In no way can I do justice writing about the snow monkey adventure we had last weekend. It really defies words, but with photos and descriptions, I'll try...
I mentioned before this trip was a planes, trains, and automobile adventure.
Here's how it went: We flew from Okinawa to Toyko, embarked on a super fast bullet train from Tokyo to Nagano, spent the night there and enjoyed the luminary festival, and then woke the next morning to catch a bus into the mountains.
From the bus stop, we then WALKED another 2 km into the Jigokudani Monkey Park. We had beautiful sunny weather that morning, and the hike through the snowy narrow mountain path was magical.
Once we entered the park, monkeys were everywhere.
Planning the trip, I had envisioned seeing five or six monkeys scamper by quickly. I thought we'd have to scramble to take photos and video before they ran off into the woods. But we encountered probably 100 monkeys leisurely roving about the site. According to locals, about 200 macaques live in this park.
The main attraction were the monkeys that sit in the hot springs to warm themselves.
Are you wondering if the monkeys get cold afterwards? The answer is no. We learned that macaques, unlike humans, do not have sweat glands that cool them off.
There were also plenty of chances to see monkeys frolicking in the snow.
The baby monkeys were about the cutest things ever, little puffy fur balls that hopped around. This baby kept trying to climb the cable and kept sliding down unsuccessfully. Everybody who witnessed the cuteness couldn't help but ooh and ah over this one.
Mama and baby warming up in the sun
More to come about the monkey adventure including our up close and personal overnight stay with the monkeys at a ryokan (traditional inn) and our strange dinner there.