A Cultural Travel and Expat Blog

Sunday Snapshot: Japanese Macaques

Posted By in Japan | 9 comments

Jigokudani Monkey Park nagano japan

Jigokudani Monkey Park is a natural hot spring area that is home to about 200 Japanese Macaques, or Snow Monkeys. To cope with Japan’s cold winter temperatures, the monkeys spend a lot of time lounging around in a hot spring pool, which, as you might expect, is pretty adorable.

Jigokudani Monkey Park onsen hot springs japan

The most interesting part was that the monkeys flat out ignored all the tourists gawking at them. Perhaps in part because people are not allowed to bring food into the park, the monkeys have zero interest in visitors. They moved directly around us, paying us about as much attention as they would a tree. It was an amazing opportunity to get extremely close to these fascinating animals and watch how they behave naturally in the wild.

What cool animal-related experiences have you had during your travels? 

Would you like to submit a photo to Sunday Snapshot? I’m looking for new submissions! Email me at  jessica@waysofwanderers.com if you’d like to see your photo featured.


  1. Joella J March 16, 2014

    Oh wow- amazing experience Jessica. I would love to see these monkeys in Japan. Interesting that they don't bother the humans. I guess not allowing food in works. I had some cool animal experiences in Argentina. We saw wild penguins, elephant seals and wales!
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  2. Shing March 16, 2014

    I've been dreaming of visiting these Snow Monkeys ever since I clasped my eyes on them whilst watching Baraka. I'm not a person to usually talk about love, but it really was love at first sight. It's great how they ignore people… it's nice to know that we humans don't seem to be disturbing their peace too much. I think one my favourite animal encounters has to be watching the Proboscis monkey in Borneo, I see so much of ourselves in them.
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    • waysofwanderers March 16, 2014

      Same here! The macaques were removing ticks from one another, and it was amazing how human-like their hands were and how thoroughly they searched through each other's fur.

    • waysofwanderers March 17, 2014

      That's funny! When we saw monkeys in Thailand, they were much more like that – very mischievous. That's why I was surprised these ones were so indifferent.

  3. Colleen Brynn March 17, 2014

    Amazing. I love seeing monkeys in the wild. First time was in the Sumidero Canyon in Mexico. Would love to see these guys up close and personal.

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