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Jigokudani Monkey Park

Located 2,789 feet (850 meters) above sea level in the Valley of Yokoyu, Jigokudani Monkey Park stands out as one of Japan’s most popular and unique onsen. Onsen, the Japanese term for hot springs, are popular throughout the country, and the onsen found in the frequently snow-covered region of Joshinetsu-Kogen National Park in Northern Nagano prefecture attracts more than just human bathers.

The forests of the valley serve as the natural habitat of wild Japanese Macaques, or Snow Monkeys, who gather in large groups to bathe in the natural hot spring water. Jigokundani Monkey Park features a manmade onsen where the natural hot water collects and the monkeys congregate. Since they’re quite accustomed to human observers, it’s possible to view them from close range.

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