The opportunity to visit the Nagano Snow Monkeys is a truly unique experience. You are able to view these wild monkeys close-up in their natural habitat. There are no enclosures. If you enjoy photography then it is an especially great trip in the winter. During the winter months the monkeys sit in the hot springs to keep themselves and their babies warm. They are accustomed to people watching them and they didn’t seem interested in us at all. They let us get really close and I didn’t see any of them displaying aggressive behavior. Please note that it is strictly forbidden to feed them in order to maintain their disinterest in humans. I went on this trip in January with an ITT tour. I highly recommend it. It is important to note that from the area where you park you have to walk about one mile up the mountain in order to get to the monkeys.
On the day I went it was lightly snowing and the path was very icy and slippery. On a day like this I recommend wearing a pair of snow or hiking boots with a lot of traction and bringing a sled for any small children in your group.
There are some steps but most of the way is fairly flat. There are bathrooms available at a small hut near the monkeys and hot chocolate is available for ¥100. It’s well worth the visit. – Entry & photos by Kelly O’Donnell, January, 2012
If you forget to pack something, there are items to purchase or rent at the site. You can rent a jacket for 500 yen and boots for 800 yen. Or you can purchase gloves/earmuffs/socks for 500 yen, scarf/beanie 1000 yen,crampons for 1350 yen and boot for 4000 yen. -Raquel Zaragoza, February 2017