Our guide was delightful, she was very informative and her English is excellent. We really enjoyed the stroll through the trees where the clear water gushed alongside, very refreshing but the monkeys stole the show, there were so many of them just going about their business as if they hadn't even seen us. We saw several youngsters and really cute babies. We'll certainly remember our visit and would highly recommend it.
We found the overall experience to be just 'okay'. We thought this tour, would be all inclusive. To be clear, you are paying all that money just to have someone walk with you. When you get off the train, you pay for your bus ticket, you pay for your park entry, you pay for your meal. I was under the impression that the tour had a rest stop, or office to put your things, or some kind of behind the scene experience. It was not, literally someone just accompanies you from the train station to the park. I mentioned this to the guide and she said that it says it's not inclusive in the fine print. I went back and re-read everything and could not find where it said that. Travelers could easily do this themselves with no requirement for a guide. The tour seemed extremely rushed trying to make it back to the train station in time, which ended up being extremely stressful with 2 children.
However, our guide was very friendly and so accommodating. She did a great job leading us around and answering our questions. She was even generous enough to give me a pair of her socks when mine had gotten wet. There is no question, that she was perfect. It was obvious that she was just doing what her boss had instructed her to do.
It was a totally mediocre experience.
Michiko is a wonderful guide. She took us on a great tour of the Snow Monkey park in Jigokudani, helped us with the transportation and made us feel more like friends than just clients. We saw many monkeys up close - even within a foot or two or our legs. They are not at all afraid of humans. In addition to the pictures we took, Michiko took some of us and send us links to them. That was very thoughtful. We enjoyed the Sake tasting and the hot foot baths at the end of the tour. It was well worth the trip from Tokyo.
Michiko was super nice and it was nice to have a guide take us to the monkey park. We were the only people on the tour which was great because we didn't have to wait for anyone else. I think this tour is best for people who are very new to Japan or not so frequent travellers, avid travellers can figure out this tour on their own with some online research. The cost doesn't include the entry into the park or the bus fare so keep that in mind. The monkey park itself it truly fantastic, the only thing that knocks a star is that I wish we had more time to take photos, 30 minutes went by so fast considering it takes about 45 minutes to walk there and another 45 to get back. The walk is beautiful though especially if it's been snowing lately, I would recommend snow boots if you have them as it can get icy and muddy, but I wore addidas and was fine too.
That's the only sentence to describe the place. I arrived by train and my local guide was right there. She planned the trip so well that we did not waste a minute and I really enjoyed being at the park with Snow Monkeys. Although, there was no snow and wasn't too cold for monkeys to bath in the hot water pool but we saw monkeys real close. I got a chance to take a lot of pictures and videos of monkeys in their natural habitat. Also, a selfie with monkey . I like the way that they did not modernize the place to be tourist friendly but it is monkey friendly. One caution, if you do not like walking then this tour is not for you. To see the monkeys you'll have to walk over a mile one way then back same distance. So prepare to walk. Also, make sure to have rubber boots or hiking boots as it becomes muddy during wet days and if it snowed previous night it would be slippery as well.
After our visit to the park we walked to local Sake factory, which offers tasting their own creation of Sake in various varieties. I liked unfiltered one and bought couple of bottles for gifting back home.
Lastly, I would like to give 5 star rating to my guide who was very knowledgeable and very active and the funny thing is, I was the only member in the group so she acted like my personal guide o.