A Japanese macaque relaxes in a hot spring. // © 2017 Mark Edward Harris
Humans are not the only creatures to take advantage of Japan’s "onsens" (hot springs).
Japanese macaques, also known as snow monkeys, are regular patrons at Jigokudani Yaen-Koen, part of Joshinetsu Kogen National Park in the country’s northeastern Nagano Prefecture. Winter is, of course, the best time to see these primates taking a dip in the waters.
Clients should stay in the authentic Korakukan ryokan (Japanese-style inn), which is the accommodation nearest to where the monkeys bathe. Once there, travelers can take advantage of the ryokan’s own hot springs before visiting the monkeys just a short walk up the valley.