The area is lovely, the walk was a pleasure but alas there were no monkeys when we visited Snow Monkey Park.
However this is what we could have seen if the monkeys were in fact out and about. These are photos I took of the posters in the park.
There are two approaches to the Monkey Park: one requires a 25-40 minute walk through the forest, while the other requires a 10-15 minute walk from the nearest parking lot.
The hike up was absolutely breathtaking. We enjoyed the beautiful walk up the hill to the monkey park, which took about 30 mins. It was such a refreshing change to be amongst the beautiful forest and plain natural beauty.
Although the park is open all year round, the bathing monkeys are particularly photogenic when the area is covered in snow. There is usually snow in the region from December to March, and the best timing for a visit is January and February.
Located near the base of the Joshinestu Kogen National Park, the Jigokudani Yaen Koen (otherwise known as the Snow Monkey Park) is home to a very special troop of monkeys.
The Snow Monkey Park is a unique place where you can observe the wild monkeys going about their daily lives including the unique behaviour of bathing in onsens (natural hot springs).
The park has one man-made pool around which the monkeys gather, located a few minutes walk from the park entrance where there is a small information centre with information mostly in Japanese, souvenirs and lots of photos.
So, although there were no monkeys on the day we visited, it was still a wonderful experience walking in the lovely natural forest where the monkeys live their interesting and unique lives. I have read many stories by folks who did in fact see the monkeys on their visits which only encourages me to return some day so I can really get to live the experience.