February 16, 2012 by staff
Snow Monkey, Groups of wild snow monkeys have recently been spotted warming themselves up in the hot springs of Nagano, located on central Japan’s Honshu Island.
Bathing in hot springs during the winter season is an old Japanese tradition – and one that many wild monkeys enjoy too.
Nearly 100,000 tourists from all over the world head to Nagano’s Jigokudani Hot Springs each winter to witness the “monkey show”.
Around 160 Japanese snow monkeys have been found living around the Jigokudani Hot Springs over the past 100 years.
Although monkeys are usually adverse to water, this group of mostly female and baby monkeys have taken to warming up in the 41 degrees Celsius springs. Outside of the pools, the temperature can drop to negative five degrees Celsius in the winter.
“They’re absolutely beautiful. They look like they’re thoroughly relaxed and they’re very humanised,” said a tourist from Australia. “They’re not worried about us being here at all by the looks of things. I suspect that they’re quite happy. I’m hoping they’re happy, because I’m here taking a hundred of photos of them.”
There are rules and regulations for tourists who wish to take photos and get close to the monkeys. Feeding, touching and speaking loudly around the monkeys has been banned for the species’ protection.
“As long as the humans behave, it seems like the monkeys are behaving and everything is fine. The interaction is good,” said an American tourist.
Staff members from the tourist spot also feed the monkeys with barley, beans and apples every day.
The monkeys are usually found dipping into the hot springs at around 9:00am before they return to their home in the forest during the afternoon, according to one staff member.
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