Take a trip to Nagano, Japan and you might be able to have your own "Nat Geo" moment. For it is there you will see some highly expressive characters grooming, soaking and possibly even posing for your camera.
Accessible by a narrow footpath through the forest, Jigokudani Monkey Park is famous for its large population of wild Japanese Macaques or Snow Monkeys. Jigokudani (or Hell's Valley) is named so because of the steam and boiling water that bubbles out of small crevices in the frozen ground. According to park director Eishi Tokida, despite its relatively remote location, roughly 90,000 visitors trek through the woods of Nagano each year to see this monkey park. Surrounded by steep cliffs, the area is covered with snow for about 4 months out of the year and winter temperatures average 14 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 10 degrees Celsius). It's during this cold season that snow monkeys descend from the forest to sit and soak in the hotsprings, making it the perfect time to take some incredible photos.
Flickr photographer 'edamame note' captures the incredible experience, firsthand.
Photos by edamame note.