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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

[Kyoto/Arashiyama Tour] Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama (BABY MONKEYS!)



Arashiyama Monkey Park is great! You get to walk around alongside monkeys, including BABY MONKEYS! It is located right by Kyoto, so it is very easy to add to any itinerary.

There are about 140 monkeys at the park! Apart from monkey-viewing, it is a great area to hike around with some spectacular views of Kyoto.

After entering the park, there are about 200 steps. Then, you need to climb up a very steep mountain. My friend was not prepared for it. Even though it is about 200 meters, the path is very steep and not paved, so I would recommend wearing walking shoes or trainers.

Along the way, you will likely be greeted by some monkeys roaming around. Although you'll likely be excited to see some of your first monkeys, don't worry! There will be a lot more as soon as you get up the mountain.









The monkeys are free to roam around the grounds with the tourists. With that said, they are wild animals. Be cautious and don't try anything stupid like petting them. 

The adult male monkey are quite aggressive. While we were there, there was a huge monkey brawl. We had the unfortunate experience of being on the path between the two fighting males. Suddenly, they were charging at each other across the path. Just be mindful of your surroundings.

I choose my weekend to visit the monkey park based on the autumn color report (yes, it exists) and also the age of the baby monkeys. BABY MONKEYS!!

They're so cute! Look at them!




There is a shelter at the top of the mountain for visitors to enter and watch the monkeys from the enclosure. We didn't go inside because it was crazy crowded and we wanted to just wander around. There is also a great vantage point of the mountains around Arashiyama and Kyoto from the top of the mountain.


LOCATION:
The view on the walk up the mountain. BEAUTIFUL!
The nearest station is Arashiyama train station, but this is a private train, so if you're coming from out of town, you will need to take the JR Saga line to Arashiyama Station. I took the Hankyu line to Arashiymama Station. It was cheaper and more convenient for me to take it from Kobe.

You can just walk around a little in Arashiyama, it's a great area. If you're lucky enough to be in Arashiyama in autumn, there is great autumn colors sightseeing to do. More on that later.

Once you get to the entrance, you will come across a ticket window. It costs 550 JPY to enter for adults. At the entrance, they sell monkey treats for 100JPY if you want to feed the animals. Other than this feed, there is no food allowed in the park and you are not allowed to feed any other food to the monkeys.

The official website (available in English) provides updates on baby monkeys and other insights into Japanese macaques: http://www.kmpi.co.jp/english/

SOME BONUS PICTURES:
I want to see this guy's photos! He was intense. Sometimes people watching at animal parks/zoos is the best part of the experience.

They were both napping right before this picture. The area is really beautiful during autumn!

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