The Japanese snow monkeys who live in Joshinetsu-Kogen National Park are wild; annually I lead several Japan photo tour groups to photograph them. Over one hundred and sixty wild macaque’s call the hot spring area home. They don’t all belong to the same troop; there are three large troops in the area. Only the strongest monkey troop lay claim to the hot springs; it’s the prime real-estate in the park! In the Spring of 2017, the hot springs were closed for several days to tourists, as two hostile monkey troops struggled for ownership of the hot springs. These incursions occur every few years in the early spring or summer, during this time the hot spring may be open with extra staff on hand. In my twenty years visiting and photographing in Jigokudani park, I have never seen a nature photographer get into serious trouble with a snow monkey, but I have seen some foolish tourists get into trouble. I once saw a tourist locking eye with a wild snow monkey; just inches away from face to face; this lasted for a few second then (ouch the monkey lashed out!) ‘I was about to pull the person away,' but I was too late, and so was the park staff. Jigokudani Yaen-Koen has a list of rules and regulations,, to read themclick here, they are also posted on plaques as you enter the park.