Jigokudani’s Snow Monkeys in Onsen
Do you know “Snow Monkeys?”
They live in Jigokudani (Hell Valley monkey park) located in the mountains of Nagano Prefecture, which was host to the 1998 Winter Olympics, are very famous for monkeys soaking in onsen (hot spring). You are surprised they are used to being around human visitors and they act just like us. Though you need to walk on a snow-covered road for about 30 minutes, it is worth seeing lovely monkeys.
Jigokudani Yaen-koen (Monkey Park)
Jigokudani Yaen-koen has kept its popularity since 1964 for snow monkeys. It is located in the valley of the Yokoyu-River, in the northern part of Nagano Prefecture. The name Jigokudani, meaning Hell’s Valley, is due to the steam and boiling water that spurts out of crevices in the ground, surrounded by steep cliffs, severe cold, and dark forests. The heavy snowfalls, an elevation of 850 meters, and being only accessible via a narrow two-kilometer (30-minute walk) footpath through the forest, keep it uncrowded despite its popularity. Snow monkeys, wild Japanese Macaques, go to the valley during the winter and soak in natural hot spring, outside onsen.