The world-famous, hot spring-loving snow monkeys in Yamanouchi, Nagano Prefecture must be Japan's most photographed wild animals. "The only place in the world where monkeys bathe in hot springs." They live in the mountains in a valley named Jigokudani (Hell Valley). A snow monkey park (Jigokudani Yaen Koen) was established for them in 1964 where the park operator feeds the monkeys and maintains a hot spring (onsen) bath for them. Although winter (with snow) is the most popular time to see the monkeys, the park is open year round (9 am – 4 pm).
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Shibu Onsen is a hot spring resort with many inns where you can stopover and relax in a variety of hot spring baths. Shibu Onsen is also where most people stay when visiting the famous snow monkeys at Jigokudani Yaen Koen monkey park. Adjacent to Shibu Onsen is Yudanaka Onsen, another hot spring town that is seamless with Shibu Onsen.
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