Highlights and access methods of Jigokudani Monkey Park (Nagano Prefecture)

In this article, we will explain the attractions of Jigokudani Monkey Park in Nagano Prefecture and how to access it for those who are traveling to Japan from overseas.

Jigokudani Monkey Park(0)

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(Prefecture : Nagano , Category : Parks and Gardens)

About Jigokudani Monkey Park

Jigokudani Monkey Park, situated in Nagano Prefecture, is a one-of-a-kind tourist attraction that offers visitors the chance to observe wild Japanese macaques, or "snow monkeys," in their natural habitat. These fascinating creatures are known for their unique behavior of bathing in the area's natural hot springs, especially during the snowy winter months, to keep warm and socialize with their troop. The park is set within the stunning landscape of the Japanese Alps, offering not only an intimate glimpse into the lives of the snow monkeys but also breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests. Jigokudani Monkey Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, providing an unforgettable encounter with Japan's native fauna amid a beautiful natural setting.

Highlights of Jigokudani Monkey Park

Jigokudani Monkey Park, located in the Nagano Prefecture of Japan, is a unique and fascinating attraction for international tourists. The park is famous for its large population of Japanese macaques, more commonly known as "snow monkeys," that freely roam the area and can be observed up close by visitors. These wild monkeys are known for their exceptional intelligence and distinctive red faces, which make them stand out from other species.

One of the main highlights of the park is the natural hot springs, or "onsen," that the monkeys frequently visit, especially during the colder months. In winter, the park is blanketed in snow, creating a striking contrast between the white landscape and the macaques' reddish faces as they bathe and play in the hot springs. This remarkable scene is not only a delight for photographers but also a rare opportunity for tourists to witness the natural behavior of these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat.

While the park is open year-round, the winter months (December through February) are the most recommended season to visit Jigokudani Monkey Park. During this time, the snow-covered landscape enhances the beauty of the area and the monkeys are more likely to frequent the hot springs, providing visitors with the iconic sight of snow monkeys bathing in steaming waters. However, visitors can still enjoy the park during other seasons, as the monkeys can be observed throughout the year.

In addition to the captivating experience of observing the snow monkeys, the park offers several walking trails through the scenic forests, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the stunning natural environment. Furthermore, the park is easily accessible by public transportation from major cities like Tokyo, making it a convenient day trip for those who want to experience a unique and memorable encounter with Japan's famous snow monkeys.

Address and access method of Jigokudani Monkey Park

Jigokudani Monkey Park is located in the Nagano Prefecture of Japan. The park's address is 6845 Yamanouchi-machi, Shimotakai-gun, Nagano 381-0401, Japan.

The nearest train station to Jigokudani Monkey Park is Yudanaka Station. Yudanaka Station is served by the Nagano Dentetsu Nagano Line, which connects Nagano City with the hot spring towns of Yudanaka and Shibu Onsen. To reach the park from Yudanaka Station, you can take a local bus or taxi to the park entrance, which is approximately a 15-minute ride. From the entrance, there is a 1.6-kilometer (1-mile) walking trail that leads to the monkey park. Please note that the trail can be snowy and slippery during winter months, so appropriate footwear is recommended.

Attractions near Jigokudani Monkey Park

There are several other attractions near Jigokudani Monkey Park that are worth exploring:

Shibu Onsen
This historic hot spring town is located near Jigokudani Monkey Park and is known for its charming, traditional atmosphere. With narrow streets lined by traditional ryokan (Japanese inns) and public bathhouses, Shibu Onsen provides visitors with an authentic Japanese onsen experience. Guests can try "onsen-hopping," visiting multiple bathhouses, and enjoy the relaxing, therapeutic properties of the hot spring waters.

Yudanaka Onsen
Another hot spring town in the vicinity, Yudanaka Onsen offers a variety of accommodations, restaurants, and shops. It also has several public bathhouses where visitors can experience the rejuvenating hot spring waters. Yudanaka Onsen is a convenient base for those planning to visit Jigokudani Monkey Park, as it is the closest town to the park with easy access to public transportation.

Zenkoji Temple
Located in Nagano City, about an hour away from Yudanaka Station by train, Zenko-ji Temple is one of the most important Buddhist temples in Japan. The temple is home to the first Buddhist statue brought to Japan in the 6th century and attracts millions of pilgrims and tourists each year. The temple grounds are extensive, featuring beautiful gardens, pagodas, and other structures that showcase traditional Japanese architecture.

Shiga Kogen
This popular ski resort area, located about an hour's drive from Jigokudani Monkey Park, offers excellent skiing and snowboarding opportunities during winter. With a large number of slopes for various skill levels, Shiga Kogen is an ideal destination for winter sports enthusiasts. In the warmer months, visitors can enjoy hiking and exploring the beautiful alpine scenery of the surrounding Shiga Kogen Highlands.

A small town about an hour away by train from Yudanaka Station, Obuse is renowned for its chestnuts and beautifully preserved historical streets. The town is also known for its connection to the famous Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai, who spent his later years in Obuse. Visitors can explore the Hokusai Museum, which exhibits a collection of his works, and enjoy the town's charming atmosphere and delicious chestnut-based delicacies.

Other information about Jigokudani Monkey Park

Official site (English version) about Jigokudani Monkey Park :


Jigokudani Monkey Park(1)

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( Written by Tatsuo Ikura )