By Crystal Chung @CrystalKChung
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Since its establishment in 1964, Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park in Japan has been popular for viewing the Japanese macaques, commonly known as the snow monkeys, up close.
The park allows visitors to observe the monkeys in their natural habitat, as they bathe in the warm springs which are surrounded by hot steam.
Located just outside of Nagano, KLM load controller Russell Pearson shot these stunning images during his visit.
He said: “I had seen a documentary on National Geographic about the Japanese Macaques, or Snow Monkeys as they are better known as, and I always wanted to visit them in the flesh.”
Accustom to humans, the snow monkeys at Jigokudani can be observed very closely, almost completely ignoring the human onlookers.
The 44-year-old from the Netherlands said: “In total there were around 60 Snow Monkeys, it was a cold day so they were waiting in line to get into the hot water.
“There is a hierarchy present where the dominant monkeys are allowed into the baths first, the weaker, younger monkeys have to wait their turn.”
Though these Japanese macaques can be found in other parts of the country, the monkeys here are considered unusual for their love of hot water - and are among the best-loved symbols of wild Japan.
A lot of time is also spent grooming, which is important to strengthen bonds between the monkeys, so they carefully pick lice out of each other's fur coat
Despite its relatively remote location, roughly 100,000 visitors trek through the woods of Nagano each year to visit the macaques at the Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park.