Today is my second day on holiday. This year – I am actually nursing a foot pain, hence walking for longer distance would be extremely painful. Well, at least to start and once the pain goes away, its actually quite ok. This is probably resulted from my massive preparation for this holiday in which I trek about 5-7km a day, almost 7 days a week (that is until my feet got into severe pain). Probably gotta look at another post for that. And today is only day 2! I am still in Nagano, and today I visited Snow Monkey Park and Obuse.
Snow Monkey Park
First and foremost, you can get more details on Snow Monkey park from this website – http://en.jigokudani-yaenkoen.co.jp. The attraction for Snow Monkey Park is where you are able to see the monkey in the hot spring or Onsen. It is really fascinating to see this, but unfortunately in my trip there – I was not able to experience that. The only that I was able to see was the monkey sipping some warm water from the onsen.
Here is a short video!
Assuming that you are in Nagano, the best option as a tourist is to:
- Take a Nagaden bus from Nagano Station to bus stop A of Snow Monkey Park
- Take a train from Nagano to Yudanaka Station, and take a Nagaden bus to Snow Monkey Park (both bus stop A and bus stop B).
I would also recommend that you buy a Snow Monkey Pass which cost JPY3200 from Nagano Station. The pass will need to be bought on the day of travel, and apart from this saving you money, you would also be able to travel around on Nagaden buses and train around Snow Monkey Park. I myself made a stop over at Obuse – which is an arty town between Snow Monkey Park and Nagano.
For my trip – I took a bus from Nagano Station to Snow Monkey Park, and on the way back, took a bus to Yudunaka Station, and then took a train and did a quick stop over at Obuse before I head back to Nagano. It was pretty convenient! The biggest challenge is of course to find where to buy the pass!
So the bus that I took from Nagano stops at Bus Stop A – which is one of the two stops available. Bus Stop B is nearer and to what I seen on the schedule it is more for the local buses heading towards the Onsen town (like Obuse?).
After settled down at bus stop A, can go for a toilet break in the museum. I believe that the toilet is meant for the museum visitors but it seems like everybody went inside happily! There is also a cafe called Crystal Terrace which served predominantly western food like pizza and pasta. I did not eat there as I was still quite full from the Oyaki that I tapaued from New Day at Nagano Station. New Day is a convenience store similar to Family Mart and 7-11.
After the museum, just walk up the road…. Not so steep but if you have not worked out in a while, then you might be puffing for air!
The Monkey Park is about 1.8km trek from the bus stop.
After you walked up, pass the bus stop B and car park, you will then see the entrance to the Monkey Park! Yay..
At the entrance, you may be offered to buy some crampons, I did thought of buying one as it does look very slippery to be honest. And for one were to track down on a slippery icy slope, it could be very dangerous. I decided not too after speaking to a guy who just came down.
From the picture above, it can be seen that the path going to be very tiring. The guy who came down had a trolley back and he mentioned that the steepest part of the trekking is the initial part. Which makes the shop renting out the snow boots and crampons quite smart because from the look of it, it is going to be a fair bit of hike! And not having the right equipments is not a good idea!
As you walked along the trekking, the site of the path is quite scary and steep! I walk closely to the hill rather than the side down. I do have very bad fear of heights, as such.
At various part of the trek, there are signboards showing how far you are from the place you are from the Monkey Park!
After about 1km from the base of the park(which was the steepest part), you start to see some civilisation!
I honestly don’t mind to stay in this part of the world, if you always have this view. What much do you want? Mountains, river, geothermal onsens?
After the row of houses and onsens (human-consumption), you then get to the last entrance of the park. Pretty steep hike which some crazy stairs. Not good for those who has knee issues!
From up the staircase, the view of the onsens and houses are much nicer!
Once you get there, can see a whole bunch of scenery. Awesome indeed…
Lunch – Soba – Rousan
After going jalan jalan at the park, decided to go down back and catch the next bus to Yudunaka Station. As I miss the 13:55 bus at Bus Stop B, the bus is literally in front of me, but the driver just closed the door and drove off! I had to continue to walk down to Bus Stop A and wait for the next bus which is a 15:07. With about an hour to spare, it was time to get some lunch!
The place is called Soba Rousan I think! Saw it on google map and it was about 60m from the bus stop. Definitely sounded a lot more appealing that the Crystal Terrace! Pizza in Japan? Not for the first day out!
Heading Back Via Obuse
Obuse is a town north east of Nagano. It is in between the Snow Monkey Park and Nagano. After taking the Nagaden local bus from Snow Monkey Park to Yudanaka Station – I then switched to a local train to Obuse. Here is the map from Yudanaka to Obuse.
That’s all for now.