Snow monkeys, food and onsen in Nagano – Day 152

Twice a year the International department at Hitotsubashi university organises a trip to somewhere in Japan. This semester I was lucky enough to get a place for the trip to Obuse, Nagano. The trip was for two days, and one night, where we got to see and do some amazing things.

View from the coach on the way to Nagano

View from the coach on the way to Nagano

We left university on Thursday morning and hopped on the coach for Nagano. By train it takes less than 2 hrs but we went by coach since there were 40 of us on this trip.

Me and Corey

Me and Corey

Overall it took us just over 3 hrs to get there. When we arrived in Obuse there was a guide ready to show us around. I was not expecting it to be so cold!! It was absolutely freezing and it was snowing a bit.

With our hand warmers!

With our hand warmers!

Our guide for the day

Our guide for the day

Not long afterwards we had lunch at this old-style Japanese restaurant. I’m really sorry but this post is going to be full of food pictures as I had some of the most delicious food on this trip!!

Lunchtime!

Lunchtime!

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After lunch we split into groups and half of us did some calligraphy while the other half went shopping/went on a tour of the town. We then swapped round later.

Before we started the calligraphy session

Before we started the calligraphy session

Ta-dah! Finished!

Ta-dah! Finished!

We went to see lots of different buildings – I didn’t really understand most of what the guide was saying but it was still interesting!

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I was really looking forward to heading to our Ryokan (Japanese style hotel) after being outside in the cold because I really wanted to go in the onsen (hot spring)!!

Our room!

Our room!

This ryokan was really traditional – no beds, only futons to sleep on, etc. Downstairs they had several types of onsen, and you could go anytime! We decided to go once before dinner since we had time.

Dinner!

Dinner!

Look at that meat!!

Look at that meat!!

Dinner was also divine. Everything was presented beautifully and I actually felt a bit nervous while I was eating as I’m usually quite clumsy, and I was scared I was going to break something or make a loud noise.

Karaoke party!!

Karaoke party!!

From 8pm onwards we had a Ni Ji Kai ( After party) in the same room we had dinner, where we drank and sang karaoke. It was soooo much fun!

In our Yukata after onsen!

In our Yukata after onsen!

To make the most of our time, we headed to the onsen again after all that drinking and karaoke! It was really relaxing and I was told its good to have a hot bath after drinking as you sweat out the alcohol. Nevertheless I slept well that evening anyway!

View from our window the next morning!

View from our window the next morning!

The next morning, me and the girls in my room went to the onsen AGAIN for the THIRD time at 6am since breakfast was at 7:20am. That’s dedication, right?

Just before breakfast - taking a walk

Just before breakfast – taking a walk

Breakfast was also delicious- presented in the usual Japanese way.

Breakfast!

Breakfast!

After eating we headed to the Snow monkey park! This was absolutely incredible. We had to walk for at least 30mins after getting off the coach before we saw any monkeys!

Trekking towards the monkey park

Trekking towards the monkey park

The staff told us not to stare at the monkeys directly in the eye as it can cause them to attack you…

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Anyway! The snow monkeys are really cute- they’re not scared of humans at all and they were everywhere! Apparently, like humans, they enter the outdoor hot springs in the monkey park when they’re cold to warm themselves up.

Chilling in the hot spring!

Chilling in the hot spring!

DSCF1345The scenery there was breathtaking- you’re literally submerged in the woods with all this fresh snow and I felt like I was in another world altogether.

Amazing view!

Amazing view!

The next stop after the park was buying souvenirs and lunch. Obuse is famous for chestnuts so I was really excited when I saw chestnut rice as part of our meal!

LUNCHTIME!!

LUNCHTIME!!

We then walked around a bit, did some shopping and then headed back home!!

Fancy jam

Fancy jam

It was an incredible trip that I’ll never forget. If you get the chance, you should go to Nagano and see the snow monkeys! Actually, after this trip we had a Farewell party at the dorm organised by ISDAK, which was the perfect way to end this two day trip!

Thanks for reading! I’ve created a photo gallery below with more photos of the monkeys!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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This entry was published on February 7, 2014 at 2:33 pm. It’s filed under Japan and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

6 thoughts on “Snow monkeys, food and onsen in Nagano – Day 152

  1. This was very cool. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I’m going here in March! Awesome pictures.

  3. Absolutely wonderful. You make we want to get up early in the morning and drive to Nagano! I was there in my exchange student days too, but it was a day trip and we didn’t see or experience as much as you. You got great photos. I LOVE onsen, not sure I’d get in with a snow monkey though 🙂

  4. Oh, you are so lucky that you got to see the snow monkeys! That is totally on my bucket list of things to do. And that area looks so beautiful and serene with all that snow.

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