Jigokudani Yaenkoen

By Cubie - March 06, 2011

More than a year ago, on flight bounded for Cairns International Airport, there was a magazine article reporting about Jigokudani Yaenkoen. Since then, this place and the snow monkeys is set in the itinerary for next Japan trip.

Ichiro-san dropped us off here, we even had a group photo taken prior hiking up.. haha
Jigokudani known as Hell Valley because of the view - steep valley, with hot water and vapour giving the impression of so. There were a few version of stories as to how it started. Anyway, in summary, it was said that once a monkey accidentally fall into a hot spring and enjoyed itself so much, that he kept on going back. The other monkeys then followed suit and as time passed, they get their own onsen. :P

As you can see, it takes about 25 mins going up... to which I reckon takes longer due to the snowy condition. The view along the way was white serene. :)

Even the longkang view looks beautiful. :P

After the group photo at the entrance, the Aussie girl had hiked and gone from our view in no time. I think its was due to her long legs and I can't catch up.. little legs ok. The photographer was way gone even before the group photo. Once we reached, he got off the car and up he went straightaway. The lecturer was walking behind us, Moo Moo Gal said it felt like he was keeping an eye on us, in case of anything happened.

After walking for a bit... we saw this...

Back to the magazine article... it mentioned about tourist sharing a same hot spring bath session with the monkeys. Unfortunately, I forgot about the name of the ryokan but after much googling, I did find it - Korakukan. At one point, it was between booking Shimaya Ryokan or Korakukan. Shimaya Ryokan being very highly recommended in that website, and a few others, also near to the train station. Korakukan being the ryokan where it was possible to enjoy hot spring bath with the snow monkeys.

I was glad we stayed in Shimaya Ryokan, it was a really comfortable ryokan, the owners were hospitable. Furthermore, with the delayed train, should we booked Korakukan, I think we would have to overnight in the train station.

Here, let me present Korakukan. In my humble opinion, the view of Korakukan in the cold January in Japan, is totally beautiful. Definitely make me tempted of staying here if there is another future trip here. If that happens, plans must be made that the big luggage is stored somewhere and only carry a little backpack. I think if I ever attempt to carry my fatty backpack and walk all the way up, I suspect I would fall off the cliff.

As of this point, something brushed passed my leg and I uttered a "sorry" thinking I accidentally knocked into a little doggie. It was not a little doggie... it was this little fella here...

Anyway, thereafter, we got our entrance ticket - 500 yen

And off we went, braving the cold to see the monkeys :)

Side note: I can't seem to load Vista Service Pack 2 :( *ganbaro*

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