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Where can one go to watch adorable monkeys in hot springs? The answer is Jigokudani Monkey Park. People often say that they monkey around, but they do not do it like the monkeys in Japan. It is a pleasure to watch frolic Macaques monkeys in the onsen hot spring and to monkey around a bit with them.
The distinctive features of Macaque monkeys are their red faces and their hot spring tomfoolery. These monkeys are a native of northern Japan. However, the Jigokudani Monkey Park or Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park is also the home for many of these. As a result, the prime interest of this park’s guests is an artificial hot spring where monkeys swim, play, or take a loosening up onsen.
Location: Central Japan
Nearest International Airport: Narita Airport, Tokyo
How to reach: 4 hours drive from Narita Airport
Famous for: Snow monkeys bathing in hot pool in winters
Best time to visit: December to March
WHAT TO SEE
The park’s monkeys are Japanese macaques, which live in large social groups. They have become accustomed to human visitors, and so their playful antics can be observed as they interact with one another. The phenomenon of the bathing monkeys occurs nowhere else in the world.
TheJigokudani Monkey Parkgoes by several names like Hell Valley Monkey Park, Jigokudani Yaen Koen, and Nagano Snow Monkey Park. The location of the park is in Yamanouchi city. The wild Japanese macaque monkeys are famous because they visit the park to take a bath in groups in the hot spring. Interestingly, they are the only species of monkeys to be doing so on the planet. To watch them speak with each other, which often looks dazzlingly human-like is an amusement. Regardless, these monkeys are probably, the coolest of the monkeys one will ever get a chance to see.
In the language of Japan, that is Japanese, the common word for monkeys is ‘Saru.’ They find a place in both religious beliefs and the folklore of Japan. The folklore describes them to be swindlers and terrified arbiters. It is a belief that the three savvy monkeys, namely Mizaru (sees nothing evil), Kikazaru (hears nothing evil), and Iwazaru (talks nothing evil), came to Japan from China with a Tendai-Buddhist legend in the eighth century. One can spot various stone monuments of these monkeys throughout Japan. The one that stands out is a carving on the door of Nikko’s Toshogu Shrine.
The Japanese macaques inJigokudani Monkey Parkalso go by the name Snow Monkeys. Their unique characteristic is living under the nippy atmosphere conditions. They are known for their red face, have a short tail, and are natives of northern Japan. In Japanese, they are called Nihon – Zaru. The Macaque monkeys (both male and female) follow a hierarchical pattern and respect their boss. The employees of the park feed themonkeys in hot springsthrice a day. They start feeding the boss, then the family of the boss, and then the rest of the monkeys.
The ethical treatment of the animals is a critical matter that one must research before going to an animal attraction spot. It is the claim of theJigokudani Monkey Park, and the visitor can witness this as well that there are no barriers for the monkeys to keep them in the park. They can come and go as per their will. The employees of the park do not force the monkeys to entertain the guests either. The guests need to wait patiently for the monkeys to get in the mood. If the guests are lucky, they may witness a pool party of monkeys.
The numbers of monkeys are less during the mating season since they prefer to stay in the forest. Even in those cases, the park does nothing extra in an attempt to mollify the guests. It is good to witness the efforts of the park to let the monkeys live naturally.
Jigokudani Monkey Parkis open the entire year, yet the experience varies depending on the time of the visit. The best time to see the Japanese snow monkeys is all through the winter (December-March), provided that the visitor can bear a cold atmosphere and can walk on ice.
During this time, shrouding in snow, the park, and the encompassing region are a treat to the eyes. Moreover, the snow monkeys value bathing in the hot spring during this season the most to escape the cold weather. Capable picture takers generally pick this chance to photograph the monkeys in their snowy characteristics.