Where to see the Japanese Snow Monkey

08 Nov 2017 in With Kids

Did you know monkeys are native to Japan? The so-called Snow Monkey is famous for withstanding brutal winters. One of its tricks? Bathing in hot spring baths!


The Japanese Macaque (Macaca fuscata) lives further north than any other primate except us humans. It’s found in many  regions of Japan but is best-known for inhabiting northern climates where snow covers the ground for around a third of the year.

So, how does it keep warm during the harsh winters?

Snow monkeys

Its thick fur allows it to withstand temperatures of -20C (-4F) and live in mountains at 3000m (9600 ft) high. And, in Nagano Prefecture, a group of snow monkeys has found another, more unusual trick for keeping warm: they take a dip in the natural hot spring baths!

Snow monkey hot spring

At Jigokudani Yaen Koen (Snow Monkey Park) in Nagano Prefecture, snow monkeys come down from the thick forests of the Joshinetsu Kogen National Park in the day to soak their bodies in the local onsen.

jigokudani snow monkey park

Seeing them lay back and relax in the warm waters is quite a sight, and has made the park a national phenomenon.

Looking for a place to stay?

Luxury hotel in Matsumoto

Hot spring

Just an hour-and-a-half drive away is the stylish Japanese Alps resort of Hoshino Resorts KAI Matsumoto – where you can sample Japan’s onsen culture for yourself.

Other places to catch Japan’s snow monkeys? In Kyoto, the Iwatayama Monkey Park is home to over a hundred Japanese Macaques.

Japanese snow monkey

Set in the Arashiyama mountains, the park is just a few minutes’ walk from the leafy surroundings of HOSHINOYA Kyoto and offers stunning views of Kyoto.

Kyoto river

Finally, Mt. Takasaki Wild Monkey Park in Kyushu welcomes over a thousand wild monkeys, who come down from the forest to feed in the park.

Where to see monkey in Japan

And where better to stay than Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso, just an hour-and-a-half away?

Hoshino Resorts hotel in Aso




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