Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Jigokudani Monkey Park, part 2


How do you feel about eating a fine local meal of dried crickets and fresh river fish, eyeballs and all?

Normally, I'd be completely turned off, but this was part of our dinner at the Jigokudani Korakukan Inn. We stayed there on our snow monkey quest a few weeks back.

Now, many lodging options existed there including regular hotels and spa resorts, but we wanted a unique experience, you know?

Traditional Japanese Inns are interesting places to stay. It's almost like you are staying in someone's home, and you're sort of on their schedule, rather than your own. That means they serve meals at a specific time and usually everyone gets the same thing. It's like a bed and breakfast and you share a bathroom.
Jigokudani Korakukan Ryokan inside the Jigokudani Monkey Park

When researching places to stay, I found many reviewers who promised that the Korakukan offered up close encounters with the monkeys.

So close in fact, that monkeys could be found leisurely hanging about, scampering across the roof, looking in your window as you change clothes, and even climbing in the hot tub with you.
Sure enough, monkeys outside a window

I have to admit I was tempted...

Our lovely traditional room with huge window facing a snowy scene

Tatami style bedding

Tonight's dinner: wild duck, mountain vegetables, cod sashimi, marinated mushrooms

River fish and...
Um... yeah
If you're wondering how eating the crickets went over, watch our Amazing Race Parody video here.

We did visit the outdoor hot spring in the late afternoon, and there were a few monkeys sitting on the edge near us. They never did join us in the hot water though.

I highly recommend this inn for its character and proximity to the monkeys. I have to tell you though that the next morning, we requested the western breakfast with eggs, toast, and ham.

Read more information about the Jigokudani Korakukan Inn here.

What's the most memorable inn you've stayed at?

11 comments:

bingata744 said...

This looks so cool -- and it's very beautiful!! I don't know about those grasshoppers though -- you are brave. Were there a lot of people staying there when you visited? Are they known to have snow pretty regularly because that is also something that makes it very special to experience? Fun stuff -- thank you.

Miss Footloose said...

Very nice! Even the food ;) I'd try it.

I don't have memorable B&B's because the ones I/we have stayed in were beautiful and perfect, and what I normally remember is what isn't ;)

Stayed in a "guest house" in Ghana, Africa, once, years ago. We were the only guests and the door was left open for us when we came back from dinner with friends after dark. No electricity. We stepped into the dark hallway and felt all this crunching underfoot and when I finally got my torch/flashlight out, we saw why: Thousands of cockroaches scampering across the floor.

This is rather gross, but what can I say, it's my most memorable "B&B" story...

Carrie Stuart said...

Wow! This just looks incredible. I can't get over those little monkey faces. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience. Thanks for sharing more about it!

Mary and Sean said...

Bingata,
I believe they do have snow through May, so a good part of the year, it is a winter wonderland.

Mary and Sean said...

Miss Footloose,
Oh my... that image in my head is so strong. I really hope you wrote a story about it at some point. Crazy! Did they get in your room?

Mary and Sean said...

Carrie,
You've still got 2 years here- do it!

shopgirl said...

The lodgings look like a great experience. I would love to do that and stay there. But, you're right about the food, I'm pretty sure I'd go hungry.

Heather said...

So jealous! We actually had monkeys in our room once in Rajastan, not because we left the door open but because the windows had no glass. Yeah...

The food photos are great.

Victoria Dixon said...

I commend your bravery! I love wildlife, Asia and experiencing local things while on vacation. The cricket makes my stomach roil. I don't do insects well in any situation. LOL

Saw you on Expat and thought I'd come and say hello.

A.C. said...

I am kind of kicking myself for not having been able to tell you to go eat at "Ru", AMAZING little place, serves Nagano prefecture staples. When my sister and I were there we went there two nights in a row because the food was so amazing :)

Jaz said...

Travel books are made for different types of travellers, so you can often find recommendations that are just right for you.

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