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Boulder resembling monkey face a draw for hot spring visitors

A boulder in the Doshi River resembling a monkey in meditation. (Photo courtesy of Aone Shinko Kyogikai)

SAGAMIHARA, Kanagawa -- A boulder shaped like a monkey's face is entertaining visitors at a hot spring facility here and is even decorating a local photographer's calendar for next year.

    The boulder is located near the hot spring facility "Iyashi no Yu Aone Midori no Kyukamura Center," which is in the Aone district of Midori Ward, Sagamihara. Shinichi Amano, head director of Aone Shinko Kyogikai (Aone promotion council), which manages the facility, says, "We want to make the boulder a Year of the Monkey Christmas present in appreciation of Iyashi no Yu's customers."

    The boulder measures around 3.5 meters tall by around 4 meters wide. It is located in the middle of a river, just downstream from the facility, where clear waters run between the rocks. From a bridge at a campground on a nearby riverbank, the monkey face looks like it is pointed upward with its eyes closed in meditation.

    Local photographer Kyoko Amano, who takes photos of local sights and events, says she noticed the boulder two years ago. Every year she makes a calendar out of her favorite photos. She included a photo of the monkey boulder in the calendar for next year, which proved popular when she distributed copies to acquaintances.

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