Japanese Macaques – aka Snow Monkeys

After spending a week in Tokyo – of which I will have to write later because it was just so busy and I’m herding my thoughts on that one – we activated our Japanese Rail passes and left for Yudanaka, on the east side of Honshu island. This area is best known for its onsen (hot spring baths) and a place to see snow monkeys.

A lovely walk takes you up the hill and into the valley where these macaques spend their days. At night they return to the mountains and treetops to sleep. No snow at the moment, but nothing stops these little tykes. They are so busy it’s hard to take a photo of them. They bicker, play, chase, and scramble the whole time. When they actually sit still, they are face to the ground, scratching for food. With very short stumpy tails and thick cuddly fur, they look like teddy bears from behind, until they give you the glare. They are quite tame…until they are not. Warning sounds litter the place – taking out a plastic bag (read: this looks like food) guarantees some aggressive behavior, apparently.


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