Today we traveled from Hakone to Nagano, where we took a local railway up the mountains to see the snow monkeys. These are unique monkeys in the fact that they are the only monkeys in the world who bathe in an onsen (hot spring). These monkeys were fascinating to watch because of their extreme intelligence and resemblance to human behavior. It really is amazing to see how they act and interpret interactions with humans.
Here is a geyser of steam at the entrance of the monkey park.
This time of year is a few weeks after the babies are born, so we got to see many baby monkeys and their mothers.
Here is a baby riding on her mother.
At this time of year it is fairly warm, so not many monkeys were bathing in the hot springs, but in March when it is still cool, many monkeys will be in each hot spring at a given time. This little monkey was staying warm in the rain.
The monkeys were being fed grains of rice when we arrived.
A top down view of the geyser.
The bus ride back gave a beautiful view of the Japanese countryside.
For dinner that night in Nagano we tried something new (new to me), called Okonomiyaki. This is a sort of pancake mix with meat and vegetables that is grilled on a griddle and then served with various sauces. It was very good.
Another good day!