Jigokudani Yaen-Koen

Head to Hell’s Valley for Scenery and Monkeys

Although Jigokudani changes dramatically depending on the season, one of the most popular times to visit is winter, when there is a chance to see the monkeys that inhabit the valley soak in a hot spring to warm up!

Nature & Outdoor Activities Family Fun Scenery
Enjoy the changing beauty of cherry blossoms, fall leaves, and snow monkeys all in the ironically nicknamed Hell’s Valley.

Enjoy the changing beauty of cherry blossoms, fall leaves, and snow monkeys all in the ironically nicknamed Hell’s Valley.

The Jigokudani Monkey Park, sometimes referred to as the “Paradise of Monkeys,” is part of Nagano Prefecture’s Joshinetsu-Kogen National Park. Located at 850 meters above sea level and defined by steep gorges, volcanic activity, and unique fauna, it has quickly become one of the nation’s top tourist haunts. Though snow monkeys lolling in natural hot springs have helped the park build its global reputation, there’s more to it than red-faced primates and the constant puff of sulfur scented plumes of steam.

How you experience the park is very much dictated by the time of year. In winter, white powder crowns the trees, and the sound of visitors chatting as they hike is accompanied by the crunch of snowshoes, provided by the park. The typical Nagano winter weather creates a wonderful setting for a walk through Jigokudani, but it is a cold and wild environment, so visitors should wear warm clothes and boots appropriate for cold weather. Plus, it’s the time of year you’re most likely to encounter the eponymous monkeys.

In the warmer months, you can still enjoy hiking through scenery that shifts with the seasons, from cherry blossoms in spring to bright foliage in fall. It isn’t unusual to see monkeys gathering in groups in the wilderness. Visitors may also notice steam rising off the natural springs, especially as you pass by the traditional inn that rests in the valley on the way to the spring; evidence of the volcanic power lying just below the surface that gives the area the moniker “Hell’s Valley.”

Jigokudani Yaen-Koen

Jigokudani Yaen-Koen

As the seasons change, so do the experiences you’ll have at Jigokudani Yaen-Koen. Head about three hours north of Tokyo to Nagano Prefecture by train to get a glimpse of the cool bathing snow monkeys. And if you’re wondering what else is there to do while in the area, check out our model itineraries here.


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Business hours

08:30 - 17:00 (April - October)
09:00 - 16:00 (November - March)


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