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Photoblog: Jigokudani Monkey Park in December 2020
  • Photoblog: Jigokudani Monkey Park in December 2020

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    As we head into the middle of the month, it’s time for our photoblog for December 2020. December has seen plenty of monkeys in the park each day as the temperature quickly becomes cold and the first flurries of snow swirl through the valley.

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    jigokudani-monkey-park-december-2020

    Still waiting for the first big snow, the monkey brains remain in their autumn mode which means two things – mating and foraging for wild food to plump-up before the long, cold winter ahead.

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    With brains set to mating mode, the mature males are particularly active and contributing to lots of fights and skirmishes. The troop’s alpha male, Toami (pictured above and below), is making his presence known and can be regularly seen around the ‘onsen’ (hot spring), imposing himself on others and generally, being a bit nasty.

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    But do not fear! The monkeys are not aggressive to visitors in anyway, and as long as you follow the park rules – including not showing the monkeys any food and giving them their space – you won’t have any trouble. They only have eyes for each other and aggression is confined to a means of monkey politics.

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    jigokudani-monkey-park-december-2020
    jigokudani-monkey-park-december-2020

    It is interesting to observe this behaviour. If you watch closely, you will see that the monkeys have personalities. While some are hot-tempered like Toami, others are calm and gentle and want nothing to do with the squabbles and in-fighting of the troop.

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    Mothers in particular are protective of their little ones, who don’t yet know to avoid the big males at this time of year. They keep them close, scooping-up their bubs and scurrying at the first sign of trouble.

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    jigokudani-monkey-park-december-2020

    The little ones are always adorable to watch but especially so this time of year. Born in the warmth of spring and early-summer, the troop’s youngest monkeys are facing their first winter. As the temperature drops you will see them shivering away, complaining to their mums, and bunching together to stay warm. For the youngest monkeys, their first winter is always something for an ordeal and an experience that will teach them to love the warmth of the hot spring!

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    jigokudani-monkey-park-december-2020
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    The first good snow of the season is forecast in the coming week and with that, winter is set to get going! Our tours are available every day of the year and we look forward to welcoming new friends and some old ones, to Nagano this winter. With the ongoing affect of COVID-19, expect visitor numbers at the park to be much lower this winter – a great chance to see the monkeys in the deep snow without the usual crowds!

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    All tours are led by locally-based, English-speaking guides with precautions taken to ensure the safety and comfort of guests (along with the guide). For residents of Japan, take advantage of the national ‘Go To Travel’ campaign by booking a tour to the monkey park directly through us. As a participating travel agent, we can package your tour and accommodation so you save more and can enjoy the best of Nagano this autumn and winter.

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    This information is provided as part of our ‘Clean Green & Healthy’ campaign, allowing you to plan and book your future travel to Japan with peace of mind.

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    We hope this information inspires you to plan your next trip to Nagano – with so many outdoor destinations and activities, Nagano and Central Japan offer the perfect getaway!

    PACKAGE ANY OF OUR TOURS WITH ACCOMMODATION!


    When planning and booking your trip to Central Japan, it’s important that you can do so with confidence that your intended destinations will be both enjoyable and safe.

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    As Nagano’s No.1-rated tour and charter operator, we offer a range of services including group tours, private tours and private charters, and accommodation to help you get the most out of your time in the region.

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    Any of our group tours can be booked with accommodation in Nagano, or as private tours starting and ending at locations of your choosing. Please note, depending on the group size, group tours can be conducted using public transport however all private tours are conducted using our own vehicles.

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    We can arrange transport to and from any destination in the region, with a customised itinerary to suit your travel needs. Our drivers and vehicles are fully certified, allowing us to transport you to and from any destination. Vehicles used for private tours are fitted with a protective screen – separating the driver from passenger and luggage area – and our drivers wear protective masks, allowing you to move between your destinations in comfort and safety.

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    We can arrange both private tours with an English-speaking guide or a private charter, including a private vehicle and driver but without a guide. We’d love to be part of that experience and help you discover even more!

    Why choose us?

    Awarded a 2019 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award for our 1-Day Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake Tour – recognised as one of the Top 10 Experiences in Japan – we have the local knowledge and experience to help you get the most out of your time in Nagano.

    Got a question about visiting the monkey park? Feel free to contact us at snowmonkeyresorts@machinovate.com and let’s get planning together!