Jigokudani Monkey Park  (Jigokudani Yaen Koen)

Jigokudani Monkey Park  (Jigokudani Yaen Koen)

Established in 1964, the Jigokudani Monkey Park (Jigokudani Yaen Koen, 地獄谷野猿公苑) was created as a refuge for a local troop of monkeys who now frequent the park on a daily basis. With approximately 150 to 160 monkeys – Japanese macaques to be exact – in the troop, you are likely to encounter many on any given day and with no barriers separating the monkeys from visitors, a visit to the park is a rare chance to walk through and between wild animals going about their lives.

The monkeys have achieved global fame for their unique behavior of soaking in ‘onsen’ (hot springs) and ability to thrive in the deep snow of winter. But don’t let that fool you, the monkeys come to the park throughout the year and are just as entertaining in spring, summer and autumn. See below for more detailed information about the Park, including information about when to go and where to stay:

Where is the Jigokudani Monkey Park?

The History of the Monkey Park

The Snow Monkey Park Throughout the Year

The Snow Monkey FAQs

25 Things to do Around the Jigokudani Monkey Park

Dining Options at the Park

Accommodation at the Park

How to Get to the Monkey Park

Tours and Charters to the Monkey Park

Snow Monkey Resorts Info & Gift Shop

Based in Nagano and operating all year round, we are the region’s No.1 tour and charter operator. Our group tours run throughout the year, including multiple tours to the monkeys. We can also arrange private tours and charters to the park along with any destination in the region, and as a registered travel agent, we can package transport, accommodation and more together so you save and get the most out of your time at the park, Nagano and beyond – scroll to the bottom for details.


The Jigokudani Monkey Park – often referred to as the Snow Monkey Park – is around 35KM / 50-minutes to the north-east of central Nagano City. Open every day, the monkeys come to the park through the year making it one of Nagano’s most popular attractions, When heading to the park using public transport, it will be easiest to do so from Nagano Station, from where an express bus runs directly to Kanbayashi Onsen – where the park is located – or alternatively, you can take the Nagano Dentetsu railway to Yudanaka Station – the nearest train station to the park – and from there, take a local bus to the park. Both options take around 50 to 55-minutes in total to get here. The park is located in the small hot spring village of Kanbayashi Onsen, which itself is located in the wider region of Yamanouchi – a region including the park, multiple hot spring villages, Shiga Kogen Ski Resort, the smaller ski resorts of Kita-Shiga Kogen and Joshinetsu Kogen National Park. Within easy reach of Nagano City, visiting the monkey park as a day-trip is easy while also providing lots of reasons to stay in the area on a multi-day visit.



The founding of the park is thanks to a man called Sogo Hara. An employee of the Nagano Electric Railway (Nagano Dentetsu), Hara was a keen hiker who discovered the original troop while trekking through an area known as Jigokudani, or the ‘Valley of Hell’, in 1957. The area was named as such due to its steep mountains and the smell of sulphur emitting from the natural hot springs that bubble to the surface in the valley. Hara marveled at the monkeys and from that point onward became entwined in their future and story.

At that time the monkeys faced several threats due to human encroachment into their native habitat, and had no choice but to migrate to the lower mountain regions, including Jigokudani, and into areas of human habitation in Yamanouchi. At this point they entered into conflict with local farmers whose crops they raided. Sogo Hara, seeing the need to fix this issue, decided to lure the monkeys back to the mountains with the help of the owners of a local inn, the Korakukan.


This mission was successful. Eventually, the monkeys even began to bathe in the outdoor bath at the Korakukan, normally reserved for human customers. Recognizing the need for hygiene and separation between the humans and monkeys, but not wanting to stop them from bathing entirely, the idea to create a park for the monkeys next door was hatched. With the creation of a new bath only for monkeys, the Jigokudani Monkey Park was formed and has since become increasingly famous over the years.

For more detailed information about the Monkey Park, its history, and why the monkeys love it, please see our page ‘Snow Monkeys & Their Hot Spring: Why They Love It‘.



Most famous for their love of hot springs and antics in winter, the monkeys do in fact come to the park all year round! Each season offers its own reasons to visit. Winter is by far the most popular season while spring, summer and autumn are notably quieter… at least in terms of the number of humans in the park! The monkeys behaviour and routine is reliable throughout the year. While there can be some fluctuation in the times they come to and leave the park each day, visitors to the park can be confident that the monkeys will come almost everyday of the year.


Indeed, with the return of warm weather and the birth of a new generation of playful youngsters, Spring and Early Summer offer a great time to see the Monkeys at their most playful. With less guests in the park, you will also be able to move at your own pace and not worry about crowds.

With the coming of Autumn, cooler days mean the monkeys are more likely to enter the hot springs. In addition, the leaves around the park will start turning beautiful shades of red and orange, making a visit almost worth it for the hike alone. And unfortunately, in some cases that may be all you get. As many fruits are in season in Autumn and the monkeys are trying to devour as many calories as they can before Winter, they are less predictable in this season and may not come to the park at all. Of course, they will still be there most days, but please recognize that as wild animals, the behavior of the monkeys is not controlled or guaranteed. For more information on the park in each season, please see our page ‘The Snow Monkey Park Throughout the Year‘.



As such fascinating creatures, there is a lot to learn about the Snow Monkeys! While coming to the park and watching the monkeys behavior for yourself is perhaps the best way, we know that is not always feasible. What you can do, however, is read our ‘Snow Monkey FAQs‘ page! Packed full of information about the park and the monkeys, none of your questions will be unanswered by the time you finish reading this page!


After you’ve seen the Monkey Park, there is still plenty left to do in the surrounding area! For the complete rundown, please see our page ‘25 Things To Do Around The Jigokudani Monkey Park and Where to Stay‘. Hiking, skiing, cultural activities – all of these things and more can be found within an easily reachable distance from the Monkey Park. With areas like Shiga Kogen being located nearby, it is quite possible to hit the slopes for some skiing before returning to your hotel in Winter, or to venture on an amazing hike in this stunning national park in the other months of the year.

For cultural activities, the nearby town of Obuse is hard to beat. Once home to the famous artist Hokusai, it today has multiple museums displaying the work of this great artist as well as a temple which contains one of his final artworks still on display exactly where he painted it 200 years ago – on the ceiling! For a relaxing dip in the onsen, the nearby town of Shibu Onsen is another spot you cannot miss. And of course, Zenkoji Temple, located in nearby Nagano City, should not be skipped over – its 300 year old main hall and millennium of history are waiting to enthrall every traveler who walks through its gates.



Visitors the the park can enjoy a couple of great dining options starting with Enza Cafe. Located immediately before the trail entrance, Enza Cafe serves both Japanese and Western dishes, coffee and other drinks including craft beer and more – the ideal place to grab a snack or sit down for a meal or drink before or after heading into the park.


Enza’s menu includes delicious chicken ramen, sushi, fried chicken and french fries, coffee, hot chocolate, refreshing soft drinks and juices, and alcoholic beverages. Most menus can be taken out, but please note that food and drinks cannot be taken into the park so if you’re after takeaway, do so when departing the park otherwise your tasty little snack is likely to become the property of one of the monkeys!


The cafe offers both indoor and outdoor seating and a relaxed, open-plan design which encourages you to take your time at the park. For visitors headed there through spring to autumn, Enza’s large terrace is an ideal spot to enjoy a meal and drink – especially beautiful in autumn as the large ‘momoji’ above the terrace turns deep red.


Further down the hill and nearby the bus stops, Hotarutei offers visitors the nearest fine-dining experience to the monkey park Housed in a converted 170-year old farmhouse.


Hotarutei serves an indulgent menu of tempura, wagyu beef, hot pot and sushi in a tranquil atmosphere. Particularly beautiful as the snow falls in winter, we recommend Hotarutei to any visitor looking to enjoy a more traditional Japanese meal during their time at the monkey park. Please note that reservations are required at least 3 days prior to the date of your visit



Visitors to the monkey park are spoiled for choice when it comes to nearby accommodation. Located in the small hot spring village of Kanbayashi Onsen and a short drive from the larger Shibu Onsen and Yudanaka Onsen, the park can be enjoyed while staying at one of the area’s many guesthouses, many of which have their own hot springs, or further afield in Shiga Kogen or Nagano City.


The above mentioned restaurant, Hotarutei, also offers two luxurious villas each equipped with two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchenette, and their own private onsen. Our ‘Where To Stay Around The Jigokudani Monkey Park’ page lists the best areas to stay, our recommendations and accommodation listings.



Nagano Station is the nearest shinkansen stop – on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line – to the monkey park and therefore the most common starting point for visitors coming to see the monkeys. From Nagano, you can take either the Nagaden Express Bus which will drop you nearby the monkey park or alternatively, take the Nagano Dentetsu (Nagaden) train line to Yudanaka Station from where you’ll need to jump on a local bus for the short ride up to the park. Both the express bus and trains – including a limited express and local services – are operated by Nagaden and easily navigable from Nagano Station to the park.

For further information including directions to the park from popular staring points including the ski resorts of Nagano, Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, along with which service is most suitable for you needs, see our ‘How To Get To The Jigokudani Monkey Park’ main page.

Of course, the simplest way to reach the Monkey Park is by partaking in a tour. This will spare you from having to worry about missing your train or standing at the wrong bus stop, and free you up to focus on enjoying the day. If you are interested in a tour, please see the below section for more information.



As Nagano’s No.1 tour operator, we are proud to offer multiple tours that combine a visit to the Snow Monkey Park with other fun local activities. No matter the season, we can help you make the most of your time in Nagano. Whether with your family or friends, or on your own, we are sure to have something that suits your needs!

Our most popular offering is our “1-Day Tour: Snow Monkey Park, Zenkoji Temple and Sake in Nagano“. Guests on this delightful excursion will first be treated to Sake Tasting and a guided tour of the historic Zenkoji Temple in Nagano, including lunch at a nearby restaurant.

With the first half of the tour complete, you will then depart for the Monkey Park on our private tour vehicle. Once you have arrived your guide will lead the way up to the place the Monkeys call home, before you once again board the bus and return to your starting destination.

For those guests coming in the Winter, we also offer the “1-Day Tour: Snow Monkeys & Snow Fun in Shiga Kogen“, combining exciting snow activities such as sledding and riding snow scoots with a visit to the Monkey Park. Lunch is also included, making for the perfect day trip for anyone looking to experience what winter in Nagano is all about!

Another unforgettable tour is our “1-Day Tour: Snow Monkeys & Cherry Blossoms in Nagano“. Including two of Japan’s most amazing natural spectacles, the blooming of the Cherry Blossoms and the hot-spring loving monkeys of Jigokudani, this offering is the easiest way to enjoy a relaxed spring day in Nagano.

For those who want a more customized experience, we also offer private tours of the Snow Monkey Park and nearby attractions such as Zenkoji Temple. For more information, please click the link above or send us an inquiry describing your ideal itinerary.



For those interested in private charter services, we would be pleased to provide a vehicle and propose an itinerary to suite your needs! Please see our charter page and send us your trip details so we can can start planning your journey together.



The Snow Monkey Resorts Info & Gift Shop is located at the entrance of the trail leading to the Jigokudani Monkey Park. Offering a range of services including winter rentals and English language information, luggage storage, along with monkey merchandise and souvenirs including official Snow Monkey Resorts products, the SMR Info & Gift Shop has you covered when visiting the park. Open from early October until late May, 9AM to 5PM, English-speaking staff can answer your questions on your way to and from the park including information about bus timetables and nearby attractions.

Rental snow boots and jackets are available for rent while cramp-ons are available for sale, all essential items for winter when the temperature can drop below -10°C and the trail and path will be affected by snow and ice. Souvenirs available at the shop include original t-shirts and other clothing, hand-knitted snow monkey key chains and purses, toys, and local confectioneries and snacks. For visitors coming to the park between June and September, English information and the same merchandise can be found at nearby Enza Café.



Every Day (All year around)

Winter (Nov to Mar) : 09:00 - 16:00 Summer (Apr - Oct) : 08:30 - 17:00

Adult: ¥800 Child: ¥400 (5-12 years)


Other Snow Monkey Park Pages






Every Day (All year around)

Winter (Nov to Mar) : 09:00 - 16:00 Summer (Apr - Oct) : 08:30 - 17:00

Adult: ¥800 Child: ¥400 (5-12 years)


Jigokudani Monkey Park