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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