Soaking Snow Monkeys in Japan
As a teenager I was fascinated by the film ‘Baraka’ which depicted scenes from all around the globe. One particularly intriguing sequence was that of the Japanese snow monkeys, who escape the harsh temperatures of their snowy surroundings by soaking in natural thermal hot pools in the mountains. Now, years later I was able to experience seeing these monkeys up close and personal for myself.
There was some trepidation venturing out to visit the hot pools where the primates bathed. Japan was having a particularly poor snow season – almost unheard of! And so, we were worried that without the backdrop of pure white snow, we may be disappointed. I’m pleased to say we decided to visit.
Although the snow was limited, the opportunity to watch the monkeys play and bathe was fantastic. The way in which they frolicked and mischievously interacted with each other was wonderful to watch. Their expressions of excited capers and outrage were so human like. In particular watching the face of a macaque sliding into the warm water and the accompanying look of sheer bliss on his face was very comical.
As always in Japan the whole setup was respectful, natural and with as little disturbance to the troops as possible. Whether you visit in summer or winter, we definitely recommend you make the time to visit.
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