Jigokudani, meaning “Hell Valley”, is famous for its population of Japanese Macaques. During the winter, when snow starts to fall, the monkeys head down to the valley, to take advantage of the natural hot springs. There, the steam and boiling water keeps them warm. During the summer, most monkeys return to the surrounding forest areas, although many still remain by the hot springs.
Japanese Macaques are born into a strict social class system. Groups have an alpha male, which changes whenever the alpha male dies or leaves the group. Female’s can maintain or achieve a higher social status, by grooming their peers.