It’s a very heart-felt Happy New Year from the Jigokudani Monkey Park! We hope our friends all over the world had a wonderful New Year and we wish everyone all the best for the year to come!
The year has gotten-off to a tremendous start at the park, with plenty of snow blanketing the area and monkeys engaging in their usual winter antics. Over the New Year, plenty of visitors took the chance to head to the park and enjoy seeing the unique sight of monkeys going about their lives amongst the snow. As always in winter, the monkeys have been coming in big numbers and spending most daylight hours at the park. Temperatures are very low this year so we can expect that behaviour to continue, as they monkeys take advantage of their hot spring on a daily basis.
With the New Year holidays now coming to a close, visitor numbers at the park are likely to drop dramatically – especially on weekdays. While we are sad that yet again this winter, we won’t be able to welcome many visitors to the park, it does mean for travellers in the region, a visit to the monkeys allows you the rare chance to see them in winter without many other people in the park.
When visiting in winter its worth taking a little time to read and know what to expect. To access the park, visitors must walk a 1.6km / 1 mile forest trail in each direction. Well-maintained and mostly level – other than a 20 metre incline at the beginning and rather steep staircase and ascending pathway at the end – the trail is easy to walk outside of winter but in winter, it will be affected by snow and ice.
The condition of the trail varies a lot from day-to-day. Should you visit while it is snowing or juts after a fresh dump, the walk along the trail is really quite easy as you’ll be walking over fresh, dry snow that helps your foot grip with each step. But should it not snow for some time, or in the unusual event of winter rain, below freezing overnight temperatures and visitors walking over the existing snow compacting it down, mean that the trail can quickly become iced-over and difficult to walk along.
Good quality shoes or boots appropriate for walking on unsealed trails are essential to ensure your safety. For any visitor without appropriate footwear, you can rent snowboots at the Snow Monkey Resorts Info & Giftshop is located next to the trail entrance. You can also purchase crampons – metal spikes that attached to the sole of your shoes or boots – to help you grip the trail as you walk. For further information about what to expect, see our ‘Information About the Walk to the Snow Monkey Park’ page.
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; while our always popular 1-Day Snow Monkeys & Snow Fun in Shiga Kogen Tour combines a morning so snow activities at Japan’s largest ski resort with lunch and an early afternoon visit to the monkeys – just two of the 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.