Thursday, February 19, 2009

Monkeys in the Hot Springs

What image do you get when you think of monkeys? Jungles? Rainforests? In Japan, there is a way you can enjoy their company in a completely different way. See them take a nice warm bath in the hot springs!

In Nagano there is a park named Jigokudani Yaen Koen (Jigokudani Monkey Park). Opened in 1964, the park is a facility made especially for tourists to enjoy watching the Japanese Monkeys bathe. This place first became popular as a place where people would feed the wild monkeys who lived here. Usually, monkeys do not like getting themselves wet; but the monkeys in this area started taking baths after watching a human take one. Now there are hot springs made exclusively for monkeys and they have become one of the most entertaining spectacles to see - attracting nearly 100,000 people every year. In the hot springs, some monkeys groom each other while others just like to sit still and do absolutely nothing at all. Whatever they do, they all look happy and relaxed. Watching them is a heartwarming and pleasing sight.

Nowhere else can you have the chance to see monkeys enjoying a warm bath! Although there are several rules that you must follow when visiting the sight, (i.e. do not feed them, do not touch them, do not talk to them, etc.) you will never forget this wonderful experience. Admission to Jigokudani Yaen Koen costs JPY 500 for adults and JPY 250 for children.

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