Another exceptional breakfast this morning at Shinazawa.
It was bucketing down snow this morning. We could barely see the mountains. We decided that instead of skiing today we would finally go and see the famous snow monkeys. Yes, seven trips to Japan and we have yet to see the bathing monkeys. Well, today, we shall change that.
To get to the monkeys, first we have to catch the bus out of Nozawa and back to Iiyama. At Iiyama, we got on the Shinkansen to Nagano (only 1 stop). At Nagano, we picked up a bento lunch and got on the Snow Monkey express. This was a 50 minute trip and took us through scenic mountain views to Yudanaka.
The snow monkey express.
From Yudanaka, it’s a 10 minute local bus ride to the monkey park. At the base of the monkey park we bought spikes for our shoes to help us walk up the snowy mountain trail. It’s about a 25 minute walk to see the monkeys in the onsen. A very lovely, if a little cold, walk.
And just when you think “is this really worth it?” You suddenly see a whole lot of monkeys. Baby monkeys, big monkeys, monkeys fighting, monkeys digging in the snow, monkeys climbing, and best of all monkeys hanging out in the hot springs. They were very, very cute.
So. Much. Cuteness.
We hung around there for a while, marvelling at the monkeys, before we decided it was time to head back down the mountain. And then, Blainie dropped her inner glove lining in some murky brown water, possibly tainted by monkeys. Damn.
(Picture taken before the glove incident)
So back down the mountain we went. We met a little friend along the way.
Then we basically repeated our journey in reverse, stopping for a brief coffee at Nagano Train station whilst we waited for the Shinkansen.
We made it back to Shinazawa just in time for our 6:30pm dinner reservation. Dinner here, like the breakfasts, is always exceptional.
After dinner we went to have an Onsen at nearby Shinden No Yu, one of the many free Onsen in town.