Award Recipient: Jigokudani-yaenkoen Co., Ltd.
Area: Yamauchi Town, Nagano
Jigokudani Monkey Park is in northern Nagano Prefecture. In the wintertime, the snow blankets the area. Monkey species generally inhabit tropical and subtropical regions, so a species that inhabits a place where snow falls, such in Japan, is unusual. The Japanese monkey is called the “snow monkey.” *Not counting humans, Japanese monkeys are the furthest north living primate species, with the northernmost limit being Aomori. Many tourists from overseas have come to visit in recent years, and the snow monkeys live up to their name, risking their lives in the cold winter snow. Now, the term snow monkey refers to the monkeys at Jigokudani Monkey Park. Lured by food from park employees, the Jigokudani monkeys come down from the mountains in the morning and return in the evening. They have continued this lifestyle, and though they visit the park in the daytime, they still live wild lives up on the mountain, as they always have, ever since ancient times. Within the Jigokudani Monkey Park environment, which has no cages, there are places where you can safely observe this fascinating ecosystem. While the sight of the monkeys in the hot springs in winter leaves a strong impression, it is not the only scene that encapsulates the lifestyles of the monkeys. You can enjoy watching them in various states and doing various activities all year-round.