These Snow Monkeys in Japan Have Their Own Hot Spring Pools
If you ever find yourself in Nagano, Japan, consider checking out the Jigokudani Monkey Park in Yamanouchi. There you will find large groups of Snow Monkeys (Japanese Macaques) bathing in the park’s natural hot springs.
Established in 1964, the Jigokudani Monkey Park (altitude 850 meters) is located in the Valley of Yokoyu River. Because of the very steep cliffs and the steam coming off all of the natural hot springs, ancient people called this valley ‘Jigokudani’ or ‘Hell valley’. The region is covered in snow almost one-third of the year. [source]
Although the park is open all year round, the bathing monkeys are particularly photogenic when the area is covered in snow. There is usually snow in the region from December to March, and the best timing for a visit is January and February. [source]
The monkeys have become accustomed to humans allowing them to be observed very close up. However, it is still prohibited to touch or feed any of the monkeys. The macaques live in large social groups, so watching them interact with each other can be quite entertaining.