TokyoCityTOUR AreaGuide

Chūbu Region

Nagano

Yudanaka

Yudanaka

Photographs of snow-covered Snow Monkeys bathing in open-air-thermal pools have made Yudanaka Onsen famous.

Some 200 monkeys live in this area.

The legend has it that they started to take dips in the hot pools during the 1960s, when a local Japanese inn or 'ryokan' owner took pity on them and left food out in winter.

A special outdoor bath or 'rotemburo' was eventually built for them, and Life magazine dubbed the name "snow monkeys."

Yudanaka Onsen itself is like a small version of Yellowstone National Park, with its bubbling, steaming and sulfurous volcanic vents and pools.

Visitors can see these snow monkeys bathing in summer as well as in winter.