Snow Monkeys: Social Life & Status
Japanese macaques live in a hierarchic troop in which they inherit their status from their parents at time of birth, and from that time, will spend their lives asserting themselves in an effort to retain or improve their standing. While the troop is between 60 to 70% female, there is a dominant alpha running the show at the top.
The boss of the Japanese macaques is not the mean-spirited boss that the name alludes to. He is the leader because of age and wisdom and if it is his time to give the mantle of leadership to a more suitable male, he will do so by leaving of his own accord.
All males will eventually leave the group they were born into when they mature. Some are faster than others and leave upon early maturation around their fifth or sixth years of life, while others stay younger or longer and leave around ten years of age. They might join a new group or continue to roam the world alone for a bit. Solitary males will however, look for a female during mating season and try to scare the other males away from the females.
If they have mated with one of the females of the group, they will stay with the group after the mating and become a member of the troop. That is, until they feel like it is time to move away again. Most males join and leave several groups in their life.
With the Japanese macaques, females bond together. While males leave the troop upon maturation, females stay with the same group for their entire life and have a close relationship with their female family members – mothers, grandmothers, sisters and offspring. There are a great many more females in a troop than there are males. They take care of each other and watch each other’s back when foraging for food or sleeping. Female rank is determined by lineage and the children take over the rank of their mother.
The family bond between mothers and offspring is strong but the father is not acknowledged in any shape, way or form. Females will mate with several males thus making it unclear who could be the father. But that is not to say that the male does not have a close relationship with the members of the troop. The female is focused on just the direct family while the male will jump in to protect any member of the troop if they happen to be in danger.
We think the monkeys are endlessly interesting! From their unique behaviour, to their babies and childcare or their appearance and identifying traits, the monkeys of Jigokudani are truly curious creatures. Needless to say, we are very fond of them.
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MONKEYS?
Based in Nagano and operating all-year-round, we offer a number of group tours that include a visit to the monkey park. All tours are led by locally-based guides and combine a visit to the park with another great destination, activity or event including lunch or dinner. Our tours are fun, interactive and family-friendly. For a more information and a listing of all tours on offer, click on the banner or button below.
1 Day Tour
|1-Day Tour: Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake in Nagano|
|Period||All Year Round|
|Time||09:35 – 17:35|
|Meeting Place||Nagano Station |
Hakuba (winter only)
Of course, we also offer private tours and transport to the monkeys and any regional destination. Our drivers and vehicles are fully certified, allowing us to transport you to and from your preferred destinations in combination with any activity that suits your schedule. All vehicles 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.
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 your adventure in Central Japan and help you discover even more!
Got a question about visiting the monkeys? Click the ‘INQUIRY’ button below or contact us and let’s get planning together!
NEED ASSISTANCE WHILE AT THE PARK?
Need assistance while at the park? 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 bus timetables and information about nearby attractions.
SNOW MONKEY RESORTS ONLINE SHOP
Can’t make it to us? Let us come to you! Our Snow Monkey Resorts Online Shop has you covered for all your monkey needs including official merchandise and travel products. We ship both inside Japan and internationally. All your monkey needs are now just one click away!