Jigokudani Monkey Park - Nagano Prefecture

The Jigokudani Monkey Park offers visitors the unique experience of seeing wild monkeys bathing in a natural hot spring. The park is inhabited by Japanese Macaques, which are also known as Snow Monkeys. It is located in the monkey's natural habitat, in the forests of the Jigokudani valley in Yamanouchi, not far from the onsen towns of Shibu and Yudanaka.

The park has one man-made pool around which the monkeys gather, located a few minutes' walk from the park entrance. Visitors will likely already encounter monkeys along the path to the pool. The monkeys live in large social groups, and it can be quite entertaining to watch their interactions. Accustomed to humans, the monkeys can be observed from very close and almost completely ignore their human guests. Naturally, it is prohibited to touch or feed the monkeys.

Although the park is open all year round, the bathing monkeys are particularly photogenic when the area is covered in snow. There is usually snow in the region from December to March, and the best timing for a visit is January and February. Monkeys enter the bath around the year, but they sometimes need some encouragement to do so by park wardens throwing food into the pool, especially during the warmer seasons of the year.

The Jigokudani Yaen-koen (altitude 850 meters) is located in the Valley of Yokoyu River sourced from Shiga-Kogen of the Joshinetsu-Kogen National Park in northern part of Nagano Prefecture.

Opening Hours:

The park is open every day of the year* however opening hours vary between winter and other times of the year due to changing weather conditions, hours of light, and seasonal behaviour of the monkeys.

April to October / Green Season:  8:30 to 17:00

November to March / Winter Season:  9:00 to 16:00

* The Snow Monkey Park is open 7 days a week and there are no fixed holidays in place. The park might close momentarily in case of events like heavy snowfall or absence of monkeys.

Price:

Entrance fees vary for adults, children, and infants:

Adults (18 years & over) = JPY800 per person

Children (aged 6 to 17) = JPY400 per person

Infants (aged 0 to 5) are free of charge

How To Access There ??

  • From Tokyo Station, take the Hokuriku Shinkansen to Nagano Station.

  • From Nagano Station, take the Nagano-sen (Nagaden) train to Yudanaka Station

  • From Yudanaka Station, take a bus or taxi to Kanbayashi Onsen.

  • From there, it's about a 30 minute walk to the Jigokudani Yaen-koen entrance.