A visit to Iwatayama Monkey Park in Kyoto provided Emily a chance to interact with wild Macaques, or “snow monkeys.” It proved to be an unforgettable experience and one of the highlights of Emily’s family trip to Japan.
Arriving At Iwatayama Monkey Park
To get to the park, we took a train to Arashiyama station. Then we walked through a quaint Japanese village. This village boasted plenty of gift shops filled with interesting souvenirs as well as various dining establishments. Emily enjoyed trying the yummy shaved ice.
The entrance to Iwatayama Monkey Park is at the base of a mountain in Kyoto along the Hozu River. There are majestic traditional torii gates and a staircase leading up to the ticket booth.
Climbing To The Mountaintop
Once we passed through the ticket booth the walk up the mountainside was strenuous. We were grateful that the path included several benches where we could stop to rest and enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way. We recommend bringing plenty of water with you if you decide to take this trek up to Iwatayama Monkey Park. It’s at least a 35-45 minute hike, not including stops.
Our excitement grew as we got closer to the summit of the mountain. We were thrilled to finally start to see the Macaques in their natural habitat.
As we approached the mountaintop, we saw signs reminding us not to look the monkeys in the eyes. To our surprise and delight, the view from the top was absolutely breathtaking. We could see a panorama of Kyoto, including the Kyoto tower, the city and surrounding mountains, and the Hozu River.
Interacting With Friendly Monkeys
We saw plenty of Macaques roaming around throughout the mountaintop park. A park worker carefully supervised the guests and monkeys to make sure both were engaging in safe behavior. The monkeys seemed comfortable around people and would walk right in front of guests.
Monkeys Climbing On The Rooftop
There was a house located on the grounds where guests could purchase pieces of banana to feed to the Macaques. For the protection of both guests and monkeys, the food was distributed through a fenced off area. The monkeys, eager for a piece of the delicious fruit, would reach through the bars in search of a bite. Some of the mischievous monkeys enjoyed climbing up on top of the roof of the house! Emily especially treasured getting the chance to observe a mother monkey caring for her adorable newborn monkey.
Emily recommends this extremely memorable site as a must-see experience for animal-loving tourists to Japan. These intelligent, agile monkeys are a joy to meet and to observe. If you’d like to learn more about the Iwatayama Monkey Park or find current information about hours and pricing, you can visit their website. Prices are listed in Japanese currency, so you’ll need to check the exchange rate.
Address: 61 Arashiyama Nakaoshitacho, Nishikyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 616-0004, Japan