A Weekend Getaway from Tokyo (Part Two): Snow Monkeys, Ryokan and Shibu Onsen

On the second day of our visit to see the famous snow monkeys of Jigokudani, we awoke to a winter wonderland outside the ryokan, the traditional Japanese inn, we were staying in. Snow had fallen in a thick layer overnight and falling lightly, but expected to taper completely by mid-to-late morning. We donned our fresh …

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17+ Things to Know Before Visiting the Snow Monkeys

One of the highlights of our recent trip to Japan was visiting the famous snow monkeys at Jigokudani Monkey Park in the northern Nagano prefecture. Nagano was the host of the 1998 Winter Olympic games. A troop of Japanese macaques, called Snow Monkeys because of the cold climates these northern-most primates endure, began visiting the hot …

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Walking into a Nature Documentary: the Snow Monkeys of Jigukudani Yaen-Koen

We'd seen pictures in National Geographic. We'd watched clips on PBS Nature. We'd done the research about when to go, how to get there, and what we'd see. But we never expected to walk into the pages of a magazine ourselves. We never imagined that we'd be in the same scenes we'd seen on TV. Documentaries can film for weeks. …

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16 Japanese Customs to know before you visit

Observing and learning the customs of another culture is one of the more fascinating and exhilarating aspects of travel. It can also be a bit embarrassing when you stand out like a sore thumb because you forget, bungle or just simply aren't aware of a certain etiquette or custom. Don't be too hard on yourself — I …

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