In northern Japan, where freezing winter temperatures reach as low as -15°C, a group of monkeys thrive in the cold in a rather interesting, unconventional way. Visit Jigokudani Yaenkoen Park in Yokoyu River valley, and find this strange species relaxing in a hot onsen bath in order to survive the cold.
The Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata) is the most northerly-living non-human primates are regularly found every wintertime bathing in the park’s hot springs. Because of their extraordinary habits, they’ve become one of the top tourists attractions in the Nagano area. In the spring and summer, they are also found in the countryside swimming to cool off or just to have fun, like us humans do.
Besides their penchant for bathing, the Japanese macaque exhibit other fascinating human-like behavior. They’ve grown famous for washing their food in saltwater before they eat it for the purpose of cleaning it and to improve its flavor. In snowy environments, they’ve been observed to make snowballs and play around in the snow. In the wild, Japanese macaques feed on seeds, buds, fruit, invertebrates, berries, leaves, and bark.