Archives for posts with tag: snow monkey

Part of the major attraction to Yudanaka is the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park. Getting there is interesting as it’s on the outskirts of town and a taxi will get you as far as here…

… or about 10 to 15 minutes walk from the above, depending on your ability to ascend ice. Fair warning: going to Yudanaka just after the New Year is likely to welcome you with surfaces more ice than man. A decent pair of snow boots isn’t essential but would be very useful… Read the rest of this entry »

In three days, I spent more time in a bath that I have for the two decades preceding them…

Water forms a major part of Japanese culture – it’s a medium which can connect you with other worlds. Westerners saw Ringu and thought “Yeek! Scary lady comes forth from water which we did not expect!”, but for the Japanese, it’s an intrinsic part of their folklore that goes without saying. Yudanaka is a town famous for its onsens (bath houses), and… Have you seen Spirited Away? That’s about the closest cultural touchstone I can think of to describe the town. It usually doesn’t get a lot of discussion as it doesn’t look like either Blade Runner or The Seven Samurai, but it’s probably one of the most quintessentially Japanese places you can visit, as this is where the Japanese come to relax.

Or at least the Japanese that can afford to visit come to relax, possibly. Japan is a pretty expensive place to be, so gauging who does what when and where can be tricky (and I tend to be about as sensitive as a brick to the face, so let’s move on…) Read the rest of this entry »