Sunday, October 16, 2011


The second 'long distance' trip I took this summer was to Yudnaka and Matsumoto.  To get here I took the train JR Chuo line from Nagoya to Nagano, transfering to a non-JR rail to get to Yudanaka and back to Nagano before traveling to Matsumoto and back to Nagoya using JR.  You can also get to Nagano using the bullet train from Tokyo.
The Nagano Electric Railway is under Nagano station (JR is above  ground), the train on the left travels to Yudanaka, which is famous for Japanese snow monkeys hanging out in the mountain's and taking baths.
Once you get off the train in Yudanaka, this is the arch way that greats you to Yudanaka Onsen, but don't worry if you can't read it.  The volunteers from the English conversation class of Yamanouchi Town has made information flyers for reference on how to get to everything.  I got the impression that one of the volunteers was actually the mayor of Yamanouchi.
In addition to the English material you can get at the station, there is also signs through out Yudanaka that help you get around.
 This is the lantern over the river near Shibu Onsen.
This area of Japan is full of natural hot springs, you can see steam and hot water naturally rising to the surface all over Shibu Onsen.
A friend biked up from Utsunomiya, about a 7 hour trip.
The monkey park is just outside of town, you can walk or take a taxi there from Yudanaka station.  Walking takes about 1.5 hours, but it's a nice mountain trail.  
When you see photos of the monkey park, you get the impression that it is really large.  But in fact, it's really small, I was expecting a long hike to go from the ticket booth to the monkey hot spring area.  But it was only about 10 minutes.
 The groups of Japanese monkeys have a boss and each monkey respects each other and the boss.
Sometimes the monkeys are bad, they do things like not sharing food.  When this happens, the monkey has to go be away from the group and as a result becomes sad.
Don't mess with the monkeys.
 The bath is more full in the winter, it's still a little warm outside. The water is just over 100F.
Mostly, the monkeys just seem to eat and check each other for bugs and stuff in the fur.  At night, the monkeys return to the forest to sleep.
Bottom line, sign inside the Shimaya Hotel (you can ask the Yudanaka station hotel information desk to book a room for you):

1 comment:

Erin said...

Cute monkeys! Also I like your sneakers.