After cleaning myself up and catching up with the world the previous night, it was time to head to the Monkey Onsen. I had this memory of a picture with monkeys bathing in the hot springs surrounded by snow and I had managed to track down the place.
I picked out the windiest route and headed off. After some fantastic mountain roads I ended up in a closed ski village (the best mountain roads always lead to ski villages). However this idyllic little spot had a nasty surprise for me, Gandalf was back and in full force.
I looked at my map and I only needed to go about 30km to reach the Monkey Onsen from where I was, the alternate was 200km+ loop to get there. I attempted to get my bike around the side there but that was no go and this man eventually pulled up. He had the key and told me construction was happening, I pleaded with him to let me through with him, then I started begging. He was very nice and even gave me his old Japanese road maps but would not budge otherwise.
I relented and plotted my course, it wasn’t so bad, just more mountain roads to ride. Just frustrating to be so close, yet so far. It gave me great satisfaction to see other Japanese drivers facing the same problem, the road closures are a local problem too!
The screenshot is from my Garmin GPS map software, I browsed forums and tagged roads with ‘Good road’ if someone had suggested it. I would then plot my course to arrive at these good roads. I managed to hit quite a number of them on my adventures. In this case I was too swept up in the road and passed the Monkey Onsen, eventually coming to another ski village.
I was running out of daylight fast after all these unexpected detours but eventually found my way to the days goal, the Monkey Onsen.
The Monkey Onsen was about to close but they showed me typical Japanese hospitality. All the monkeys had retreated for the night but they threw some food out to bring all the monkeys down off the cliffs. It was quite frightening actually, see all these monkeys scamper down the cliffs all around you. They were also rather irritable, smacking each other around and generally monkeying around.
The darkness came in and added even more beauty to the place.
On the road again and having trouble finding a patch of grass. I headed down some driveways and found a little piece of farm to call my own.