The best way to go see the Snow Monkey

Between Yudanaka and Jigokudani Monkey Park

The best recommendation: Catching a bus to the park then walk back to Yudanaka. 3-4 Hours.

So once you’ve arrived at Yudanaka Station 湯田中駅 by Nagaden 長電,

There are several ways to get to Jigokudani Monkey Park.

  1. Taxi
  2. Bus
  3. On Foot

1, By Taxi

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This is ideal if you are in a big group of friends or family.

The Fare: About ¥1600 (As the 2nd photo above shows)

The Duration: Around 10 min to the car park at Jigokudani Monkey Park.

2, By Bus

Once you arrive at the station, turn right once through the exit. Then you will find Nagaden Bus 長電バス counter and their timetables.

The Link to PDF File of Bus Timetable to Jigokudani Monkey Park 地獄谷野猿公苑

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As shown on the photo above, those 4 lines in the yellow circle actually stops by at the monkey park, by way of Kanbayashi Onsen 上林温泉.

So there are in fact quite a few departing during the day.

The Fare: ¥310

The Duration: 15 min

3, On Foot

This is personal favourite. I walk everywhere. But at the same time it’s a bit far for a family with kids or in a big group. You also need a decent pair of walking shoes.

Note: During winter months, the road to Jigokudani Carpark 地獄谷駐車場 is closed due to the icy surface condition. You need to walk from Kanbayashi Onsen 上林温泉 way.

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This is a good day half day trip. It will take 1-1.5 hour to get to the park having a look around in Shibu Onsen.

Along the way you will see these signs often.

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So as long as you keep seeing this signs you are ok.

Several things to remember.

  • From Yudanaka to The Park it’s mainly uphill. From The Park back to Yudanaka, mainly downhill.
  • Don’t go through the closed road behind Shibu Onsen. Go round to Kanbayashi Onsen to get to the park. Don’t believe everything Google Map tells you.
  • It’s still a bit of way to monkeys once you get to the park entrance.
  • Carry water with you.

So now you have some information to help you to decide how you want to get to see Snow Monkeys.

I think it’s best to go see the Monkeys, then walk back wandering through the maze of small streets in Shibu.

I’ll see you next time, hope you have a good day of walking so the onset afterwards will feel twice better!

-Today’s Phrase-

Arukunoga Suki Desu あるくのがすきです = I like walking

Walking is very good for your health!

Visiting Snow Monkey Park

Some things you should know when visiting in winter

It should be all sweet to visit here between spring and autumn, nothing hard about it.

But in winter months, between late November through to early spring of April, there should be certain things you want to be aware of before visiting this “Jigokudani Monkey Park”.

There are detailed instructions found on their website but I just want to give you a heads up here focusing on facts that you may not even realise.

First of all this is the link to their website: Jigokudani Monkey Park

So, here’s the truth.

1, Monkeys DO NOT necessarily stay in the hot water

This is very reasonable of them. If it’s not too cold, they can get away without bathing in hot water. You may see them out of the water when you have visited, but they have their own mind and can not blame them staying out, because it’s not cold! They are just like us!

See, none of them are in the water when I visited. It was a warm day to be honest.

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2, The path from the entrance to where monkeys are, quite often muddy and icy

You have to realise that your favourite expensive fashionable shoes may get muddy and wet.

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It was not too bad on the day I visited but you can easily see it can be nasty once it’s all snowed in.

For those who don’t wish to have your shoes getting dirty or not warm enough, I saw the shop at the entrance doing the rentals for warm boots as well as crampons/chains to save you from slipping over on ice.

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There is also another shop in front of Yudanaka Station doing these rentals boots and crampons so it may be a good idea to get yourself ready before heading over to the park.

Hopefully this info will set some propel with the right expectations so you won’t get too disappointed when you come across a situation like these.

Well then, have a good trip and enjoy your time at the park!

-Today’s Phrase-

Kutsu Ga Dorodoro Desu くつがドロドロです = The shoes got so muddy…

Oh no that sucks that you got muddy shoes…

Jigokudani Snow Monkeys

The biggest attraction in Yudanaka area

Snow Monkeys!

It is amazing to see a lot of people from around the world to go see these monkeys.

They are;

  • Half wild
  • Their habitat is the northern most in the northern hemisphere
  • These monkeys are endemic to Japan
  • Often you see them chilling in hot water during winter months
  • And, of course they are cute, at least they look cute

You can see them at the Snow Monkey Park, 10min bus ride from Yudanaka Station, then about half an hour gentle walk through the  nearby forest.

Apparently they featured on LIFE magazine in the 70’s too.

Yes they are definitely as popular as Hello Kitty, Ramen or Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku.

But since they are not pets, there are certain things you are asked to do when visiting the monkey park.

  • Do not to try to touch them
  • Keep some distance to them
  • Do not show food or feed them
  • Do not use special equipments when taking photos of them

Here’s the link to their Offical Guide with more details of Dos and Don’ts.

Well enjoy your time at Jigokudani!

-Today’s Phrase-

Osaru san wa kawaii desune おさるさんはかわいいですね = Monkeys are cute, aren’t they?

Listen to this and practice. You’ll be a hero!