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Jigokudani Yaen-koen: Snow Monkeys (Japanese macaques)

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Google “Jigokudani Yaen-koen” and you will happen upon many relaxing (and adorable) Snow Monkeys, or Japanese macaques, who live in the famous monkey park in the Nagano Prefecture of Japan.

The heavy snowfalls (snow covers the ground for 4 months a year), an elevation of 850 meters, and being only accessible via a narrow two kilometer footpath through the forest, keep it uncrowded despite being relatively well-known… Starting in 1963, the monkeys descend from the steep cliffs and forest to sit in the warm waters of the onsen (hotsprings), and return to the security of the forests in the evenings.

Next: this BBC Wildlife video feature, which explains the wild monkeys’ hot spring spa backstory and, well, shows a lot of macaques. Reason enough! 

Related watching: macaques, monkeys, and more animals in the snow.

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