for an alternative view of them!


Visited April 2012
Thank Inanut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
67 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
“Once in a Lifetime Experience!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 1, 2012

I will never forget our trip to Jigokudani! It is a bit of a trip from Nagano, but well worth the effort. We drove to this park, (after enjoying a fantastic night of sushi and onsening in Shibu onsen the night before), and then hiked about 20 minutes into the park ( very easy path, 95% flat.) It is accessible by public transport though- We met some American kids who had taken the bus there. It was gorgeous- the forest covered in snow! When we finally arrived into the area where the monkey's are, we paid, and walked around the hut where they take your money, and the area opened up into a river valley. Immediately you could see the monkeys. We spent maybe an hour and a half here, and we loved it! Just watching the monkeys was amazing. When we finally came across the hot spring that the monkeys often go in, (there is only one, which surprised me) we were dazzled! At one point a monkey walked along the edge of the onsen and brushed past me. Mostly they were totally not bothered by our presence. One of the male monkeys did hit my husband on the chest- (it was unwarranted- I think the monkey was just briefly annoyed, and we were extremely close.) My husband was quite amused by it all! We got some fabulous photos. Watching the baby monkeys mess around was really cool as well! It was amazing that these monkeys had an entire forest to play in, but they all decided to stick around this area. There were no walls or fences. There are steps involved in getting to the park (about 20 or so). It is not wheel-chair accessible. I would recommend a visit to Shibu onsen during your visit, as it is a tiny but sweet little village with some gorgeous ryokan to stay in, and about 10 onsen to go in. (you get a key for the various onsen when you book into your Ryokan, or you pay 500 yen for the key if you are not staying overnight.) This experience would be fabulous for all ages. There is not much food nearby, so be aware. Either eat before, or bring your own lunch from a convini.

Visited January 2012
3 Thank AmericanLadyInUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vienna, Virginia
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Snow Monkey Park”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 19, 2012

The monkeys are literally everywhere, very friendly and aren't afraid to go through your legs. The water is always steaming and the surrounding forest is beautiful

Visited August 2011
1 Thank ChiaraEnriquez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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