Don’t let these wild, ferocious Japanese monkeys fool you, they are really quite tame.
On a recent weekend trip, Lori and I went with some friends to Mt. Takasaki… or as we coined it, Monkey Mountain (original, I know). If you decide to travel between any two decently large cities in Japan, definitely look into highway bus options. The reason is that it’s a heck of a lot easier to hog multiple seats by laying down on a bus than a train… also often they are only slightly slower than Express trains and significantly cheaper . In this case, we saved around 1500 yen by taking the bus over the train from Kitakyushu to Beppu and back (we purchased round trip tickets).
Once in Beppu, several confusing local bus rides, a 600 yen cable car adventure up Monkey Mountain gave us access to the park where the monkeys are kept. Being around humans all day, these little guys were not afraid to get close and investigate each batch of visitors as they arrived. The freaky part was that if you look directly into their eyes they showed their teeth, hissed and got all aggressive. Of the 80 something shots I took, it was difficult to capture a poor shot of these kimokawaii (Japanese word meaning scary+cute) little fur balls. Below is my personal favorite shot from Monkey Mountain:-).
Otherwise in Beppu, we visited the famous ancient Takegawara bathhouse and stayed at the Beppu Guest House located near the station. Although full of “character” older bathhouses in Japan can be pretty dirty. Takegawara in Beppu was a classic example. Although the building was a well preserved historical relic, actually bathing in the cloudy waters only made me want a shower afterward back at the hostel. I had a similar experience at prestigious Dogo Onsen in Matsuyama.
Another successful weekend trip.
Look for the epic TRIP VID! tomorrow.