We encourage all our guests to head out into the countryside to see a little bit of the countryís outstanding natural beauty and to make the choices a little easier we have collected together some of the very best in nature experiences. In this section you will find bear watching in the Japanese Alps, the chance to see the majestic whales which are abundant in Japanese waters, places to view some of Japanís rarest birdlife and much more besides.
Everybody likes monkeys. Well, nearly everybody and for all monkey lovers out there Japan has plenty of places to go and interact with our simian friends.
Perhaps Japan's (and possibly the world's) most famous monkeys are to be found at the small onsen hot spring resort of Yudanaka Onsen in Nagano prefecture. Like all the monkeys in Japan, the monkey's of Yudanaka are Red-faced Macaques. However, over the past few decades the inventive inhabitants of Yudanaka have taken to seeing off the chill of the heavy winter snow with a soak in the volcanic hot springs and hence they have become known as 'snow monkeys'. They are indeed as cute as they sound and between December and the middle of March you are almost guaranteed to see these cheeky monkeys in action.
Visit them on the 'Japan Unmasked' tour or the 'Winter Highlights' tour.
Most of Japan's monkeys live in the mountains but the mountainous national park of Kamikochi provides more than your average chance of
seeing a large monkey troop. You can see monkeys here all year round
although the end of October when the weather is getting cooler is perhaps the best time to visit.
Monkeys to feed
Arashiyama in Kyoto is home to 'Monkey Mountain' and a steep but relatively short ascent of several hundred wooden steps will eventually bring you out on the plateaux at the top where the monkeys are often to be found. Unlike at most other places, here you can feed the monkeys. However, you have to go inside a human cage in order to do so as these monkeys can get quite aggressive when presented with a banana or two!
The beautiful island of Miyajima is perhaps best known for the 'floating' tori gate of Itsukushima shrine, widely considered to be one of the top three most beautiful views in all of Japan. However, a 90 minute hike (or 15 minute cable card ride) to the top of Mt. Misen will bring you an introduction with the local population of Macaques. So whilst marvelling at the view of the inland sea do make sure your sandwiches are still in your bag and are not about to be snaffled by a local!
You can see monkeys all year round. If you want to see sno monkeys in Yudanaka then do be sure to visit when it is snowy - that is from the beginning of December to the middle of March. Outide of thse dates there may well be monkeys around but they won't be 'snow' monkeys!
The monkeys do not head much further north than Yudanaka but in the south monkeys can be found at all times of year. Just like people they are not too keen on the hot and humid summers so tend to not be as active during this season.
Spring is a good time but perhaps the best time to see monkeys is during the autumn.
As you will have seen from the main text monkeys are to be found all over Japan. Kamikochi, Yudanaka Onsen, Miyajima, Kyoto, Nikko, all over Kyushu. In fact during a 10 day holiday in Japan you will unlikely not to visit a destination with monkeys. However, if you are keen to see some monkeys do be sure to ask us and we will make sure this is included in your trip.
Plan your trip
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