Jigokudani Monkey Park is home to a group of hot-spring-bathing monkeys. The park is situated in the valley of the Yokoyu River, downstream from Shiga Kogen and just upriver from Yudanaka and Shibu Onsen. Jigokudani, which means valley of hell due to the steam coming fo the spring, is more like a paradise for these Japanese macaques. Covered with thick grey fur, the Japanese macaques are well acclimated to the snowy cold winters. However, a dip in the hot springs is not something a monkey in his right mind would refuse. Since its establishment in 1964, the park became a famous destination for ecologists and photographers to come observe the bathing monkeys.
These park monkeys live in a strict social hierarchy in a troop with one male leader and more than 160 members strong. For hygienic purposes, the macaques were given their own manmade hot springs providing the monkeys with warm relief from the frigid temperatures. The park personnel also feed the monkeys throughout the year to ensure the they don't leave the park. The abundance of food, warmth, and space have kept these snow macaques around for decades.