Few days ago I decided to visit the Jigokudani Yaen Koen also known as Snow Monkey Park.
Since I’m in Shiga Kogen, it’s just a 30 min. bus ride to the park.
I heard about Snow Monkeys a lot before, but this visit surprised me.
Getting off the bus, you are not delivered straight to the monkey’s onsen… you have to walk first.
It’s about 30 min walking through the Valley of Yokoyu-River, enjoying the beauty of the nature and trying to meet inhabitants such as rabbits, foxes and, of course, monkeys.
After this walk through the valley, you finally can meet the monkeys. I heard that sometimes they just don’t appear… but the day I was there, lots of monkeys were bathing in the big private hot spring. Private to the monkeys, because it is said that those monkeys start to enter in outdoor onsens so local people just decided to build onsens especially for the monkeys. If you are lucky, you may be able to watch the monkeys at feeding time!
I couldn’t imagine how close they are all the time… The monkeys have gotten used to humans and are around us everywhere.
After my visit to the park, my Japanese friend told me next time I should try a traditional Japanese sweet called chimaki, made of rice, wrapped in bamboo leaves and steamed. She said you can eat it in the ryokan, the traditional Japanese-style hotel, even if you are just visiting the park and that chimaki is the best of the neighborhood! Can’t wait for my next visit!!! Until them, I can check the monkeys everyday at Jigokudani's livecam! There are some pictures available at the botton of the page, on the left, which I think this one is the best picture of all... but this one here is very funny!
There's a guy who lives near the park who writes in a personal blog with lots of interesting information about the park and the region. His name is Zeno and his blog is very helpful!
Check out some pictures taken at the park: