High up on the travel itinerary list for anyone coming to or living in Japan is to see the Japanese Snow Monkeys. It took us a while to get there but finally we did. I have to say though that we went when the snow was already gone and that was unfortunate because I think the experience would have been better if there had been snow and it was cold. I was both thrilled by the experience and disappointed. It is amazing to see the monkeys and they are so used to people that you are literally just walking among them and they run around you as though you don’t even exist, to see them soaking in the hot spring is very cool and I bet it would be fantastic in the snow. The walk to the park is also nice and not in anyway difficult (even with 2 smallish kids). Once you get to the area it is however not quite as pretty, there are a lot of pipes everywhere and looks unnatural, I am sure that if it were covered in snow it may look better. For this reason I highly recommend that if you travel to see the monkeys try to do it when its cold and with a beautiful flutter of snow.
We also got to see some beautiful shrines in Nagano while we were there. All of them worth visiting. Togakushi Shrine, which is made up of 3 separate shrine complexes was amazing, especially the giant tree lined path to Okusha, the shrine at the top. You will also see a few photos of food snuck in the slideshow, I am a huge fan of Japanese food and its one of my favourite things about travelling in Japan. Delicious!
Here is a short 15 second video of the snow monkeys that I made for Instagram. They were also used in the longer video on Japan in the vimeo account.