Hakuba Valley Snow Monkeys Excursion
Drawn to Hakuba by an average of 12 metres of snow each winter, skiers and snowboarders alike can be forgiven for having sore legs after days of lapping the trees in fresh snow. With this in mind, Hakuba is also a great destination for what you can do and see away from the resorts. One of the most famous and popular excursions is a visit to the Snow Monkey Park in Nagano.
A two hour journey by coach, Snow Monkey Park isn’t just around the corner but it is easily accessible. You can book onto a group tour, take a direct coach, or plan your own journey with a two bus connection for your cheapest option. In the video below I discus the options available to you and take a walk around the Snow Monkey Park.
When arriving at Snow Monkey Park you will find that you have a 1.6km walk from to the hot springs and the entrance to the park. This path is mostly flat, however in the winter can be quite slippery so be sure to wear appropriate footwear. If you do not have the correct footwear you can rent walking boots or rubber grips to put around your shoes at the bottom of the walk for a modest fee. The path winds through a woodland and then opens up to a nice view of the valley.
Upon entrance to the park be aware you will be asked to put away any selfie sticks or tripods and that carrying food even in your backpack will be advised against. Similarly the Park owners ask that you do not use plastic bags even within your backpacks as the monkeys have been known to cause some mischief and raid bags. That being said on my visit the monkeys were more concerned with themselves then the visitors and this probably goes to show they have become acclimatised to tourists. Entrance fees to the park are shown to the left and are correct as of winter 2019.
Once inside the park you will quickly see the monkeys roaming freely and although this is an animal excursion it is great to see that there are no cages or restrictions. You are the guest in the monkeys habitat which is how it should be.
As you wander around the park there are a number of natural hot springs and the highlight of this trip is seeing the monkeys use the springs to bathe. They will gather around the pools grooming and then take a dip in the water. Although it can become crowded around the pools with everyone trying to get that perfect picture, there are areas of the park which are a bit quieter than others. With a little bit of patience and ingenuity you can get to a good spot. Away from the pools there is plenty of opportunity to see the monkeys roaming and playing in the snow and this is just as entertaining.
If you have any questions regarding a trip to the snow monkeys be sure to get in contact via our social links and we’ll be happy to help. I would highly recommend a visit to Snow Monkey Park, and if you don’t want to miss a day on snow this is the perfect day activity to be followed up by night skiing in Hakuba.