Monday, October 26, 2015

Feeding the Monkeys at Iwatayama Monkey Park in Arashiyama

Arashiyama is a district in western Kyoto that is easily a day trip. We didn't have an entire day to spend, but couldn't pass up the chance to feed the monkeys at Iwatayama Monkey Park. Sounds like a unique, touristy thing to do, right?

What we didn't realize was that the monkey park was on top of a small mountain. A moderately steep climb in the high summer humidity was a great compliment to the sake of the night before.

A very discreet sign at the street invites you in to Iwatayama Monkey Park.

Numerous signs like this just inside the entrance made me curious.  How far could it be to the monkeys?
Then we began the hike up.

After hiking quite a ways, we came across this sign. See the red dot at the lower left corner that says "present location"?  After our initial reaction, we sat down for a minute and watched others' reactions. I'm pretty sure if I spent the day at that sign, by the end of it I would know how to say, "You've got to be kidding me!" in Japanese.

At the summit. Finally made it!

A view of the house for feeding the monkeys at the summit.

They ~170 monkeys that live on the mountain are totally tame, as long as you don't make eye contact, which is interpreted as a challenge.

But happily, they will make eye contact with the camera.

Outside the feeding house, scoping out the food situation.

This is the way the feeding works - you are in the cage!

You purchase small bags of bananas, apples, or nuts for a couple hundred yen, and the monkeys take the food right out of your hand.

Breeding season is twice a year, which means plenty of babies all the same age.

The adults will happily steal from the babies.

In the trees and all around the peak, monkeys live.

Monkey on the ground.

Monkey in a tree!

Bring your camera and your hiking shoes - Iwatayama Monkey park is totally worth the trip!


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