Arashiyama Monkey Park: Visit a Unique Spot on Your Tour of Kyoto
When one speaks of Kyoto, we often think of Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, historic streets and traditional crafts. But what we’ll be showing today is a unique attraction within Kyoto’s picturesque Arashiyama. There’s no doubt it’ll further improve a great trip of Japan if you visit during your tour of Kyoto! Photo: https://www.flickr.com
About Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama
Iwatayama is a section of the mountain range within Kyoto’s Arashiyama. And within that side of the mountain is Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama where you can see wild Japanese macaques or monkeys. Since opening in 1956, they’ve been feeding the wild macaques that live in the region for over 50 years and were successful in getting them to settle there. Now there are about 120 of the macaques. They keep track of all of their monkeys with information like lineage and birthdates. Their tracking system is so efficient that they could even name all of them. It’s a place for seeing the life of wild Japanese macaques so many researchers also visit from overseas. Aside from the monkeys, you might also see the boars, tanuki (raccoon dogs), weasels and deer that live in the mountains.
Sidenote: Sidenote: Did you know that this place appears in the anime K-On!! (ep 4)?
How to Get There
Get off at Hankyu Arashiyama Station, cross Togetsukyo Bridge and walk about 5 minutes westward to the entrance. It’s very close.
Enter through the entrance and it’s about a 20 minute walk up a mountain path to the viewing platform. It a nice hike and is very enjoyable. Information: Map
Important Notes on the Trail
You might catch sight of monkeys here and there, but follow the 3 rules written on the signboards. If you break them, you risk a monkey coming after you.
Highlight 1: Closeness You Can’t Experience in a Zoo
It’s a monkey theme park when you reach the top. This closeness is the best thing about Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama. You’ll see wild Japanese macaques before your very eyes.
Highlight 2: Feeding the Monkeys
There’s also a feeding area at the top. The people enter a pen and the monkeys freely roam outside—a very interesting reversal.
They’ll stretch their hands out far into the fence. Three important notes are that the food (100 yen) is only sold here, you cannot bring your own, and you cannot feed them outside of the feeding area. Don’t forget!
Best Season 1: Baby Monkeys
To see the cuuuute baby monkeys, come between April and July.
Best Season 2: Cherry Blossoms and Fall Leaves
The viewing platform at the top (about 160 m above sea level) offers the best views in Kyoto. These views become even more splendid with the addition of cherry blossoms and the fall leaves (around late November). You can also look down upon Kyoto Tower (131 m).
Sights close to Arashiyama Monkey Park: