As the name implies this species is endemic to Japan and exists nowhere else on earth. Just like most oft he other macaque species, the Japanese macaque is intelligent and opportunistic and will seize any opportunity humans offer by accident or intent. There are many monkey parks in Japan, where they are fed and provided for in return for ticket sales to tourists, like is the case here at Jigokudani Monkey Park in Nagano.
Getting up close to wild groups in Japan takes quite some effort and good connections with locals, so visiting Jigokudani Monkey Park might seemed like a good idea as there is a hot spring there drawing in the macaques. I had hoped for deep snow, but the global warming has made that a very sporadic thing and I arrived to a landscape with no snow. What I saw was a place far from natural. The snow will give the appearance of a natural setting, but without it the human impact is too much.
The place is utterly overcrowded with macaques, causing constant fighting. Yet the owners hand out seeds constantly to keep them around for the paying visitors. Every time the macaques want to leave and hike up the hills, they temp them back with more food.
For this reason I focused on portraits and close-ups rather than environmental settings.
Last Updated on 16 May, 2021 by morten