A wild monkey park with monkeys right up to you
“There is this sort of place in Kyoto?!” Yes, this is the spot. Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama is a wild monkey park of 6000 sq. m. at Iwatayama in Arashiyama. Currently, there are 120 macaque monkeys residing here. The mountain top where the monkeys congregate is a 15-20 min. walk from the observation level. The path is beautifully maintained, so you can even climb up with your children. There is an exhilarating feeling hiking along the woods. One big difference with the usual zoos is the feeling of distance from the monkeys. At the mountaintop high ground, there are no cages or fences, so the monkeys are right there hovering about. If you are very careful, you can even watch them close up. There is no other place where you can approach wild monkeys this close. Several times a day, park staff come and feed them, so wait around for those times when you want to see a lot of monkeys. At the rest facility on the mountain top, you can also feed them with apples, peanuts, etc. for 100 yen a bag. It’s interesting that here the monkeys are outside while the humans are in the cage. You can enjoy yourself here in any season, but the monkeys’ mating season is from fall to winter so it’s great to see the many monkey babies born in the spring.
A great panoramic view from around the monkey park
After playing a lot with the monkeys, enjoy the great panoramic view from the mountain top. Since there are no tall buildings in the area surrounding the park, you can see across right up to Mt. Hiei. In particular, the view is the best during the seasons of cherry blossoms and fall foliage. There are also coin-operated binoculars so you can use them when you want to get a closer look at the city. At times, the monkeys will come and use them so if you wait around, they may switch with you.