Now, you look like the kind of person who loves monkeys. How can I tell from the other side of the Internet? Simple: Everyone love monkeys! They’re cute, they’re human-like, and sometimes they’re just plain fun to watch.
Of course, anyone who’s visited a zoo has seen a monkey, but they’re almost always behind a fence or a window. Don’t you wish you could get just a little bit closer? Turns out you can do just that at Jigokudani Monkey Park in Nagano Prefecture.
We had a chance to check out the park recently and we brought back tons of pictures for you to enjoy!
Jigokudani Monkey Park, whose name literally translated would be the awesome “Hell Valley Wild Monkey Park,” is about three hours from Tokyo on the bullet train. You’ll need to catch a cab from the local train station to the park, but it is worth every minute!
The park is overflowing with monkeys and there’s not a single cage around to keep you and them separate. They’ll happily sit next to people, hang from anything that can support their weight, and even just lie in the middle of the walking path.
There are, of course, some limitations. The four basic rules of Jigokudani Monkey Park are: Don’t get too close, don’t stare at their eyes, don’t touch or scare them, and don’t show or give them food. Basically, don’t do anything to provoke or incite the monkeys. This should probably be common sense, but we can certainly appreciate the desire to pet them. They look so soft and cuddly!
▼ Simple rules. Please follow them!
The monkeys, in case you’re wondering, are Japanese macaques, the primate species that lives the farthest north in Japan (except for humans). If you’re wondering how they survive the winter cold, the answer is easy: They take a dip in the park’s famous hot springs! If you’ve seen photos of the Japanese macaques, also called, appropriately enough, “snow monkeys,” you’ve almost certainly seen photos of them bathing in the park’s steamy waters.
▼ Have you ever seen anything or anyone looking so blissful?
▼Relaxation level? Well over 9000, we’d say.
The park entrance fee is only 500 yen (roughly US$5), so once you get there, it’s a pretty inexpensive destination.
Just to be safe, we left our food in the car and headed towards the entrance. Paying for admission was a cinch and in a moment we were entering the park. Walking in, a lone snow monkey immediately greeted us. Well, “greeted” might not be the best word–the little cutie completely ignored us!
Undaunted by the cold shoulder we’d just received, we headed further in and met our second monkey–lying in the middle of the path sleeping! “What the hell do we do now?” we wondered.
▼ Must. Resist. Urge. To. Snuggle.
▼ Grooming is important, folks!
▼ But it’s best if you can get someone else to do it for you.
The answer was simple: Just go around. Walking carefully, we squeezed by the napping macaque, and he didn’t even notice. Whew! In fact, as we got further into the park, we were amazed at how familiar with and disinterested in humans the monkeys were. They mostly completely ignored us and they hardly even noticed when we bumped into them by accident. Now, we’re not saying it’s okay to touch them (don’t even think about it) but it seems that they’re extremely relaxed and won’t get upset by a little accident.
Hmm…maybe we could all learn a lesson from them.
▼”Hey. What’cha doin’?”
Anyway, since it was still pretty warm out, the monkeys weren’t really interested in bathing in the hot springs. Though a bit of a disappointment, it’s not a big deal. That just means we have a reason to go back!
If you want to visit Jigokudani Monkey Park, you can check out the park’s website for more information. Their address is 6845 Yamanouchi-machi Shimotakai-gun, Nagano, Japan 381-0401 and their phone number is 0269-33-4379.
So, if you have some free time over the winter vacation this year and you can’t think of anything to do, consider heading up to Nagano Prefecture to check out the monkeys! Just be sure to bring a coat or you might end up frozen in place like these waves.
All photos by RocketNews24
Now, enjoy the rest of the photos from our awesome trip below!
▼ So cute, we can hear you squealing half-way around the world.
▼ “Yo, bro, do you mind?”
▼ “Ahhhh…this is the life!” Now they’re just rubbing it in.
▼ “Hmm…what should I do today? Oh, I know! Be the cutest monkey in the world.”
▼ This kid has the right idea!
▼ Just taking a nap. Being a monkey is, apparently, very tiring.
▼ Finally, this totally happened. And it was so cute!