Snow Monkey? I’ve never heard of it
Wild Snow Monkey Park is located in Nagano, Japan. According to the official website, Snow Monkeys are the only monkeys that enjoy the hot spring. Needless to say, seeing those Monkeys is one of the Best Things to do in Japan! Puppies and Kitties are adorable but! When you spend 3~4 hours from Tokyo to see those Japanese monkeys, I believe your face is gonna be like ‘Smiling Face with Hearts’ emoji. 🥰 Yes, I am the one who wanted to relieve my stress and wanted my face to be like the emoji I mentioned above.(Uh-huh) That’s why we started this trip…
What you Have To Do before seeing a Snow Monkey
We got on the bus and departed from Shinjuku Station after 7 AM(Better go early because it closes at 4 or 5 PM) My home is about an hour away from Shinjuku Station by metro. In order to catch the bus, we have to leave at 6 AM. Don’t know if it’s because I’m a night owl, or because I was too excited to see those monkeys, I stayed up all night before the departure. I believe you guys have this idea like me: ‘Well, let’s just sleep on the bus!’ And as expected, I had slept until we arrived at the first destination: All-you-can-eat Shabu-shabu(Come on, this is the lunch, not the destination!).
We came to a restaurant and souvenir shop in a desolate area in Shinshu called VIANDE Shinshu Nakano Store. The restaurant is big enough for group travel. We had the Shabu-shabu on the second floor, you can have the meat as much as you want. I remember they also sell the horse meat, but I didn’t have it, and I don’t know if I dare to have it or not.(Horse meat, I’ll see you next time.)
There is an exchange coupon on the table. You can take a bag full of various apples (and pears) home. After the meal, you can go to the first floor to see some specialties of Shinshu.
The picture in the middle, I took it probably because the toast-shaped one was so cute. There is also fruit flavor of Pocky and KITKAT, how rare! By the way, the one in the left photo is a gift(specialty of Shinshu) from the travel agency. Good to eat as a snack when you feel hungry. 🤤
It was silly of me to think that Shinshu is the name of a certain area in or near Nagano Prefecture. I realized that Shinshu is another name of Nagano Prefecture. It’s related to history, you can search if you’re interested. It is said that the local residents adore this name.
It is very interesting that a region has a second name with its distinctive feature. For example, Taiwan also used to be called Formosa which means Beautiful (Island). It is such a glorious thing to be able to say “Taiwan – The Beautiful Island” when introducing Taiwan to foreigners, as a Taiwanese or a person who loves Taiwan, isn’t it?
Hiking is not tired at all
Gradually, I saw the beautiful nature of Japan. We were in the Joshin’etsukogen National Park, at the entrance of the hiking trail of Wild Snow Monkey Park. From here we are going to hike about 40 minutes. Wanna give up now? (Yes, please.)
“That’s all the passion you have for us?(Said the doe-eyed monkeys.)”
“Alright alright. Let’s go…I’m going…Let’s go…I said I’m going!!!”
Before we start hiking, there is a little souvenir shop. Better to see the monkeys first, come look around the store on your way back. The purchase rate will greatly increase…Just kidding 🤭 Wow~ So Beautiful~ Picture Time!(Those are photos without filters and editing.)
It was January, plus the mountain area is colder, so when you go in winter, be sure to wear enough clothes to keep warm. The higher we hike, the taller the trees are. Then we saw the leafless trees, the snow that hasn’t completely melted. And some Japanese traditional houses.
Fresh Air and Beautiful Nature. Hiking is Not Tired at all.
There is a strange smell of hot spring around here. But it’s also a good place for shooting. So I took the pictures while enjoying(?) the smell.
What a powerful natural fountain with the steam!
Finally arrived ! ! ! ! ! (I’m gonna cry because I’m so happy…) Having a meal before seeing the monkeys is right. First, you have to eat something to gain energy to hike. Second, food is not allowed in the park, otherwise the monkeys will harass you.
“Ohh! I want to be harassed by the adorable monkeys!!”(What a weirdo. When the monkeys grab your food aggressively, you will probably never say that word again…)
Adult 800 Yen | Child(Age 6-17) 400 Yen
Adult 680 Yen | Child(Age 6-17) 340 Yen(Group of 20 or more)
“Teacher, can we go to Japan as a Field Trip?”
“Student, you have the RIGHT to FANTASY as you want.”
In addition, there is an Annual Pass you can choose. It seems to be a good relaxing place for the old married couple who live nearby. And NOW, it’s time to see those monkeys! Are you guys ready?
They are pros of being cute
The tourists are gazing at the monkey with Daddy’s Smile. Just like seeing their own children.
Even though it’s just the back of the monkeys, Still So ADORABLE ! ! !
“Mommy, who are they? Why do they keep looking at me?”
What a foodie, there is a heart on his mouth…❤
Do you think every monkey is cute? Actually each one has its own personality, and their behavior will depend on the role they play in the group. Pretty similar to the human being. I’ve seen two monkeys which look like the big boss of a gangster, they were intimidating each other. Other monkeys around the scene, either watched the show, or wanted to stop the fight but they were not brave enough.
There is also a very heart-warming scene:
Here are the select photographs and Behind the Scene.(All the photos here haven’t been edited.)
“Hey bro, it’s your chance! Take the photo as much as you want, you will never be disappointed cuz I’ve been modeling a lot!(I told you they are pros😌)
“Honey, how long haven’t you taken the shower?”
“Baby, don’t ask too much, I love you!”
(They are all my imaginary sitcom, so please don’t be serious about it.😝)
What they didn’t enjoy, we are going to enjoy.
Did you guys notice?(Rub your eyes and see again.) That’s right, in this post, there is No Monkey Enjoying the Hot Spring. Because it’s not cold enough, they don’t need the hot spring. (Guys…I was shivering…)
“What ! ! ! ! !”(Do you feel the disappointment of being cheated? This is Life. The Greater the Expectation, The Greater the Disappointment. No Expectation, No Disappointment.)
However, for the first time to be in Shinshu and saw the Snow Monkeys which are overly cute fooling around near the hot spring, I am satisfied.
Watching Snow Monkeys that enjoy the Hot Spring while enduring the cold weather. Humans feel jealous and would like to enjoy the Hot Spring as well. Therefore we’re gonna go to the hot spring directly after seeing those cute monkeys. This sounds like a Perfect Plan to the Travel Agency. But…The Best Laid Plans. Well…since those snow monkeys didn’t enjoy the Hot Spring, then let’s enjoy it by ourselves! (We are going to the Onsen Kaikan.)
Finish.(God it’s too quick ! ! !) Japanese Open-Air Hot Spring is highly recommended! It’s really cold outside and you have to be naked before and after going into the hot spring though. The Colder, the Better. It’s as great as staying in my cozy comforter with the AC on. After enjoying the hot spring, it’s SNACK TIME!
Ice Cream Vending Machine(Who is a big fan of mint ice cream too?🙋♀️).
On the way back to Tokyo, I bought some local specialties of Shinshu called いろは堂のおやき(IROHADO NO OYAKI) in the service area. いろは堂(IROHADO) is the name of the store, おやき(OYAKI) is the name of the food. Similar to BAOZI, but OYAKI has a slightly crispier crust. It has various seasonal vegetables inside. I bought [NEGIMISO(Green Onion & Miso)] and MAITAKE(Grifola frondosa / Dancing Mushroom in Japanese). Both of them are delicious, I also like that there is an illustration on the package. And the combination of Shin-chan and Kitty looks cute so I took a picture.
How can I get to Wild Snow Monkey Park?
Thanks to the local Japanese travel agency HIS, My Japanese friends and I could successfully end this one-day trip to Shinshu. The cost is around 10,000 yen per person. I know it doesn’t sound cheap, but if you compare it with the whole schedule, then it’s quite a good price. There is nothing I want to complain about, it’s all fine overall. The destination of this trip does not have good transport like a big city. Spending Wisely and Traveling Nicely is the most important thing. Hope you guys can make Eye Contact with the Snow Monkey one day! 😉