Snow Monkeys in Summer! Let’s Go See Monkeys Chilling in Hot Spring

This blog is about when we went to see “Snow Monkey” in Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park, Nagano, in summer. It was full of monkeys!

Now Snow Monkeys are world-famous and have become one of the symbols of sightseeing in Japan.

In Nagano prefecture, there is a very rare sightseeing spot called “Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park,” where you can see the monkeys that have a habit of “getting in hot springs.” This is the only place in the world that you can see them.

How to go to “Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park” from “Yudanaka Shibu Onsen”

The “Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park” is located in Yamanouchi Town of Shimotakai District, Nagano prefecture.
There are two entrances to go to Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park.

The first one is located in a hot spring town called “Kanbayashi Onsen.” Since you will have to climb up a mountain road for about 30 minutes, wear shoes that are easy to walk in. (To get to Kanbayashi Onsen, take the Kanbayashi Line of the Nagaden Bus from Nagano Dentetsu Nagano Line “Yudanaka Station”. No need to transfer)

The second entrance is located in another hot spring town called “Yudanaka Shibu Onsen.” This entrance is not available in the winter because of the snow. But in the summer time, your trip will be very easy if you choose this entrance because you can get very close to your destination by car. However, because it is such a narrow mountain road, be extra careful when you drive! (a 7 minute walk from “Yudanaka Station”)

To the Parking Lot of Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park

Because we were driving, we took the “Yudanaka Shibu Onsen” entrance.

We were so thankful that they had a parking lot! We believe that the parking fee was 500 yen.

However, you actually have to walk 10 to 15 minutes from this parking lot.

We had a view of mountains and rivers, which is very Nagano-like, on our way.

Unexpectedly, there were hot springs here and there and pipes through which hot spring water flows, so the smell of sulfur was strong. Lol

We kept walking and walking, following the arrows.

There was a mountain path, but all the roads are well-maintainaned. We don’t recommend you to wear highheels though…!

Are we there yet?

We walked through a wooden building on our way, and we were wondering what it was...

And wow! It was a ryokan (Japanese style inn).

Moreover, this ryokan, “Korakukan,” is a historical one, established 150 years ago. Of course it has an outdoor hot spring, and it is said that monkeys come and take a bath here.

Although the hot spring in Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park is only for monkeys, this hot spring is mixed bathing with monkeys!! The building appears to be very old, but if you’re interested, go for it!

After we passed through the inn, there was a geyser boiling.

If you see that geyser, that means you are almost there!

We could see the Korakukan from where we climbed.

Arrival at “Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park”

Before you enter the park, there is a sign explaining things you should be careful of when you see the monkeys. Keep them in mind and follow the rules for your safety.

A sign prohibiting drones! There must’ve been someone who used them. Lol

We bought tickets.

It is 500 yen for adults and 250 yen for children.

There is another sign after you enter inside the park. The part that says, “people tend to think that monkeys are their friends, but monkeys don’t share the same opinion,” is a little funny. Lol

Finally we met the monkeys!!!!

Once you get inside, there are monkeys and more monkeys.... everywhere.

A monkey is looking into the distance with deep look on his face… is he thinking about the absolute truth of the universe?

A monkey picking fleas off another monkey. They are a couple, maybe?

Okay, there are monkeys, more monkeys, and even more monkeys! We can’t even count them.

It looks like the hill at the zoo where monkeys play, but the difference is that there is no cage.

Meanwhile, we found the hot spring! Monkeys were enjoying the bath. It is said that the hot spring is jam-packed with monkeys in the winter, but there are only one to two monkeys in summer time.

In the beginning, it is said that when people using the hot spring fed the monkeys, they realized, “oh? It’s warm♪” when they went in the hot water. Since then, it became a practice of the local monkeys to warm up in the hot springs when it gets cold. Yeah, it is cold in Nagano. I mean, it snows. Of course they want to get in a hot spring. Indeed.

This monkey is touching the nape of the neck at a hot spring, which is exactly what we do! Lol. It’s a bit sexy?

Our guess how this monkey feels after the bath: “Phew! I’m sweaty!”

A monkey swimming in the water.

We’re wondering if they think of it as a pool in summer.

And then, a monkey that just arrived started attacking the monkey that was already in the water!

It was an intense battle for a moment.

A monkey getting out of the bath looking like, “Wow... that was a surprise. Scary.”

And this monkey is probably thinking, “Phew, finally I can relax after that annoying guy is gone.”

As we observe them, their movements look more and more like human beings, and we feel like we could watch them forever.

Parents giving milk to their baby monkey at the riverside. Very chill.

All the monkeys here are used to human beings, so they are not afraid of us at all.

This is a picture of when a monkey took the smartphone away from someone who went too close when taking a photo of it. We can’t help but think like, “Is the monkey ‘liking’ on Facebook?” Lol.

How was it? That’s our report of snow monkeys in the summer time!

We admit that winter time is probably better because of how there are more monkeys in the hot spring and the general atmosphere. However, we thought that it was totally worth visiting in summer when there is no snow, and enjoyed watching the monkeys play peacefully. Whether it’s summer or winter, please go see the “monkeys getting in a hot springs,” a sight you can only see here in Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park!

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Written by y_a_j_i

This is Yaji that was born in Nagano and living Tokyo now. I love drinking, especially Japanese sake and Japanese tapas. I will introduce many great restaurants and bars all over Tokyo!

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