The Japanese macaque, better known as the snow monkey, is a terrestrial old-world monkey species native to Japan. Snow monkeys, which are named so because they live in areas where snow covers the ground for months each year, are the most northern living nonhuman primate. The species, known as Nihonzaru in Japan, live in the coldest climates and can be distinguished by their red faces, brown-grey fur and short tails.
The best place to observe snow monkeys in their natural environment as they play, eat, sleep and interact with their families is Jigokudani Monkey Park in Yamanouchi, Japan.
Jigokudani Monkey Park
What? Home of the hot spring bathing, wild monkeys.
Where? Yamanouchi, Japan.
The Jigokudani Monkey Park provides visitors with the incredible opportunity to see wild monkeys bathing in a natural hot spring, known in Japan as an onsen. Founded by Soga Hara in 1965 in an attempt to keep local macaques from harm, the park is located within the monkey’s natural habitat; in the forests of the Jigokudani valley in Yamanouchi.
As you enter the park, monkeys will gather. Accustomed to humans, the monkeys can be observed from very close quarters but as highly protected species, there are strict rules in place meaning you mustn’t touch them - but you can watch! The park has a large open-air hot spring bath built especially for the resident snow monkeys. Marvel as large families of monkeys relax in the warm water - watching how they interact can be highly entertaining. All of this is waiting for you on a cruise to Japan.