Jigokudani (地獄谷), or Hell Valley, is located in Yamanouchi, Nagano prefecture, and is world-renowned for its large population of Japanese snow monkeys. Each morning, these mischievous macaques travel down from the mountains to bathe in the steamy natural hot springs before heading back into the safety of the forests at night.
Geri’s travel tip: If you want a really special experience, book yourself a stay at the family-run “Korakukan” ryokan, featured in the background of this print. The monkeys take over the inn’s outdoor onsen, too, and where else can you brush your teeth while watching monkeys groom each other on the rooftops?
What is a riso print?
These prints use risograph technology, a method of printing developed in Japan in the mid-1980s. It can be described as a mix between screenprinting and photocopying. The risograph process produces prints with extremely vibrant, crisp inks. Sometimes these inks overlap during the printing process to create interesting and unique details—these slight variations and colour shifts are part of the charm of riso, adding character and a handmade feel to the art. These soy-based inks also have a lower environmental impact.
Please note: Riso soy ink is similar to newspaper printing in that they never get fully absorbed into the paper, so take care not to handle the print or touch the ink directly to avoid any risk of smudging.