SNOW MONKEY PARK
MAIN INFORMATION YOU NEED
- Official name - Jigokudani Yaenkoen
- Nick name - Snow Monkey Park
- Location - Yudanaka-Shibu Onsen, Yamanouchi town, Nagano prefecture, Japan
- Distance - 2.5km from Shibu Onsen, 7km from Yudanaka station, 33km from Nagano city
- Open 365 days in a year - Opening Hours: Summer (4-10) 8:30am-5:00pm | Winter (11-3) 9:00am-4:00pm
- Admission fee - Adult 500yen, Child 250yen
- Kind of monkey -Japanese Macaque
- Around 160 monkeys are living here in the moment. You can see them every day, all 4 seasons
THIS PLACE TROUGH MY EYES
I visit Snow Monkey park at least one time in a month.
Park is really in the forest where are just monkeys. You have to walk to get there 10min or 25min dpend to way you choose to go there. The walk tracks are trough the forest and are very enjoyable in each years period. You can meet some monkeys even before the entrance. They are just walking around or sitting on the trees. Behind the entrace there are monkeys everywhere. You can get very close to them, take detail pictures or movie and observe the real monkey life. I enjoy watching small young and very cute ones. On the way to the main spot, what is kind of pool with hot spring water made by stones in size aprox. 10x5meters, you will pass 6 meter high rising hot spring. This place is between hills so you are walking trough the valley and it has special amosphere made by nature.
NEGATIVES (what people mostly complain about)
- In winter time your feet get very cold, because you walk and stand on the snow all the time. (make sure you wear warm shoes and warm socks)
- In spring and autumn it is not possible to avoid mud so your shoes will get dirty.
- In summer you feel the same smell like in ZOO, where is lots of animals. Monkeys obviesly don't have toilet, so watch your step ;)
In summer staff put some grain to the water, because the pool is not as full of monkeys as in winter time.
BIT OF HISTORY
Monkey park was estabilished in the year 1964. Two groups of monkeys were coming close to the rising hot spring and in the winter startet to worming up in the small hole. Local people sow it and made bigger open air bath for them aprox 300meter further. From that time monkeys made they home over here. There is only one grup of monkeys in the moment. From certain point you can see rising hot spring, steam and around high clifs what remind you hell - that is the reason local people started to call this place Hell's valley (Jogokudani). Current owner of Monkey park is Nagano Dentecu railway company.
Monkeys are living in the hierarchy. It means the group has one boss. Park's employee first feed the boss after that his family and in the end ather monkeys. (They feed them 3times in a day, so if you ar lucky you can see that). All of the monkeys have respect from the boss. *In the souvenier shop are hanging portrait pictures of all previous bosses and current one, with the lengt of the time of his leading duration. If the boss die or leave this group, his possiton replace new strong leader. This is picture of current boss of Monkey park ->
- Monkeys are sleaping on the treas in sitting position.
- Staff is feeding them by grain, apples and they pick up fleas from each other or eating leaves, shoots or bark.
(before you leave this place)
- if you have few minutes more, I highly recommend you to have a walk through the very old street of Shibu Onsen. You can even take bath or foot bath in Shibu Onsen and have a lunch. It is 700 years old street full of hot springs, ryokans hotel, guests wearing Yukata, locals in kimono and full of great Japanese atmosphere.
how to get to Monkey park from Yudanaka-Shibu Onsen
snow monkey map
- Distance between Yudanka and Jigokudani Parking place 7km (70-80min on foot)
- Distance between Shibu Onsen and Jigokudani Parking place 4km (40-50min on foot)
- From Jigokudani parking place to entrance of Monkey Park - 1km (10-15min on foot)
- From Kanbayashi to entrance of Monkey park - 2km (20min on the foot)
JR PASS - the cheapest way to travel by train in Japan
I recomend to by Japanese Rail Pass - its the cheapest way to travel in Japan.
You can click the link or on the picture, this company I tried and I think is the best and fastest.
You can buy it online and exchange voucher in JR office at all airports in Japan. They can also deliver to your
hotel in Japan or to your country in 48 hours, for some delivery fee, or free if you buy more of them.
More about JR pass I wrote here