Visiting the Snow Monkeys, Yudanka

Ready to see some monkeys having a spa? Then it’s time to head to Jigokudani Yaen Koen where you’ll be able to see the famous snow monkeys chilling out in the hot springs near Yudanaka.

Translated, Jigokudani literally means ‘hell’s valley’ and this is due to the steam and hot water which bubbles out of the small cracks in the frozen ground. And these irresistible hot springs are exactly what attract the resident Japanese Macaques!

These wild monkeys live in large groups in the forest but they come down to the hot springs to warm up and enjoy the finer things in life. Watch them soak and interact with one another up close; they are very used to human presence and tend to ignore observers. This means you’ll be able to see them up close and get some excellent photos.

For obvious reasons they favor the hot springs in the colder months, but you’ll find them in these parts having a soak and a catch-up year round. Access to the park is a 15 – 20 minute walk, but it’s a moderate and leisurely stroll with lots of scenery to enjoy. Thanks to its rather limited access through the forest, the park is usually fairly uncrowded.

Highlights

  • See the famous snow monkeys

  • Enjoy a short and scenic hike

David
Travel Designer
Let's talk
I love Japan for its striking contrasts of cities and national parks, and living and teaching in Tokyo was the chance to perfect my Japanese. I’ve now been a Japan travel specialist for 10 years and have explored it top to toe. My next challenge is to cycle the entire island of Shikoku, with its pilgrimage trail of 88 temples!

Trips that include this experience