Jigokudani Yamanouchi-machi Shimotakai-gun, Nagano, Japan
www.jigokudani-yaenkoen.co.jp - 0269-33-4379
Jigokudani Yaen-Koen Nagano Reviews
Wild Monkey Park Feb 21, 2009
Jigokudani is located in a mountainous area near central Japan in Nagano prefecture. It is in the valley of the Yokoyu River, it has an elevation of 850 meters, it is cover with snows for one third of the year.
People named the area Jigokudani which means "Hells Valley" because of the steep cliffs and hot water, bursting from the eath's surface, although the place is cover with snow... well for the monkeys that lives there, it was like heaven, it is cold, with vast foods and a nice hot spa for their bath.
Nagano is a mountanious area and when my wife bought the tour ticket, we were briefed on what we need to wear, expectations and what we need to get ready for the travel. The only thing that I didn't expect was the 20 minutes hike on the side of the mountain and with the snow melting at the time of the year. Yes, it was very slippery, and with 2 kids, my wife and I were just terrified that one of the kid will slip and fell on the side of the cliff. Anyway, when we get to the place where the monkeys take "onsen"... bathing in a hot spa... the only thing I heard from the tourist was....ahhh, oooh, so cute...well, they are cute, but they are wild monkeys, yes they have some smell, despite leaving in a cold weather and constantly taking a bath....so we started walking towards the spa area of the monkeys, and at that time, you have to watch where you step... the place is like a land mine with all the poop around, and what makes things worst, some of them are covered with snow (check one of the picture). One thing that I enjoyed during this visit is actually watching the monkeys interact with each other. Just like in a small community; they actually have some position, like the leader of the group or something, and they all compete with position; you see monkeys fighting, playing, and adults taking care of the kids, old monkeys watching over them, and leader, walking like he own the place... well he does... we actually encountered the "Boss" and he was really confident, even he was being approached by people...actually, seems like he welcomed us to his kingdom... he was on top of the roof of the entrance and just watching all of us passed by him.
Then, we just spent the afternoon, watching the monkeys carry on with their daily lives... I can say that if you love to watch Animal Planet and doesn't mind the 20 minutes inclined hike(my whole legs and butt was sore the next day), this site is for you.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!