There is a species of monkey that is native to Japan and they are called Japanese macaques.PIXTA
Wild Japanese macaques are known to be very aggressive and there are cases, where they have attacked people and caused serious injuries. Hence, whenever a monkey trespasses into a private residence, for safety purposes, they are usually caught and kept in captivity.
However, at Nagano’s Jigokudani Monkey Park, the monkeys are comparatively tamer and do not pose much threat. During the winter season, they will come to the park and enjoy the hot springs like us, people.
These monkeys are nicknamed as Snow Monkeys due to the famous scene of them entering the hot springs while the snow is falling in the background. They have caused quite a spur and recently, the number of visitors from abroad, who have traveled far and wide just to witness this scene has increased. Jigokudani Monkey Park is probably the only place in the world, where you can calmly witness wild monkeys without the fear of getting attacked.
Visitors can approach the snow monkeys that are soaking in the hot springs and the snow monkeys will not get provoked or attack them. At times, you will get to see the interaction between some monkeys with their young that resembles the loving relationship between a human parent and human child. Witnessing that will definitely warm your hearts.
These Japanese macaques are definitely really smart for imitating a human tradition of warming themselves up by enjoying the hot springs. To stave the low winter temperatures at Jigokudani, which can drop to below -10℃, these monkeys will take advantage of the comfort that the hot springs can offer.
If you are ever in that area during winter, make a stop at the park! To help you get your bearings, information on the park is as follows;
Address : Jigokudani Monkey Park 6745 Ooazahirao, Yamanouchi-machi, Shimotakai-gun, Nagano Prefecture
■ Summer (April – October)
Operation hours : 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
■ Winter (November – March)
Operation hours : 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Entrance fees：¥500 for junior high school students and above, ¥250 for children
For an online English pamphlet, click on the link below.