17 April 2014

Day 6: Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park

Day 5: Kaiseki Dinner at Kokuya Ryokan

# Cooked seaweed and vegetables
# Slice of yam with mushrooms
# Broiled salmon
# Steamed vegetable salad with onion dressing
# Cooked bottle gourd with chicken starchy sauce
# Half boiled egg - boiled it in our hot spring
# Boiled local tofu
# Seaweed with wasabi
# Steamed rice
# Miso soup
# vegetable pickles
# Fresh juice
# Seasonal fruits

We start our day with yummy breakfast at Kokuya.  Japanese style breakfast with grilled salmon and half boiled egg that the yolk ooozed out just like what I wanted and few other light condiments on the table.

Today, we went to visit the famous Monkey Park not so far from where we stay about 10 minutes by car.  There are two options to go there, by bus or by taxi.  We chose the short way where we catch taxi and take awalk about 15 - 20 minutes through the forest to the Monkey bathing place.  While with the bus you need to walk another 30 minutes from bus stop to arrive in the park. 

When we were walking in this quite forest heading to the Monkey spa place, we could hear some scratching noises behind the bush.  And shockingly, we saw the first snow monkey just munching some leaves there.  He stared at us abit but then looked away and ignored us like we were noone.  They are not scare of human but please do not feed or touch them as they are still wild animals.

Since then we met more and more monkey around the bush and some of them even block our way but they do nothing when we walked pass them.  But if you want to encounter them like this in their natural habit, please come early before they all gone to the hot spring bath.  Apparently, if you go from another way (walk from bus stop), you won't see any monkeys around there as that way are more busy with people.

Snow Monkey on Hot Spring Bath

We probably come in the wrong season.  Monkey Park would be the most beautiful when visited in winter.  As plenty of monkeys soak up their body in the small hot spring onsen to avoid the coldness and their head are covered with white snow and their faces are blushed from spa.  Something very unusual and really amazing to watch.

However, as we come here in early November when it is just the starting of winter season.  The weather was still pretty warm for the monkeys.  So they tend to running around or lying down on the ground, which pretty ordinary, just like human enjoying the summer heat.

Snow Monkey

To get back to our ryokan, we then used a different way.  We wanted to catch a bus this time at Kanyabashi Onsen bus stop.  We walked and walked and walked, we spotted one seems like a bus stop with noone there and on the quite road.  Our instinct told us, it wasn't the bus stop.  So we walked a little bit further, definitely got lost.  We didn't know where actually to catch the bus from, as we came with taxi earlier today and it totally from different way.

Then we saw a lady, local resident there.  We at first just asking the direction to go to Shibu Onsen, but then she was nicely offered to take us back to our ryokan.  What a lovely lady she is.  Memory that I won't forget!!!

The World of Snow Monkey

Summer season (generally between April - October) 8:30-17:00
Winter season (generally between November - March) 9:00-16:00

Entry Ticket: 500 yen

Stay tuned for the next blog still in Japan:

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