Welcome to the A to Z Challenge, an initiative that invites bloggers to post an alphabet-themed post every day (excluding Sundays) during the month of April. As part of this challenge, I’ll be sharing some of my travel memories to known and unknown places in the hope to inspire your travel dreams.
Y is for…Yudanaka (Japan)
As I’ve mentioned previously, one of our all time favorite trips was to Japan. I could almost say that every place we visited in Japan was a favorite. The country is so unique that every destination had something amazing on offer. Our visit to Yudanaka was for two reasons – to visit the Jigokudani Monkey Park and to experience traditional Japanese hot springs.
When I was in elementary school I wrote a report on Japanese Snow Monkeys. I have never forgotten that report and how in love I became with these monkeys while researching them (with encyclopedias!). When I heard that you could see them in real life, I knew we had to visit this area.
What was supposed to be only one day ended up in two days here. It was such an amazing experience to sit and be part of the snow monkey’s life for just a few hours. You can’t touch them or feed them. Can I tell you how hard it was to not touch them? They looked so soft and cuddly that you just wanted to sneak a pet, but we didn’t.
You can take photos and you can watch them, which we did a lot of. We spent easily 4 hrs there each day. During our visit there were quite a few newborn monkeys which was fascinating to watch. One time a baby monkey was walking along and I was standing in place looking at other monkeys when he tripped over my foot. I looked down to see him staring back up at me with a look saying “what are you doing in my way?”. Being part of their natural habitat (with some added human features like ropes, buckets and poles to climb) where they do not beg for food, are not aggressive and just virtually ignore you was remarkable. I cannot wait until I can return and take my son who is just as big of an animal lover as I am!
Oh, and the hot springs were great too.
Some of our favorite photos from visiting Snow Monkey Park.