Jigokudani in Japan: where snow monkeys bathe in hot springs

Jigokudani in Japan
Where snow monkeys bathe in hot springs

A hot bath always helps.

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It’s hot in Jigokudani Monkey Park even on cold days. Because the Japanese macaques know how to warm up properly in winter.

Bad weather and icy temperatures affect many people’s minds. How good that a look at Japan could put a smile on the face of one or the other. Because the macaques in Jigokudani Monkey Park have discovered a great way to warm up and get on with the cold winter.

The Jigokudani Monkey Park is located in the Yokoyu River Valley in Nagano Prefecture on the Japanese Honshu Peninsula and is part of the Jōshin’etsu-Kōgen National Park. A special kind of monkey has made itself comfortable there. Originally, the Japanese macaques only came in the winter months to warm up in the hot springs. They are now being fed by the employees of the park, which is why the animals can also be found there in the summer months.

Bathing with the animals is prohibited

The name “Jigokudani” is no coincidence. Translated it means hell valley. With a look at the plumes of steam that rise from the springs and waft through the valley at temperatures around minus five degrees Celsius, it becomes clear how the place got its name. If you want to see the red-faced monkeys relax in the “onsen”, you can do so from November to March. From Tokyo, take the Kagayaki bullet train, which takes visitors to Nagano in just under an hour and a half. From there it goes by bus to the monkey park. By the way: bathing with monkeys is strictly forbidden for health and hygienic reasons, however relaxed and cute the animals look. The Japanese macaques are and will remain wild animals.

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