Hakodate Tropical Botanical Garden
Hot-tubbing monkeys in winter and some of the world’s most exotic plants.
Strange-looking flowers and endangered plant species await visitors at the Hakodate Tropical Botanical Garden — Japan’s biggest collection of tropical plants. Even more strange and intriguing are the community of monkeys, whose favorite pastime is chilling in their winter-time hot tub while living on the grounds.
A vast colorscape that will brighten even the bleakest days.
Cacti, fruit trees and even some plants that can only otherwise be found in southern Japan are among the highlights of the garden, which prides itself on having 3,000 plants on display from over 300 species. The Angel Trumpet flowers and other plants inside the greenhouse create a vast colorscape that will brighten even the bleakest days.
The hot-tubbing monkeys
Rare, sprawling plants sound interesting for sure, but the real highlight of this place is the cheeky, bathing monkeys. Though some people have complained about the monkeys’ environment — a concrete jungle gym — it’s interesting to watch their quirky personalities.
From Dec. 1 until Golden Week (the beginning of May) you can view around 100 monkeys bathing in their playground-esque enclosure. During these months, water from nearby hot springs is brought into a pool in the playground for them to warm up in. In other months, you can still visit the monkeys, but the quirky sight of them all relaxing inside the hot spring bath is the main point of interest for most visitors. It can only be witnessed in winter months. Inside the greenhouse you’ll also see different types of tortoises, Japanese carp and other tropical fish.
In the area
The tropical botanical garden’s location is great for exploring some of Hakodate’s other famous sights.The famous Yunakawa onsen is located just around the corner, if you want to see even more bathing monkeys. If you’d rather stick to the botanical garden area, you can enjoy the free foot onsen spots just outside the greenhouse.
A popular choice for families will also be the big water square that operates in the summer. Other activities for children include the botanical garden’s play park and battery-operated go karts for the smallest children.
Whether you are visiting in the summer, or escaping the cold winters of Hokkaido, a trip to the botanical garden’s greenhouse facilities will liven up your day.