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Yamanouchi & Joshinestsu Kogen National Park

If you’re looking for a winter adventure, Yamanouchi is a must visit destination. Watch the wild residents of the area’s Jigokudani Monkey Park bathe in the park’s natural hot springs.

Originally designed for humans, the monkeys commandeered the springs and now use it as a base to keep warm in the cold winter – away from the snow. If you’d like to get in the waters yourself visit the nearby towns of Shibu Onsen and Yudanaka Onsen. Yamanouchi is also home to Japan’s largest ski resort, Shiga Kogen, one of the venues of the 1998 Winter Olympics. Hiking and other outdoor activities are available in Joshinetsu Kogen National Park once the snow has cleared.