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Sep 30 2012

Jigokudani Monkey Onsen nearby Nagano and Mt. Shirane

Who resumes a bicycle trip with an 80 km long leg after a one month long lasting recovering break will be punished. Which is the case with me. But it’s my own body which punishes me.

After the first pass coming from Matsumoto

After the first pass coming from Matsumoto

From Matsumoto I’m making my way via two smaller mountain pass to Nagano. However with one pass you wouldn’t want to mess with. After the tour I’m so exhausted that I’m simply too weak for the next two days to have a look at the city. For those who were hoping to see some photos of the former winter Olympics city may be becalmed. After the end of the cyclonara tour I will pay my friends in Manza (nearby Nagano) a visit again and there might be some time to see the city as well.

My host Alex, 24, from New Zealand teaches English in Nagano. As a topping on the ice cake of my two day recover phase I’d like to indulge my body a very special Onsen. I heard from an Onsen (hot spring) in which also Monkeys have a bath. Alex have heard from it too and so we take his car to get to the Onsen about 40 km north of Nagano (City). As we know this Onsen is one of Nagano’s (prefecture) main tourist attractions we are surprised by the low entrance fee. Only 500 Yen!

And there are really Monkeys jumping towards us after entering the Onsen area. But lockers are nowhere to be found. When approaching the Onsen we quickly realize that it’s an Onsen exclusively for Monkeys. And well… contrary to my expectations these monkeys are not trained and also use the Onsen as a toilet. Intelligible that it’s of little interest for the hygiene-conscious Japanese people to share this Onsen with the monkeys. But since Alex and I skipped the shower this morning we are – at least regarding the smell – in good company.

Snowmonkeys

Snowmonkeys

Special thanks to: Henry Ngai, U.S.A (text revision), Alex Laing, New Zealand, Toru Momose, Japan; the whole Manza team, Hubertus Neidhart from Webspace Provider Network for excellent web page hosting services; Lilith Pendzich

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