If visiting the Japan Alps in the winter months then the snow monkeys are a must-see, and even in the milder months they are very entertaining. The iconic image of monkeys in natural hot springs will be familiar to Londoners from the ‘Welcome to Japan’ campaign posters on the underground and at Heathrow. They manage to be at once noble and comical, ‘kowai’ (alarming) yet ‘kawaii’ (cute) – much like Japan itself, in fact. They have become a major visitor attraction so expect crowds and rather staged attempts by the wardens to keep them in the baths by throwing in food. Nonetheless this is a very worthwhile stop when making your way through the Japan Alps, and en route you can stop off at the town of Obuse which has one of the best collections of Hokusai’s artworks.