Getting to Jigokudani is relatively difficult, as the environment is harsh with heavy snowfalls (snow covers the ground for 4 months a year), the elevation is around 850 meters (about 2790 feet), and the only way in along the narrow 2 kilometer long footpath through the forest. Public transport in these parts is a bit sporadic, your only real option being the bus company servicing the snow resorts of Shiga Kogen and Yudanaka Onsen. The bus timetable is pretty sparse, so if you are going to visit you would need to allocate the better part of a day, and ensure that you have the times of the descending buses written down so that you do not need to wait for too long at the bus stop (the weather up in these parts can change quickly for the worse).
The monkeys in this valley are Japanese macaques (one of the 22 species of monkeys in the genus Macaca), part of a group of primates whose habitat stretches from Japan through to northern Africa (only humans – genus Homo – are more widespread). This species is found on Kyushu, Shikoku and Honshu having crossed from Asia via land bridges.