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...
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?