Despite the name, Japanese Macaques or snow monkeys can be found in Yudanaka’s hot springs. With a local guide by your side, take a trip to Jigokudani Yaen Koen in the Jigokudani National Park. Jigokudani literally means ‘hell’s valley’ due to the bubbling crevices. It is in its steaming natural hot springs that you can see families of snow monkeys who gather to soak in the warm waters, especially in snowy seasons. Get up close and personal with these human-like, red faced mammals as they relax and socialise all together.
Stop in at the nearby town of Obuse known for its sweet chestnuts, served with steamed rice or in ice cream. The town was also home to Katsushika Hokusai, Japan’s most renowned Edo-period painter. There’s a museum dedicated to his work including his most famous, Under the Wave off Kanagawa. You can then peruse some of Obuse’s 100 gardens, all open to the public. No trip is complete without a trip to the Masuichi brewery where you can sample the finest local sake.
Additional notes about the tour
This experience includes a private car to and from your hotel with entrance fees and the sake tasting included. The national park can get chilly, so warm winter coats and comfortable footwear are imperative all year around.