It’s a typical November here at the Snow Monkey Park. The temperature is dropping quickly with strong hints of winter in the air. But before winter arrives, we are being treated to a typical November in Nagano – brisk mornings and cold nights interrupted by beautiful days of sunshine – with the monkeys loving the last warmth of the year and abundant food in the forest.
We are now one month past the impact of Typhoon Hagibis on the Nagano region. While many lives in the region remain affected by the aftermath of the typhoon, the Snow Monkey Park reopened quite some time ago and water has since been restored to the hot spring (which was damaged in the storm). Final repairs to the park are now underway and while some areas are still off limits, staff are working hard to restore the park to its best as quickly as possible.
*Since the above two photos was taken, the water has been fully restored to the hot spring.
Through October and into November, the usually reliable routine of the monkeys becomes less certain as they are distracted by the tasty wild food available in the mountains and the requirements of mating season. Though less reliable at this time of year, it remains rare that they don’t come at all. They are instead more likely to come in smaller numbers or late – one of the reasons we take our tour guests to the park in the afternoon!
While the monkeys returned to the park sometime ago, they seem a little spooked by the storm and have been notably unreliable in recent weeks. This should end shortly and they are still in the park regularly enough to plan your visit as they go about their monkey lives wrestling, bathing, grooming and foraging.
This year’s babies are around 6 months of age and have the size and robustness to soon experience their first winter. Not familiar with the frosty winter to come, they seem to feel the cold more than the older monkeys and huddle together to keep warm. It’s one of the more adorable sights this time of year.
The older monkeys go about their lives with idle thoughts of the winter to come. They’ve seen it all before. Their coats are now thickening to help survive the winter, through which time many of the females will be pregnant and retreat to the onsen. Research has shown that pregnant females spend the most time soaking in winter as it directly aids with their pregnancy.
As Nagano’s No.1 tour provider, we operate all year round with daily tours to the Snow Monkey Park. We’d love for you to join us!