Even though this region is called the Snow Monkey area, we have more than six months without snow. Our Spring, Summer, and Autumn all have their own attractions. In this article we will expand on the things to do in the Green Season, especially summer season.
Japan’s summer is quite warm. Tokyo is frustratingly hot with people trying to escape to air-conditioned rooms all the time. Yamanouchi (also called the Snow Monkey Town) however, is in the middle of the mountains and has the milder temperature associated with high altitude areas. For those looking to sniffing up fresh mountain and experiencing rural Japan, a visit to this region can be a good thing on your Japan travel wishlist.
When going to the Snow Monkey area, there are several places that are worth seeing. If you love the mountain scenery we would like to recommend going up to Shiga Kogen. The mountainous area is a national reserve and looks out over the entire Yamanouchi area with the Northern Alps on the background. There is good hiking to be done in this area like a walk around Lake Onuma. We conduct a tour that takes you to the top of a mountain in the Highlands called the 1-Day Snow Monkey and Shiga Highlands Nature Tour.
If you are looking for a typical Japanese countryside scenery than countryside cycling might be fun for you. This year is the first year that the Snow Monkey Resorts Info and Gift Shop, the shop right in front of the trail to the Snow Monkey Park, started renting out bicycles. You can get your bicycle with a map of the area and ride around, exploring the farm lands and small towns that are around.
If you feel more comfortable being accompanied on your cycling journey through the countryside, then we have the following two tours available for you:
This area is famous for its fruits, with in particular apples, grapes and peaches. The price for fruit in Japan is generally quite expensive but this region has so many fruit trees that fruit picking is a very popular activity. The fruit in season is the one you can pick for a certain price for a certain period of time at some of the local farms. One of the best places to pick fruit is found in Obuse. If you want to be taken on a full day to to the Snow Monkey and to fruit picking than the below stated tour is right up your street.
Walking around the Yamanouchi Area:
If you love walking than there is a nice route to follow from Kanbayashi Onsen, the place where the trail to the Snow Monkey Park starts (this route is also nice to cycle). When you come down from the Park, stroll back down, past Enza Cafe and stay to the right. If you stay to the right you will eventually see a shrine on your right-hand side. Get in the street parallel to the shrine and walk down. You will see Tamamura Honten, a local sake brewery that also produces craft beer, where you can try sake samples and see some of the inside of the brewery.
If you keep heading down and staying to your right you will eventually go down to the river where you cross the red bridge and arrive at Shibu Onsen. This town has a 1300 year long history with people visiting the 9 hot springs of Shibu. If you stay in this town you can visit all 9 baths like many people have before you. If you don’t stay in the area you can visit just one onsen called O-yu. You can walk from here to the Peace Kannon and ring the bell for world peace. Yudanaka Station is 15 minutes from the temple.
Come to Northern Nagano to enjoy the countryside of Japan!