You might think that hot springs are reserved for humans; but if you visit the Jigokudani Park you will probably be sharing your bath with Japanese Snow Monkeys.
The Jigokudani is located in the Japanese Alps, outside of Nagano. Jigokudani (meaning “hell’s valley”) took its name from the steam and boiling water of the hot spring. Because it is located in the mountains, about 850 meters (2,800 feet) the heavy snowfalls cover the area for at least 4 months a year.
During the cold winter, the hot spring of the Jigokudani is a real Eden for the monkeys living in the valley. Hot baths are a necessity for the monkeys to keep themselves warm; but it is also interesting to see that their behavior is very similar to human.
The Jigokudani Monkey Park is open all year long, however the best season to go would be winter. When the valley is all white and monkeys are all playing around the hot spring bath.
From the JR Nagano station; take the Nagano Dentetsu Rail Line bound for Yudanaka train station. From Yudanaka train station, take a bus to Kanbayashi Onsen bus stop. Then you must walk about 30-40 minutes (2kms or 1.25 miles) to the ryokan. It gets dark quickly and there are no lights along the road leading to the ryokan, so its better to arrive early. Also, a backpack would be more convenient that a large suitcase. It is a good idea to leave most of your luggage at JR Nagano Train Station.
Korakukan Jigokudani is a rustic mountain minshuku and is the only ryokan (only 100 meters) in the Jigokudani Yaen National Park. Korakukan Jigokudani has 12 traditional Japanese-style rooms. There are indoor and outdoor hot spring baths for both women and men at Korakukan Jigokudani (and monkeys frequently visit the outdoor hot spring baths). There are also two “family baths” which can be reserved for private use. From the outdoor hot spring baths at Korakukan Jigokudani, the nearby hot spring geyser can be seen.
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It was our first trip to Japan. Working with Jeff was a pleasure. His knowledge of the country and local contacts were very helpful. Choice...
Working with Jeff at Rediscover Tours was a wonderful experience. He helped me plan a 10 day trip of a lifetime to Japan with my mother...
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Our team of Japan experts have all lived in Japan for years and know its the hidden treasures. Our team is here to answer all your questions and to build your tour just the way you want it.
Jeff was born in a south suburb of Chicago named South Holland and lived in Japan for 14 years. He now lives in Commerce Township, Michigan with his wife Yoshimi, son Shota, and daughter Mina. He enjoys playing with his kids, volunteering with his daughter’s marching band, cycling and training and teaching Aikido.
Michiyo was born in Noboribetsu, Hokkaido Prefecture though currently lives in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. Her main passions in life is traveling all around the world and enjoying their cultures.
Izumi has spent most of her life in the Kansai region, except for the 10 years that she enjoyed in the UK. Living abroad has made her appreciate her own culture and local beauty even more. She currently lives in Osaka with her family, including two cats and two dogs.
Great trips don't just happen; it takes expert knowledge and years of experience to create a truly memorable holiday. You can rely on Rediscover Tours to make your perfect Japanese experience. Our dedication to excellence makes the difference.
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