So we didn’t just eat the entire time we were in Nozawa Onsen.
We skied and snowboarded a lot. Including doing the forest trail all the way down the mountain which we have never done before. It was spectacular.
We also had at least one Onsen a day. No photos of that sorry. That’d just be a bit weird. And wandered around the beautiful town.
One of the absolute highlights though (and a highlight of ALL our trips to Japan) was going to Jigokudani Monkey Park. Yes, the Snow Monkeys that bathe in Onsen. We have thought about visiting the monkey park every time we have been here but have never quite got around to it. We also weren’t sure of how good it would actually be. I mean, yes there are monkeys and they are in a hot bath, but really is that really worth the effort? Well I can tell you now, that the short answer is yes.
Not being ones to enjoy organised tours, we decided to head there on our. First we needed to catch the bus out of Nozawa to Iiyama. Then from Iiyama you get on the Shinkansen for one stop to Nagano.
At Nagano station we picked up a couple of Bento for our lunch and got on the Snow Monkey Express Train.
From Yudanaka station it’s a short bus trip to the entrance of the monkey park.
And then the fun begins. It’s about a 20 minute hike up a snowy mountain to where the monkeys bathe. It’s beautiful and scenic, but man, it was cold and about three quarters of the way there you can’t help but think, “Is this really worth it?”
We made it!
And then suddenly, there’s monkeys. Monkeys everywhere. Little baby ones digging in the snow. And they are so damn cute!
And then a little bit further on is the famous Onsen. Full of monkeys. Omg they were so cute.
And the surrounding scenery was spectacular. Hard to image a place like this exists. Magical.
We eventually had to drag ourselves away from the monkeys. It was pretty hard to leave, I could’ve watched them all day. On the hike back we met a few monkey friends.
I highly recommend a visit to the Monkey park if you are in the area. A definite highlight!