The Snow Monkeys of Jigokudani Monkey Park in Nagano

Chubu Tour Monkey 2020.04.02
Hot springs or onsen is a nice Japanese treat to come across especially during winter. It seems like monkeys in Japan also enjoy a good soak on a cold day. Come to see the snow monkeys at Jigokudani monkey park not far from Shigakogen.
Jigokudani Monkey Park, now also a famous place amongst the tourists, is a place where wild Japanese monkeys come for a nice soak in the hot springs. The park is located within the Joshinetsukogen National Park and is also close to the Shigakogen, where one of the best powder snow ski resorts are in Japan.
This monkey park has been in operations since 1964 and ever since the Nagano Olympics in 1998 it has become known widely to the world.

If you are considering a visit, it would be best to include it in an itinerary with a visit to the Shigakogen ski area. That way, you can enjoy the lovely powder snow and see the monkeys enjoying the hot springs. They are only about half an hour drive apart from each other and there are buses that run regularly from Shigakogen to the monkey park and back. (Look for Shigakogen and Snow monkey park in the table that goes around the "Yudanaka, Nakano, Shiga Kogen area".)
Their business hours is from 8:30 am till 5:00 pm and entry fee is 500 yen for adults and 250 yen for children.
There are a few rules that we need to stick to once we entre the park, this is to protect their natural habitat but also to protect us from unnecessary injuries.

1. Don't get too close to the monkeys as they are wild animals. They can scratch you or snatch your bag if you don't be careful.

2. Don't stare at their eyes. 

3. Don't put your hands out towards the monkeys.

4. Don't show them any food items or feed them.

Stick to these rules and you should be safe. As there are no barriers between the monkeys and us, it is likely that they can come up close to you, but if you keep the rules above in mind, you should be fine, just like we were.

The park recommends people to come in a bit early rather than rushing in at the last minute as the monkeys tend to go back home into the mountains earlier in the evening.
Look at their relaxed faces. They are so adorable.

Jigokudani Monkey Park - Official Page
Open: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Address: 6845 Hirao, Yamanouchi, Shimotakai District, Nagano Prefecture (map)
Entry Fee: Adults 500 yen, Children 250 yen

What else is there to do at the national park? Find out more about the Joshinetsukogen National Park at "National Parks of Japan" provided by the Ministry of Environment of Japan.
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