By Danny Baggott @Dan_Baggie

RELAXED Japanese monkeys take a bath in the hot springs of Hell’s Valley

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Videographer / Director : William Allum
Producer: Danny Baggott, Ellie Winstanley
Editor: Dan Cousins

Japanese macaques, or snow monkeys, bathe in the water to keep warm

These wild Japanese macaques – more commonly known as snow monkeys – live in the valley, in the Jigokudani Monkey Park, during the winter.

Jigokudani translates as 'Hell’s Valley' due to the steam and boiling water that bubbles under the surface of the frozen ground.

The monkeys have their own private space in Hell's Valley

Inaccessible to most tourists, documentary filmmaker William Allum journeyed beyond the Yokoyu-River and managed to capture the beautiful footage of the bathing macaques.

He said: “There’s a lot of areas humans can’t really get to, so there’s lots of space for them to be undisturbed and go about their business.

Filmmaker William Allum managed to capture the incredible footage

"Although I do think they cause some trouble with farmers and stuff like that, you know nicking fruits and things.

“During spring, autumn, it’s kind of a foresty area – it’s quite mountainous and it’s a volcanic area as well so that’s why there’s hot springs.”

All visitors are forbidden from feeding and touching the macaques

Surrounded by steep cliffs, the park aims to limit disturbances to the macaques’ habitat with visitors forbidden from feeding or touching the monkeys.

Before the park opened in 1964, some of the monkeys were found soaking themselves in the outdoor baths and so it was decided that they should have a private pool of their own within the park.

The entire area is covered in snow during the winter

“Even in the winter where it’s covered in snow, it has a hot bath that the monkeys can sit in,” William added.

“It’s kind of a crazy area because it’s like an ice kingdom but it has all this steam and it’s a volcanic area.

Temperatures rarely exceed zero in the harsh winter months

“Maybe if they didn’t have the hot springs they wouldn’t be able to live as far north as they do.”

Winters are always harsh in this area of Japan with snow piling up to over two metres high and temperatures rarely above zero.

One of their main priorities is to keep their children warm

But William did not let the cold winter days affect his experience in the valley.

William says that filming the snow monkeys was one of the best days of his life

He said: “It was an absolutely amazing experience, it was probably one of the best days of my life because it was so perfect and so ideal.”