The Snow Monkey Park is absolutely a must-visit when you’re in Japan. The monkeys are incredibly cute and cuddly. They are still wild monkeys though, so some caution is advised. We will explain all the things to be aware of on your way to the Snow Monkey Park in this article!
When in the Monkey Park:
Do keep in mind that the park is their habitat, and you are only visiting. So when you’re in their park, keep to their rules.
- Do not touch the monkeys.
- Keep a safe distance between you and the monkeys (about 2 meters). If they come close to you, just let them.
- Do not stare at them. They might take this as a sign of you threatening their authority.
- Do not give any of the monkeys food.
- Do not use a selfie stick or underwater camera.
Walk along the trail:
The only way to reach the Monkey Park is on foot. From the bus stop or parking lot you walk uphill until you see this:
From here your walk starts. Please note that the path is unpaved. If it is a rainy day, expect the path to be very muddy. If it is a snowy day, know that the path will be very slippery and muddy. It is key to have the right shoe-wear and clothes on when walking to the Snow Monkey Park, especially in winter.
If you don’t have sturdy, good shoes or clothes with you, the Snow Monkey Resorts Info & Gift Shop has snow boot rentals or crampons for sale for those who want extra grip. Also, gloves, scarfs, hats and more are for sale and coats for rent.
Bringing food with you:
Bringing food with you on the trail to the Park and into the Park is not allowed. This due to the monkeys reacting quite heavily to the sight of food.
While the snow monkeys of the Snow Monkey Park, the Jigokudani troop, have a constant source of food and are not so easily swayed, there are other monkey troops as well. Sometimes some of these loner monkeys lie and wait for people on the trail to the Park, knowing that people carry food with them. If you do not carry any plastic or paper bags with you they will leave you alone as they assume you don’t have food. If you do have food or bags out, they might bother you.
If you carry plastic/paper bags or food with you, please put these in your backpack or throw them away at the Snow Monkey Resorts Info & Gift Shop in front of the entrance to the Snow Monkey Park.
Possible late arrival in autumn:
In the months of October and November, the monkeys could arrive later to the Park than usual. This is because of two reasons. One is the start of mating season. This business often happens in the mountains, instead of the public space of the monkey park valley.
Another reason is the multitude of fruits and nuts that can be found in the mountains in autumn. Wild nuts, apples, persimmon, etc. are all found in nature in the months of autumn. There is no real necessity to come to the park and get the food that is in the park because there is so much tasty stuff to be found in the wild.
Even though the monkeys might be late, they generally do show up! And when they do, it is quite a sight to see as they all come down the mountain at once!
Going to the Park is lovely to go when you know the above-mentioned facts. The monkeys do not bother you if you do not bother them and will just happily do their own thing and pose for photos if they are given their distance!