Zenko-ji and Snow Monkies

Trip Start Dec 27, 2011
Trip End Apr 25, 2012

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Flag of Japan  , Chubu,
Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On our day off today, we took a trip into Nagano city. It was about 35 minutes by train. We visited the Zenkoji temple which is 1400 years old. It holds the first Buddhist statue ever brought to Japan. It is wrapped in cloth and is believed not to been seen by human eyes since the 1700's. A replica is shown to the public every 7 years. 
Next we travelled to Yukanada, where we hung out with the snow monkeys for the afternoon. Our first encounter with the monkeys was rather unnerving. We were on the 2 km trek to the monkey onsen when there in the middle of our path sit two monkeys, one grooming the other. As you will see in the video we weren't sure at first how close to get to them. We read not to look them in the eyes, but rather look at them through a camera. The monkeys seemed to not even notice us walk past them. On our way to the top, monkeys crossing the pathway became a common occurrance. Once we reached the onsen, we were in for a real surprise. Around 30 monkeys bathing in at once in the onsen! The monkeys come down from the mountain top to sit in an onsen specifically for them. An onsen is similar to the hot springs in Banff. This is the only place in the world where monkeys bath naturally in hot springs. Tourists crowded around snapping photos and the monkeys didn't even flinch. Enjoy the pictures and videos!
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Huguette on

Awesome! I had some quiet time, old guys gone to hockey, its Thursday night here so I read your blog and looked at videos and pics! This looks amazing, did you "smudge"? I will keep checking on you! Happy New Year and enjoy your amazing adventure!!

britadam on

Auntie, they are a type of macaque. They barely made any noises. They looked pretty relaxed in the onsen. Some were even falling asleep!

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