In Alsace (France), we have a place called ‘la Montagne des Singes‘ (‘Mountain of the Apes’). In Japan, they have the Jigokudani’s Monkey Park.
And over there, monkeys are bathing themselves in natural hot springs. Like kings.
Deep within the Japanese Alps, in Nagano district, is this famous Monkey Park, which is supposedly the first place in the whole world where monkeys had been bathing in hot springs (yeah, over here they’re also a little bit Marseillais, you see – which means they have a tendency to exaggerate). A nice little stroll leads you to a monkey reserve, and it smells sulphur here, which feels a little bit odd. I’ve never smelt sulphur before. I discover with joy this particular rotten eggs smell (and it’s a genuine joy, for when it smells like rotten eggs it means that hot springs and… GEYSERS are never too far!).
Obviously, I’m discovering my new environment with amazement and delight. My head is so in the sky, that I’m falling violently on the ground. Since it’s incredibly hot in here, I took off my tights before coming here. At that time, I didn’t think to check my injuries, for a little slippage is nothing to really about, right? Let’s say that’s only when I’d felt a hot flow on my leg that I’d realized how much damaged I was, haha!
Well. Let’s skip that fail, we came here for the monkeys! On the way, I come across my first geyser, I’m so excited! And finally, I got to meet the monkeys afterwards. They’re not that different from the ones in my home country, except that these ones are joyfully bathing their butts in the hot water. However, some signposts say to be very careful with those monkeys aren’t our friends, you mustn’t look at them right in the eyes, otherwise, they’ll get angry, and you mustn’t feed them either. In short, monkeys are cuties but they’re not really nice.
The really nice thing though, is that you can actually observe the monkeys in their natural habitat. No small cages, they have the whole forest for themselves!
And if you miss them after you’re gone, you can still look at them through the LiveCam.
LET’S GO THERE! : Monkey Park, Jigokudani Reserve, Yamanouchi, Nagano Prefecture. A 33km de Nagano, 7km de Yudanaka station.