Capture Japan: Snow Monkey Park

Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park, Yamanouchi

If you’re ever in Nagano, I would recommend visiting the Snow Monkey Park in Yamanouchi! It’s hidden away up in the beautiful mountains in Nagano prefecture. It’s about an hour from Nagano Station to Yudanaka Station by train. Yudanaka is known for it’s onsen or hot springs, so there are many cute Japanese inns scattered around the area. From Yudanaka Station, there is bus that will take you up to the Snow Monkey Park (about 15 minute ride). After that it’s about a 15-20 minute hike up the mountain the find the elusive hot springs full of adorable snow monkeys! Unfortunately, we weren’t able to hike up all the way up to the hot springs, but I was able to find one little monkey hanging around the base. Very adorable! …but be careful as these cute monkeys are quite strong and can be a little vicious if provoked. It was still definitely a great trip out there!

 

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Capture Japan: Lake Ashi

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Torii Gates at Lake Ashi, Hakone

I recently visited Hakone over Obon break with my friend who I hadn’t seen in over a year. Hakone is generally known as a resort area and it’s the perfect summer getaway, especially since it’s located in the mountains making the area much cooler and bearable than Tokyo. My friend and I ended up staying overnight at a cute ryokan or traditional Japanese inn we found last minute. Next to our ryokan there was an onsen theme park with wine onsen, green tea onsen, sake onsen, coffee onsen, etc. My favorite was the sake onsen. I honestly thought going to the onsen in the summer was the worst idea ever but the cool Hakone weather made me change my mind, since the hot spring water felt so amazing in comparison. We spent a few hours at the park before lounging around at the inn watching the Olympics. Next time hopefully I can stay for a few extra nights, haha!