The snow continued to fall through the second-half of January and now, well into February; and with that, it’s time for our monthly photoblog! The park is looking with huge amounts of snow piling-up, especially on the southern side of the park which gets little sun during the winter. Indeed some of our guides have been remarking that the snow in early February was the most they had ever seen in the park.
The regular snowfall this winter has meant that not only is the park looking great but the forest trail leading to it has stayed in great condition. During the course of winter, the many visitors walking along the trail to the park compound the snow into ice making it slippery and difficult in places. However the regular and heavy snowfall this winter has continually freshened-up the trail while the much small number of visitors has meant far fewer people walking along the trail.
All of this has combined to mean that the park is well worth visiting this February! As always, the monkeys have been coming in big numbers with a premium placed on getting a spot in or around the ‘onsen’ (hot spring). Days of heavy snowfall see the hot spring fill with monkeys as they try to stay warm – a truly unique sight you will only see at the Jigokudani Monkey Park.
It’s worth remembering that the behaviour of soaking in the hot spring is naturally-learnt; the monkeys having taught themselves to do so after watching humans enjoying onsen at a nearby guesthouse. Indeed the troop that comes to the park each day is the only one in the world known to naturally engage in this behaviour – a curious, adorable and very photogenic thing to do!
Even on days of light or no snow, the monkeys like nothing more than a soak in their hot spring, as they while away the cold winter days thinking of warmer times to come…
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.