A visit to the Snow Monkeys of Jigokudani, Yamanouchi, Nagano

The Jigokudani Monkey Park is located in the Valley of Yokoyu River in northern part of Nagano prefecture and we visited it as part of a road trip in February 2017.

As it was winter when we visited the road which takes you closest to the monkeys was closed so we were ushered to a car park around 1.6km away and even saw a monkey when we got there! The car park has toilets and many of the coaches drop passengers off here. The start of the walk looks like this:

The walk to the park entrance was actually one of the highlights, it’s a tight, winding footpath and was very slippery in some places. It’s possible to hire shoes and crampons if you haven’t come prepared but we both had snow boots on. The walk was exceptionally pretty and took around 45 minutes, here are some shots we took along the way:

Getting closer to the entrance:

Steam rising from the hot spring:

The park is open 9:00-16:00 in the winter and 8:30-17:00 in the summer. The entrance fee is 800 yen for adults and 400 yen for children and there is a small gift shop located at the entrance. Once inside, the park is actually very small, there is just a stream and a couple of pools. But pleasingly, there were plenty of monkeys to be seen!

The monkeys were super cute:

The monkeys playing:

In summary, the park is well worth a visit, it's small and there are lots of visitors but the monkeys seem really happy and comfortable and the walk is absolutely beautiful. Here is the view on the way back:

The park is located here: