Snow Monkeys


Just some shots of Japan’s famous “Snow Monkeys” of Jigokudani (Literally, “Hell Valley” – a little different feel than California’s, though). These little guys are the most northern living primate in the world (that don’t wear clothes). Well, not this particular troupe, but this species. There are more living further north in Japan.


I will admit that it is not really my favorite attraction in the area, but it is right there, and only takes two hours to visit before setting off in the morning by bike, so I usually give my Rural Bike Trip in Japan customers the option of going up to see them, and its always hit or miss. Sometimes the customers LOVE it, and want to spend more time, sometimes the reaction is “Is this it? We walked twenty minutes to see this?”


For camera dorks it is a great place to go what kind of gear people use, and the camera watching is better than the monkey watching.

I have trouble being interested in taking photos of the monkeys, but recently I enjoy taking photos of the tourists that visit. I find it interesting that while cameras in the people hot-springs are obviously prohibited, no one thinks twice about photographing these close relatives in their private grooming and bathing time. (granted, the monkeys don’t care either)

Likewise, in our village, there is a $200 bounty to kill a monkey, because they steal peoples crops, and even go into houses to steal things, but if a hunter were to shoot one of the many tourists who steal the wild vegetables and sometimes even crops out of the fields, that hunter would probably go to jail.

Its a strange world we live in.

If anyone will be in the area, or wants to be in the area, send me an email. If I am free to guide/join you I will (I do regular old van tours too, so no need to worry about riding a bike in winter), otherwise, I will recommend my favorite inns, and activities.

One Life Japan