Japan Winter Safari: In the Snow with the Macaques

Ben’s News from the Japan Winter Safari:

First, a huge thank you to Howard Aron for his fabulous images of the Japanese Macaques taken this afternoon, our first encounter with the macaques for this safari …

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In the Snow with the Macaques:

Everyone arrived yesterday for the second Japan Winter Safari. We gathered for our getting-to-know-you dinner at the Tokyo hotel where everyone was agog at the experiences of the previous group, and hoping, hoping that their trip will proceed as successfully.

This morning we travelled from Tokyo through the snow-clad countryside to Jigokudani, where we arrived at lunchtime, and after a brief moment to unpack, we were on our way along the lovely contour mountain path that leads to the hot springs and the Japanese Macaques. We arrived at the pools at around 14:15, and to our delight there were very few people around. We set up our equipment in the most ideal spots ..

And the macaques were perfect. Bathing, playing, vying for a special spot in the water, grooming, and generally creating perfect images. We used different techniques, including off-camera flash to capture as many different types of photographs as possible.

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Then at 16:00 it was time for the macaques to retire to their overnight nesting places, and within moments the pools and surroundings were empty.

We returned to our inn where we luxuriated in a long, convivial onsen. Then dinner with nothing ‘western’ in sight. Course followed delectable course, followed unbelievably by even more delicious foods.

Tomorrow we plan to spend the whole day with the macaques …