WINTER (DEC – MAR)
Winter is the season the *Snow* Monkey Park is most visited. The park will be covered in snow, and so will the monkeys. The snow monkeys will enter the onsen to warm up their bodies and have their hands and/or feet hanging out of the bath to release any excessive heat.
Because of the heat, blood rises to their head. This makes their faces get the distinct red color they are famous for. The existence of the Snow Monkey Park helps the monkeys in surviving the freezing winter. They are provided not only with a hot spring to get warm in, but also with wheat and soy beans. Seeing the monkeys in their hot bath is a definite must-see when in Japan.
But beware: you will find not only the snow monkeys in great numbers at the park, but visitors too. Another thing to be aware of is the slipperiness of the snow-covered path and the cold of the winter. For people who need an extra layer of clothing or need more sturdy shoe-wear, stop by the Info & Souvenir shop at the beginning of the Snow Monkey Park trail. The shop is found a mere 20 meters after the ENZA Cafe and you can rent coats and boots or buy boots, gloves and crampons.
Other than being know for the onsen-bathing snow monkeys, the area of Shiga Kogen is also famous for its winter-sports like skiing or snowboarding. People from all over the world come here for their skiing and snowboarding pleasures. After a day of being active on the ski slopes, the best way to finish your day is to get into a nice hot bath.