Cutest in winter, the famous "snow monkeys" in Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park in northern Nagano relax in hot springs (or "onsens") while humans, allowed up close and personal, marvel at their sedentary lifestyle.

This is a short hike in the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park to see the Snow Monkeys - they're actually Japanese Macaques, native to northern Japan. The 1.6km (one-way) track leads gradually uphill in a forest before opening out in the valley, where a river runs below.

Spend a good amount of time watching the monkeys, who just sit in the hot springs and occasionally pick bugs out of the hair of others.Try not to come exactly on 12pm, because they're fed then - it's cool to see them running around, but they're not as cute as when they're in the baths!

Pack List

  • Money: entry is 500 yen/adult, 250 yen/child
  • Your camera
  • Warm cloths and non-slip shoes suitable for walking on snow/ice (if it's winter)
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RT Distance 2 Miles
Activities Photography, Snowshoeing, Hiking, Fitness
Skill Level Beginner
Season Summer, Winter
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Hot Springs


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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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