Guests have been complaining this November about the Snow Monkey park. They walk all the way from the Kanbayashi bus stop and enter Hell’s Valley only to find that there are no monkeys! Where have they gone, and what are they doing? Since the beginning of November, the snow monkeys have been mysteriously absent from their cozy hot spring valley.
The Jigokudani Snow Monkey park is not a zoo–it is primarily a park for the observation of the behavior of wild monkeys. The monkeys are free to come and go as they please, but hang out here for the valley’s hot springs and occasional feedings from the staff. For half of a month now they have been off in the mountains and the park has been closed.
It seems that mating season has made the troop very active, and they have been far off in the mountains. Employees from the monkey park have been looking for them, and succeeded in finding the troop on November 17th. They gestured and led the monkeys back towards the park, but many monkeys seemed restless and some of the bigger males had scratches and minor injuries. While monkeys are currently around the park, they have been coming and going as they like, and there’s no guarantee that they will be here to welcome you when you arrive.
This mating season seems especially long this year and the staff are baffled. It may be the unusually temperate weather, the alignment of the stars or that Venus is in retrograde. But as the weather drops and snow falls, the troop will certainly be back to bathe in the waters of Jigokudani. And when they do come back in force, we can hope that they’ll bring back lots of adorable babies.
For more information. . .
Look out for updates and check out the webcam on the front page of our site before making the hike up to the park!
Here is a notice from the Jigokudani Snow Monkey park blog about the current monkey crisis. They may post other notices in English as the situation develops and resolves.