The Japanese macaques of Jigokudani Monkey Park are known as the “Snow Monkeys”. There is however, plenty of time in the year without snow. There is snowfall from the end of November until the beginning of April but after that the warm months melt all the wintry whiteness. One of the most famous features of the monkeys is seeing the bathing the hot spring while there is snow all around. In the warmer months though, you’d have to adjust your expectations.
If it’s sizzling hot and you’ve come to see the snow monkeys, don’t expect there to be snow. Will there be bathing monkeys? That is unlikely. It’s hot enough for them to survive without warming their bodies in the hot spring. What they might do is take a short dip in the water for a swim.
While the monkeys don’t bathe during the warmer months, one of the lovely things to see at that time of year is the baby monkeys. Baby season starts from May. It is a sight seeing the mothers care for their kids and watching the newborns take their first steps. The young monkeys that are born in spring will often be playing and fooling about with their friends so lots of things going on in the park.
In winter, the scenery is spectacular with its snowy landscape. While the scenery is great, the accessibility is somewhat less. The mud and ice make walking the trail a trial at times. The warmer it gets, the more green it becomes and the more walk-able the trail becomes, though be sure to be prepared for a possible muddy trail if rain fell in the days before.
When coming to the park, not just winter, but spring, summer and autumn are good seasons to visit. There is something different to see each season so give the warmer seasons a go!