The Japanese macaques are the world’s most famous bathing monkeys.
and this winter it was finally time for my wife and I to seed them for ourselves.
I’m Andrew and this is my wife Lori.
Here’s the plan.
The snow monkeys live in Nagano Prefecture
Right here. We’re going to take a train from our home in Nagoya.
and on the way stop by Matsumoto to see the famous castle there
before arriving in Nagano City where we’ll spend the night.
On day 2, we’ll go see the monkeys and also go see the nearby hot spring towns.
On the final morning of the trip we’ll visit Zenkoji temple near Nagano station before heading home.
This is our “Quest for Snow Monkeys.”
With this special train ticket we are able to hop on and off the train as much as we want in one day
so if we are hungry, and want to get noodles at a train station
we can enter and exit as many times as we want, so long as it’s within the same day.
One of the famous foods that Nagano is known for is soba.
One of the best places to get soba is at a train station.
which is where we are right now.
We made it to Matsumoto, yeah!
We were on the train for like, almost 4hrs, but it’s ok because we love trains.
I’ll give you 3 guesses what this frog statue reminds me of.
Ya, got it in one. I mean, come on.
I know right?
I think we should get this for our apartment.
Here’s everything I know about Matsumoto Castle
Most of which, Lori told me about 5 min ago.
So it is a “hirashrio” style castle
Which literally means flatland castle.
it is nicknamed “karasujyo” which means “Crow Castle”
because it’s black.
on the nationally curated list of top 3 castles in Japan it’s number 2.
and also it’s the second oldest original castle in the whole country.
Soooo, was that it? Matsumoto Castle, always a bridge’s maid, never a bride.
On to Nagano Station.
So we have arrived at Nagano Station.
As we like to call it “Naga-YES” station.
You’ve spent approximately 6.5hrs on trains today… your thoughts?
I’d definitely do it again… yea, that was fun.
That’s good because we’re going to do it again in a couple of days on our way back.
Well, and, you know, we’re one step closer to the snow monkeys.
The ultimate goal of this trip and our lives… snow monkeys.
Uh, I need to check the map.
This room is actually really awesome.
I bet they converted a closet to make this room
but it’s perfect for two, it’s really close to the station, the price is right (ish)
the first thing we usually do when we get to our hostel/hotel room is unpack, get settled
and in this case we’re going to head out for dinner afterwards.
which I’m super excited for
on a personal level
whatever that means.
Ok, so, time to unpack.
T metres 2 hrs from Snow Monkeys
Currently walking to Nagano Station.
To buy our… OH MY GOODNESS!
It’s a trick umbrella. It’s like a magic trick.
She does this all the time just for fun.
Wow, you actually did put the together, I’m impressed.
Wow! Woah… alright.
I feel like a Street Fighter Character
First monkey sighting!
We’re here! The monkeys are like, everywhere.
What do you think of the monkeys?
Very cute, very cute.
Does it make your list of top 3 cutest things you’ve ever seen?
So out of all the options at that cafe, you grabbed an apple.
Yes, well, it is a Nagano specialty.
and it is good!
Instead of taking the bus back we are walking to the nearest train station
because our one-day snow monkey pass
include the bus, it includes access to the snow monkey park and it also includes unlimited travel on the train
and if the Nagano tourism website is correct
Then we should be seeing a lot more of these historical looking neighborhoods
which are known for having hot springs, which would be perfect right now because we are really cold.
So, we have visited the snow monkeys.
It was so cute!
Did they live up to your expectations?
Yes, it was everything I had hoped for.
Would you go again?
I would go again too. It was a lot of effort to get there
but it was definitely worthwhile
What’s left in out trip?
It’s been a good trip.
It’s been a really good trip.
I would still give Nagano a “yes”.
It’s still “Naga-YES” in my book.
So, we’ve entered the grounds of Zenkoji.
The most important temple in Japan
because the first statue of Buddha ever brought to Japan came here.
and this is the last stop on our trip.
According to the lady at the information booth, who I trust
no one can see the famous statue of Buddha here
aside from the main temple, the primary attraction is to go into the pitch dark tunnel
in which you are supposed to be able to get closer to the image of Buddha.
So, that’s what you do at Zenkoji Temple, I think.
What’d you find?
So on the tourism web site they were saying
that there’s some really original old stone lanterns here at Zenkoji
and I think these are probably them
just looking at the moss growth and general decay, know you…
thank you CSI
ha ha ha!
We are about to make the long journey home
but actually I really like train travel. That’s part of the fun of the trip for me. It’s not a chore at all.
So was it a good trip?
Ya! It was an awesome trip!
I would want to come back to Nagano for sure, what about you?
Ya, it was really fun.
Ya, let’s get to the train!
How do you like the curry?
To quote Eirc, from Eirc & Kyde, I’d say this curry is “on point.” Hahaha…