Last additions - NAGANO 長野県
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Listen to one of the song versions hereJan 09, 2017
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JR Nagano StationSep 28, 2016
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Reminder that this was the site of the 1998 Winter Olympics.Sep 28, 2016
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Inside JR Nagano Station.Sep 28, 2016
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Inside JR Nagano Station.Sep 28, 2016
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Bus stops in front of Inside JR Nagano Station.Sep 28, 2016
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Sep 28, 2016
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Shops in front of JR Nagano Station.Sep 28, 2016
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JR Nagano StationSep 28, 2016
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Sep 28, 2016
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Goodbye Yudanaka!Sep 08, 2016
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Inside the express train back to Nagano Station from Yudanaka.Sep 08, 2016
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Express train back to Nagano Station from Yudanaka.Sep 08, 2016
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Dinner at a restaurant near Yudanaka Station. Yasai teishoku or fried vegetables.Sep 08, 2016
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Dinner at a restaurant near Yudanaka Station.Sep 08, 2016
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Yorozuya's outdoor bath was great too.Sep 08, 2016
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They have separate times for men and women to bathe in these large baths.Sep 08, 2016
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Yorozuya's Momoyama-buro hot spring onsen bath. Large, but it was steamy. I was the only one there.Sep 08, 2016
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Cautions for taking a hot spring bath.Sep 08, 2016
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Hair dryers and retro-style mirrors are provided.Sep 08, 2016
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Door to the bath.Sep 08, 2016
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Yorozuya has a huge hot spring bathing facility with one large indoor bath and one outside. This place also had a classic design, taking you back in time to the 1930s.This is the men's changing room. It's huge and looks more like a temple with woodcarved transoms high above. Maybe it was a temple before. The door on the right is the entrance to the indoor bath.Sep 08, 2016
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The Koishiya staff drove me to a hot spring bath at a large inn called Yorozuya (officially spelled Yoroduya) in neighboring Yudanaka Onsen.Website: http://yudanaka-yoroduya.com/Sep 08, 2016
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Adjacent to Shibu Onsen is Yudanaka Onsen, another hot spring town that is seamless with Shibu Onsen.Sep 08, 2016
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Opposite side of my 8-mat room. Nice design of the sliding doors through which I enter the room from a small foyer. Every room has a different design.Koishiya is cheap because it doesn't have hot spring water piped in. Instead, they drove us to the nearby Yorozuya ryokan that has a hot spring bath.Sep 08, 2016
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Even the table was artistic in my room at Koishiya.Sep 08, 2016
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My room at Koishiya. Tokonoma alcoveSep 08, 2016
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Transom in my room.Sep 08, 2016
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My room at Koishiya. It also has a tokonoma (alcove) on the right, but instead of a picture scroll, it has small western paintings which didn't match the room.I can understand that any hanging scroll could be expensive or stolen. And it was a budget ryokan.Sep 08, 2016
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The sliding door entrance to my room had this decorative cloth plastered on. Very retro/unique. Love it. The door has a simple lock and key too.Sep 08, 2016
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Each room has a different artwork or design.Sep 08, 2016
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My room at Koishiya in Shibu Onsen.Sep 08, 2016
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Koishiya is a retro kind of ryokan with a lot of great artwork from the early Showa Period. A wood carving of a Hokusai-type wave next to the door of my room in Koishiya.Shibu Onsen hot spring in Nagano Prefecture.Sep 08, 2016
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Koishiya cafe and dining room for breakfast.It is also a budget ryokan. It cost me only around ¥7,600 per night including breakfast.Sep 08, 2016
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Koishiya entrance. Sep 08, 2016
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The great thing about Koishiya is that it is full of classic artwork and design from the prewar period.Although the 1st floor lobby and dining room have been renovated and modernized, the guest rooms largely retain the original design.Sep 08, 2016
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Koishiya, a budget ryokan inn where I stayed in Shibu Onsen. Koishiya opened in the 1920s-30s, but closed in 2013. A company bought the building and renovated it and reopened the inn in Aug. 2015. Website: http://yadoroku.jp/koishiya/en/Sep 08, 2016
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Border between Shibu Onsen and Yudanaka Onsen.Sep 08, 2016
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Sep 08, 2016
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Water is pretty hot.Sep 08, 2016
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Eggs soft-boiled by the hot spring water.Sep 08, 2016
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Local confection.Sep 08, 2016
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Shibu Onsen street.Sep 08, 2016
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Shibu Onsen inn that appeared in a famous anime.Sep 08, 2016
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Shibu Onsen manhole in Nagano. Snow monkey design.Sep 08, 2016
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The street bathhouses are numbered, but you don't need to dip in them in sequence. Also, you shouldn't enter more than three baths a day. The heat may be too much, and your skin oil depletes.Sep 08, 2016
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About the street bath.Sep 08, 2016
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This is Bathhouse No. 3. I didn't do the bathhouse tour though (外湯めぐり sotoyu meguri). Just one onsen bath was enough for me before my natural Sep 08, 2016
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A street bath.Sep 08, 2016
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Shibu Onsen is famous for providing guests of most of the ryokans in Shibu Onsen the chance to tour nine different bathhouses to bathe for free. You receive a key to enter each bathhouse.Here's a map of those bathhouses. The baths are all segregated (by sex, not by race/nationality). Sep 08, 2016
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Shibu Onsen is also where most people stay when visiting the famous snow monkeys at Jigokudani Yaen Koen monkey park.Sep 08, 2016
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Get off at Yudanaka Station.Sep 08, 2016
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Getting off at Yudanaka Station.Sep 08, 2016
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Nagano Dentetsu train stops.Sep 08, 2016
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To go to Shibun Onsen or Yudanaka Onsen, we catch the Nagano Dentetsu train at Nagano Station. Same train line to see the snow monkeys.Sep 08, 2016
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West Turret as seen from the train.Sep 08, 2016
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View from West Turret.Sep 08, 2016
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West Turret, Ueda Castle's only original structure.Sep 08, 2016
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West Turret, Ueda Castle's only original structure.Sep 08, 2016
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West Turret, Ueda Castle's only original structure. It was closed already.Sep 08, 2016
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Sanada ShrineSep 08, 2016
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Behind Sanada Shrine is the West Turret, the castle's only original structure.Sep 08, 2016
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Sanada Clan crest on prayer tablets for sale.Sep 08, 2016
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Inside Sanada ShrineSep 08, 2016
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Sanada ShrineSep 08, 2016
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Sanada Shrine worship hall.Sep 08, 2016
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Samurai helmet monumentSep 08, 2016
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Path to Sanada Shrine, a rather small shrine.Sep 08, 2016
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Sanada Shrine torii.Sep 08, 2016
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View from the North Turret overlooking the moat.Sep 08, 2016
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Inside the North Turret.Sep 08, 2016
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Inside the North Turret.Sep 08, 2016
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Ueda bannersSep 08, 2016
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The turrets were used to store spears and other weapons.Sep 08, 2016
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North Turret of Ueda Castle.Sep 08, 2016
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North Turret of Ueda Castle.Sep 08, 2016
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North Turret of Ueda Castle.Sep 08, 2016
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East Turret over the East (main) Gate.Sep 08, 2016
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View from the East Turret over the East (main) Gate. Where we entered the castle grounds.Sep 08, 2016
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Inside the East Turret over the East (main) Gate.Sep 08, 2016
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East Turret over the East (main) Gate.Sep 08, 2016
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East Turret over the East (main) Gate.Sep 08, 2016
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View from the South Turret.Sep 08, 2016
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West Turret as seen from the South Turret.Sep 08, 2016
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Snowy view from the South Turret.Sep 08, 2016
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Inside the South Turret of Ueda Castle.Sep 08, 2016
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Reconstructed South Turret of Ueda Castle is open to the public.Sep 08, 2016
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Back side of main gate and South Turret.Sep 08, 2016
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Back side of main gate.Sep 08, 2016
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About the Sanada Stone.Sep 08, 2016
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Giant Sanada Stone.Sep 08, 2016
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North Turret of Ueda Castle.Sep 08, 2016
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Main gate of Ueda Castle.Sep 08, 2016
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Main gate of Ueda Castle and North Turret.Sep 08, 2016
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South Turret of Ueda Castle.Sep 08, 2016
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Ueda Castle inner moat around the Honmaru.Sep 08, 2016
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Dressed as Sanada at Ueda Castle, Nagano Prefecture.Sep 08, 2016
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A publicity team dressed in period costume greets visitors to Ueda Castle.Sep 08, 2016
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Main gate of Ueda Castle.Sep 08, 2016
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Ueda Castle was the base of the Sanada Clan who defended the castle against the Tokugawa in 1585 and 1600. The battle here prevented Tokugawa Hidetada from joining Ieyasu at Sekigahara in 1600.Sep 08, 2016
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Sign promoting an exhibition at Ueda Castle in tandem with the NHK Taiga drama "Sanada Maru" in 2016.Sep 08, 2016
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In front of the main gate of Ueda Castle. We visited in Jan. 2016 after heavy snow fell.Sep 08, 2016
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Ueda Castle is in a nice park with Sanada Shrine. The Honmaru is the main part where there are reconstructed structures.The castle is a short bus/taxi ride from JR Ueda Station.Sep 08, 2016
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About the history of the castle park.Sep 08, 2016
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Cabin attendant on the Nagano shinkansen.Sep 07, 2016
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Train station conductor on the Nagano shinkansen.Sep 07, 2016
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Inside JR Hotaka Station.Sep 07, 2016
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JR Hotaka StationSep 07, 2016
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Taxi ride back to Hotaka Station from Daio Wasabi Farm.Sep 07, 2016
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Wasabi MascotSep 07, 2016
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Wasabi furikakeSep 07, 2016
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Wasabi snackSep 07, 2016
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Wasabi karintoSep 07, 2016
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Wasabi-colored benches.Sep 07, 2016
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Wasabi beerSep 07, 2016
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Other wasabi-flavored things to eat.Sep 07, 2016
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Wasabi soft-serve ice cream. Quite good.Sep 07, 2016
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Ice cream timeSep 07, 2016
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Near the entrance/exit is a souvenir shop.Sep 07, 2016
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A restaurant on the farm served soba noodles with wasabi.Sep 07, 2016
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The wasabi plants are shaded with black netting to block sunlight and prevent the water temperature from rising above 15 C.Sep 07, 2016
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Processing wasabi plants, cutting off the leaves, etc.Sep 07, 2016
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A little factory where they process wasabi plants.Sep 07, 2016
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Daio Wasabi Farm's water originates from snow melt from the Northern Alps. It flows from a spring within the farm.Sep 07, 2016
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Daio Wasabi Farm's founding pioneers. The founder was Fukazawa Yuichi (1886-1941).Sep 07, 2016
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Busts of the wasabi farm's founding pioneers.Sep 07, 2016
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You can sample the farm's cold spring water.Sep 07, 2016
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Wasabi plantsSep 07, 2016
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Clean water flows through the fields.Sep 07, 2016
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You can walk around the wasabi fields which look quite vast. They are shaded in the warmer months.Sep 07, 2016
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Wasabi for sale. It's a root plant.Sep 07, 2016
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Map of Daio Wasabi Farm. It is quite expansive.Address: 〒399-8303長野県安曇野市穂高3640
3640 Hotaka, Azumino, Nagano
Sep 07, 2016
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One of Japan's largest wasabi farms is a tourist attraction. Clean water from the mountains provide an ideal environment to grow wasabi.Entrance to Daio Wasabi Farm. Open: 9:00 am–5:20 pm (closes at 4:30 pm during Nov. to Feb.). Free admission Sep 07, 2016
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JR Hotaka StationSep 07, 2016
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JR Hotaka StationSep 07, 2016
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Nice scenery from JR Matsumoto Station to Hotaka Station. Sep 07, 2016
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JR Hotaka Station is the nearest station to the Daio Wasabi Farm.Sep 07, 2016
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Manhole in Shibu Onsen showing a snow monkey in a bath. Shibu Onsen is near the entrance to the trail to the monkey park.Jan 21, 2016
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Monkey souvenirs at the gift shop at the trail's entrance.Jan 21, 2016
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I must say that having snow is the key here. Without it, it wouldn't be worth the trouble of coming here.More info about the snow monkey park: http://en.jigokudani-yaenkoen.co.jp/aboutJan 21, 2016
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Next to the monkey spa is a live cam which you can see online here. You can see the monkeys bathing during the day and see how much snow there is.If you visit the snow monkeys, you can tell your friends to watch you on the live cam (updated every minute).
http://www.jigokudani-yaenkoen.co.jp/livecam/monkey/index.htm
Jan 21, 2016
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Monkey totally ignored this bag.Jan 21, 2016
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Immediately down river from the monkey spa, more monkeys roam and hangout.Jan 21, 2016
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Lunch time for the monkeys.Jan 21, 2016
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Park staff throwing grain on the ground to feed the monkeys along the river.Jan 21, 2016
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Baby monkeys have no fear of humans.Jan 21, 2016
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The monkeys always go comb through each other's fur for lice.Jan 21, 2016
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These monkeys are obviously accustomed to humans and they seem quite tame and well-behaved. As long as you keep your distance and don't disturb them or eat something in front of them.Jan 21, 2016
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My favorite shot. I'm not sure if he's exhibiting a derogatory gesture to us humans. The calluses on the buttocks serve as a cushion for sitting. It seems that they don't have the cushy/fatty buttocks that we do, so they need to grow calluses instead.Jan 21, 2016
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They steal food from souvenir shops, they can attack you for your bag of food, and they may hangout along the road for handouts from drivers.Jan 21, 2016
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Although monkeys appear in Japanese legends/folktales and may even serve as a divine messenger for certain Shinto gods, monkeys are generally viewed with disdain in Japan.Jan 21, 2016
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It's not unusual to see wild monkeys in Japan. So to the Japanese, these monkeys are not exotic nor unusual, even if they are bathing in an onsen.Jan 21, 2016
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Snow monkeys taking a bath and showing relaxed faces. Jan 21, 2016
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Baby monkey. From generation to generation, these monkeys develop and pass down their habit of bathing in this hot spring.Jan 21, 2016
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Humans don't bathe in here. The monkeys poop in the water so you may see poop floating around. No smell though.Jan 21, 2016
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This is the only onsen bath where the monkeys bathe. All the photos of bathing snow monkeys you have seen were taken here. But not all monkeys bathe here. Only some of them bathe.The place is most crowded with tourists in the morning and lunch time. Most are foreign tourists, some Chinese too. Few Japanese tourists. The snow monkeys are more famous outside Japan than in Japan.Jan 21, 2016
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Walk all the way toward the back of the valley, pay the ¥500 park admission, and you'll see this. Tourists crowd around the onsen bath made especially for the snow monkeys.In a beautiful location next to the river. Just the day before, there was little snow here.Jan 21, 2016
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No selfie sticks.Jan 21, 2016
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Why snow monkeys bathe in the hot spring.Jan 21, 2016
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The hut has these informative sheets about the snow monkeys.Jan 21, 2016
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Near the monkey's onsen bath is this hut where you can take a break or warm up before heading back. It's literally a lifesaver. Wish they at least had a foot bath too.Jan 21, 2016
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No dronesJan 21, 2016
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Park rulesJan 21, 2016
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Jigokudani (Hell Valley) is a common name in Japan for valleys that have volcanic steam vents and other hot stuff. (Japan's image of hell is "hot.") However, this was the only steaming vent I saw in the valley.Jan 21, 2016
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Jigokudani Onsen spa is near the snow monkey park. This ryokan named Korakukan has baths for humans and monkeys.Jan 21, 2016
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Go up these steps to the park admission gate.Jan 21, 2016
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The Jigokudani Yaen Koen snow monkey park, where the snow monkeys live, is part of the Joshin-etsu Kogen National Park in Shiga Kogen Highland.Jan 21, 2016
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After walking 30 min. or so, signs of civilization. "Don't feed the monkeys and don't eat in front of the monkeys."Jan 21, 2016
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I'm told that this old truck has been abandoned here for many years. It has become a landmark at the end of the trail.Jan 21, 2016
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The trail also has these informative signs explaining about the monkeys. Also helpful to know how far you have walked and how much more to go.Jan 21, 2016
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Japanese snow monkeys (macaque) live in the Shiga Kogen Highland area in the Nagano mountains. They have developed a custom of dipping in a hot spring built especially for them.Jan 21, 2016
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A thick jacket, ski cap covering your ears, gloves, thick socks, and hiking shoes are a must (no high heels, sneakers, dress shoes, etc.). Hand warmers (kairo) are good too. The entrance has a souvenir shop where you can rent winter clothing.Jan 21, 2016
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The trail is nice and flat, but can be snowy/icy and slippery. It's a nice and easy walk along the forest. In winter, you definitely need to be dressed warmly. The temperature was freezing when we visited in mid-Jan. 2016.The nearest train station is Yudanaka Station, little over an hour by Nagano Electric Railway train from Nagano Station. From Yudanaka Station, it's about 15 min. by car/taxi to the park entrance. A day trip from Tokyo is possible, but I highly recommend staying overnight at a nearby onsen (hot spring).Jan 21, 2016
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The world-famous, hot spring-loving snow monkeys in Yamanouchi, Nagano Prefecture must be Japan's most photographed wild animals. "The only place in the world where monkeys bathe in hot springs."They live in the mountains in a valley named Jigokudani (Hell Valley). A snow monkey park (Jigokudani Yaen Koen) was established for them in 1964 where the park operator feeds the monkeys and maintains a hot spring (onsen) bath for them. Although winter (with snow) is the most popular time to see the monkeys, the park is open year round (9 am–4 pm).
This is the entrance to the trail to the snow monkey park in Yamanouchi town, Nagano Prefecture. It's about 1.6 km or a 30-min. walk (longer if you stop and take pictures).
Jan 21, 2016
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Matsumoto Station train platformOct 27, 2015
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Matsumoto StationOct 27, 2015
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Matsumoto StationOct 27, 2015
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Matsumoto StationOct 27, 2015
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Matsumoto Station at night.Oct 27, 2015
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Matsumoto manholeOct 27, 2015
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Polka dot bus advertising Kusama Yayoi's exhibition in a local museum. Matsumoto is her hometown.Oct 27, 2015
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Mastumoto Castle tower visible from our hotel.Oct 27, 2015
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The room being renovated.Oct 27, 2015
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Oct 27, 2015
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Oct 27, 2015
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View from top of Matsumoto Castle.Oct 27, 2015
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Ceiling on top floor.Oct 27, 2015
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Top floor of Matsumoto Castle.Oct 27, 2015
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