Japan Monkeys the Snow

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Red-faced monkeys are swimming in a hot spring, probably while snow is falling around them. These Japanese snow monkeys are the Jigokudani macaques (also known as the “Valley of Hell”), located in the foothills of the Japanese Alps.

The truth is that Japan’s snow monkeys are easily accessible. In fact, you can get there during a day trip from many major cities in the mountainous center of Honshu and even through Tokyo, if you use your time well. And they are open to visitor all year round.

Keep reading to learn more about these adorable creatures, including answer to important questions about the ethics of snow monkey tourism. I will also show you how you can visit them during your own trip to Japan, regardless of where you are from and how much time you plan to spend in the country.

The history of the snow monkeys of Japan

It is not known how long the red-faced monkeys have been swimming in the onen of the so-called Hell Valley in Japan (or how long people liked to watch them in action), but the Jigokudani yaenkoen Park has been open since 1964. And since then they have been a success: although the exact number of visitor is not published, hundreds of tourists make a trip to the hot springs every day, especially in the winter months when the pools are covered with snow.

It is not surprising that the popularity of the park has increased dramatically in the Internet era, as many articles about monkeys have gone popular on social networks. And since the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020 are approaching with great strides, this course should not be changed in the foreseeable future.

Is it possible to swim with Japanese snow monkeys?

In a word, no. In addition to the fact that the water in it burns at a temperature of 41 ° C slightly in most hot springs where people bathe), it is full of monkey droppings. In addition, Jigokudani snow monkeys are very wild animals, although they are mostly tolerant of humans, and although they are not known to be rabid, they can carry ailment in matter one of them bites you.

If you want to take a dip in the hot springs (which is probably a good bet if you visit Jigokudani in winter, when temperatures can drop to – 10ºC or even higher), visit one of the many hotels near Yadanaka Onen, where you can buy a one-day swimming, even if you don’t. you’re spending the night. Your face will turn almost as red as a monkey’s, but there should be no peril of poop at all!

Is it ethical to visit Japanese snow monkeys?

Despite the fact that Jigokudani is supported by naturalists, it is not a zoo or anything like that. Japanese snow monkeys can come and go at will; and human visitor are strongly discouraged from touching the monkeys or bodily interacting with them in any way. While other Japanese animal attractions (Tokyo cat cafes and, nowadays, for owls) have attracted review because of the small spaces in which they keep animals, the Onen Hell Valley monkey is almost as wild as it seems.

Another important thing to remember about jigokudani is that eating is strictly prohibited, even if you don’t plan to give it to monkeys. Getting these wild animals into human food (or, even worse, into the plastic they are packed in) can have devastating consequences. Before leaving, have a snack with a luxurious meal in Nagano, so that you will not be tempted to buy anything at 7-11 that may the ecology of the Japanese monkey onen.

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