It’s Christmas Eve and with that, a very Merry Christmas from the Snow Monkey Park! It’s been something of a strange start to winter here at the Jigokudani Monkey Park. We had some good dumps of heavy snow early-on, blanketing the park in the white stuff and sending the monkeys into the usual winter behaviour of soaking in the hot spring.
But then, the snow stopped and other than the occasional flurry, there hasn’t been a whole lot of action since. One side of the park – the side that doesn’t receive sunlight through winter – remains buried in snow while the other side, over the river, is patchy with areas of snow and exposed earth creating a patchwork effect.
Of course the monkeys are none too bothered and are going about their lives. This season’s little ones are experiencing their first winter and are often seen shivering-away, complaining to mum about the cold. Having been born in spring and matured through summer and autumn, all they have known until now are gloriously long, warm days. Winter is a shocked and a test of their resilience to survive it.
The older monkeys have seen it all before and are ready for the winter to come, often seen foraging for what food they can find or enjoying long soaks in the hot spring. For visitors on their way to the park in the next week, the good news is that heavy snow is forecast from tomorrow onward into next week meaning that the park should soon be looking great.
As always, our tours are operating every day over winter as we welcome new and old friends to Nagano. With COVID-19 still preventing international visitors from entering Japan, visitor numbers to the monkey park and Nagano ski resorts remain much lower than the usual winter peak. Despite this, everything is open for business meaning that for those living in Japan, winter 2021/22 is a great time to head to Nagano and enjoy the monkeys, great snow, hot springs, great food and all the winter trimmings.
Our longest-running and most popular tour, 1-Day Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake in Nagano is available every day of year and combines an afternoon visit to the park with morning exploration of Nagano’s near-1400 year old Zenko-ji along with ‘sake’ tasting and lunch in Nagano City – just one of many tours we’ll be operating this winter as we welcome in season 2021/22!
The resorts of Nagano are now all open, so if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to book your winter getaway to Nagano for season 2021/22. Our ‘Winter Deals in Nagano 2021/22’ page lists all of our winter tours, ski packages, accommodation and more. Home to more than eighty ski resorts and some of the best skiing and snowboarding in Asia, Nagano is a true winter playground, within easy reach of Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto & Osaka.
JAPAN SKI RESORTS: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
Boasting some of Japan’s best ski resorts including Shiga Kogen, Nozawa Onsen and the resorts of Hakuba, Nagano spoils visitors when it comes to choosing their winter getaway. Our ‘Japan Ski Resorts’ page has everything you need to know to start planning your ski and snowboard adventure including: LATEST NEWS & DEALS, THE BEST RESORTS IN NAGANO & JAPAN, FAQs and of course OUR SKI PACKAGES, ACCOMMODATION, TRANSPORT & TOURS.
25 THINGS TO DO AROUND THE PARK & WHERE TO STAY
Often referred to as the Snow Monkey Park, you’d be forgiven for thinking the park is only open and the monkeys only venture there in winter. While it’s true they are most famous for their winter antics, the monkeys come to the park all year round and there are just as many reasons to visit in spring, summer and autumn. Located in the beautiful rural enclave of Yamanouchi and within easy reach of Nagano City, visiting the park can be easily combined with plenty of nearby destinations and activities, as a day-trip or multi-day visit. Our ’25 Things To Do Around The Jigokudani Monkey Park & Where To Stay’ page has lots of tips and suggestions of what’s on offer and the best area to stay when visiting the monkeys.