While in Japan for the second time I got a chance to take a trip to the Jigokudani Monkey Park. The trip from Tokyo takes around four hours. You can use Google maps to see how to get to the Nagano station from wherever you are in Tokyo. Usually you will have to take two trains. My trip to Nagano took two hours and cost 7100 Yen($63.75). From Nagano I got a one day Snow Monkey pass for 3200 Yen($28.73) which includes a bus to the park and entrance. The bus ride from Nagano to the park is about 45 minutes. You will then have about a 45 minute walk until you reach the hot spring the monkeys swim in. The path has a lot of mud, snow and ice from December to March. These are the months you will see snow at the park which I recommend. Be careful during the walk, I did fall on the trip back down. The park is open from 9am to 4pm. It is possible to make it a day trip.
The park is full of Japanese Macaque monkeys. While you may see around 10 to 15 monkeys in the pool, the surrounding area is flooded with monkeys. They are not scared of humans and will walk right past you at times. Make sure not to feed any of them, try to touch them or stare in their eyes. It is a unique experience to see so many monkeys in their natural habitat. I enjoyed the park and do think it was worth the voyage from Tokyo. Check my photos below!