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Snow Monkey Experience in Kyoto

Snow Monkey Experience in Kyoto

By J T | 2018-03-22 | 441 views
If you are planning to stop by Kyoto, I highly recommend visiting Iwatayama Monkey Park. Located on Mt. Arashiyama, this park is home to hundreds of snow monkeys and provides a unique, unforgetable experience. You will have to buy entry tickets at the base of the mountain and hike some distance before actually reaching the park. If you've forgotten to bring some water for the hike, there's no need to worry because there is one of the all-convenient, nifty Japanese vending machines by the ticket booth.
Not sure what kind of special beverages are in this machine, but I might opt out of this one...

There are discount tickets for children 15 years and younger, and if you are grudgingly short like me, perhaps you can celebrate one of life's little victories by unintentionally using your height to your advantage.
======================================Side tangent =================================
The trip from this post dates way back to summer 2014 when I was just ending my freshman year in college (18/19 years old at the time). My dad, mom, and younger brother were travelling with me at the time, and my dad requested tickets for 3 adults and 1 child. The lady at the ticket booth wanted to confirm who the tickets were for and looked to see me and my brother standing there. She replied, "No, 2 adults, 2 children." My dad kept trying to argue, "No, 3 adults, 1 child." After going back and forth, he finally gave up and accepted, "Ok, 2 adults, 2 children." Hey, if you're going to offer me a discount, I'm not going to refuse.
====================================== End side tangent =================================
Occasional trail signs marking the current elevation.


Once I reached the top of the park, I was super delighted to see tons of snow monkeys just laying around. They are completely free to roam around on their own accord. Their are no fences, cages, or enclosures of any kind, just monkeys in their natural habitat. You can just walk straight up to them and touch them, though that is HIGHLY NOT ADVISED, unless you want to harass them and come back home with a tale about how you were attacked by monkeys due to your own stupidity. These monkeys are still wild, and there are many cautionary signs. However, you can still get several steps close to them without disturbing them.

Some of the monkeys can be found hanging out in the trees, but many of them are just lazing about on the ground or by the pond.

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You can even have a chance to feed the monkeys. I had mentioned that they were not kept in any cages, but there is one cage in the park, but that is for the humans.
To feed the monkeys, you will have to enter this fenced cage where you are locked in side the cage, and the monkeys are all hanging out outside of the cage. Yes, you get to experience being a zoo animal. You'll have to disinfect your hands with some sanitizer, and then you can purchase some fruit or nuts which they sell inside.
If you go to the edges of the cage, you can hold the food out on your palm, and one of the little monkeys will come by and swipe it out of your hands.

My mom kept telling me to stop feeding him because he was too fat, but how can you resist that face?

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Overall, I highly recommend this experience to anyone coming to Japan. It provides a close encounter to creatures which you don't see in everyday life, and I cannot think of many places where you can just walk amongst snow monkeys.
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