Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Haven't you alway wanted a monkey?
North-west of Nagano city is Jigokudani Onsen, home of the bathing snow monkeys. The cute little Japanese Macaques live in the hills and forests around the area, and come down to bathe and play in the hot springs.
The Monkey Park is unique in that there are no fences, the monkeys are free to leave at any time, and sometimes do, there is no guarantee that they will be swimming when you visit, though they do seem to be there more often than not.
The park forbids guests from feeding the monkeys, which is nice as the animals aren't as aggressive towards humans as they can be in other parts of Asia, though certainly I saw a few monkeys give chase to those tourists who got a bit too close in their search for the perfect picture.
I watched this little guy searching for tasty treats for quite some time. He flipped over every rock in the stream looking for food, but sadly I never saw him find any!
We had a great time at the Monkey Park, and even though it's a bit off the beaten path, I'd highly recommend a visit for any travelers in Japan.