Photographs of snow-covered White Macaques monkeys (more commonly known as Snow Monkeys) cavorting in open-air-thermal pools have made Yudanaka Onsen famous. Some 200 monkeys live in this area. The legend has it that they started to take dips in the hot pools during the 1960s, when a local ryokan owner took pity on them and left food out in winter. A special rotemburo (outdoor bath) was eventually built for them, and Life magazine dubbed the name “snow monkeys.” Yudanaka Onsen itself is like a small version of Yellowstone National Park, with its bubbling, steaming and sulfurous volcanic vents and pools.
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