Skip to Content

Snow Monkeys – The Japanese Macaque of Nagano

Snow monkeys.

Those two words were all it took to get me on a bullet train out of Tokyo.

Destination: Nagano. The city name was familiar….ah yes, the 1998 Winter Olympics. 13 years ago.

A silver lining to all the cold weather I endured in Japan during Winter was the chance to see snow monkeys, or Japanese macaque as they're formally known, in actual snow. Playing, digging for food, and hanging out in a custom built snow monkey onsen.

One of the adult snow monkeys hanging around the onsen.

One of the adult snow monkeys, hanging around the onsen, looking serious.

A baby snow monkey playing on the ropes.

A baby snow monkey playing on the ropes.

Snow monkeys bathing in and drinking from a natural hot spring.

Snow monkeys drink from and bathe in the same hot spring.

Snow monkey eyes

Several photographers had tripods set up with DSLR's just a foot or two away from the bathing snow monkeys. Their goal was to capture the eyes of the snow monkey, preferably this pose where its head is down drinking, but the eyes roll up to see what's going on.

Snow monkey in Nagano

It's a little out of the way, but I highly recommend a visit to Nagano to see the snow monkeys in their natural environment.

If you liked these photos, be sure to check out additional posts about Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda and Orangutan Trekking in Sumatra.

Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:

Nick Zantop

Monday 6th of June 2011

beautiful photos and gorgeous animals!

Comments are closed.