MONKEYING AROUND

It’s been a while since I’ve updated so…
Here are some long overdue photos from Kyoto. Made my way out to the Arashiyama (Bamboo Forest) area in hopes of seeing some bamboo, but only had enough time for the Iwatayama Monkey Park.

The Monkey Park entrance is pretty hidden and I had to ask for directions on multiple occasions. Kyoto turned out to be quite an interesting city. On one end was Fushimi Inari-taisha, and on the other was this nearly unscathed landscape. But what if you don’t like nature? Well, no worries because you can easily stay in downtown Kyoto and go shopping instead.

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Kyoto, Japan

Chanced upon this river while looking for the Iwatayama Monkey Park. It was very surreal to see since the LA River isn’t much of a river… Actually it’s completely dry… I’ve driven by it nearly every day for the past year and have yet to see any water.

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Kyoto, Japan

Wandered around aimlessly because I’m directionally challenged… More shots of the river since I am envious of those who get to live beside it. I imagine there are tons of mosquitos here. Would I survive all the bites? The answer is probably not since I am usually mosquito bate…

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Iwatayama Monkey Park

Finally found the very well hidden entrance to Iwatayama. The cost to enter is 550¥ or around $5.50 USD. Be ready for the 15-20 minute hike up these stairs and bring water! I was given fair warning, but I definitely was not expecting such a steep hike. There’s a little rest stop about half way through in case you need a break.

Here’s a map of the park from the official Iwatayama website. Pretty sure I ended up taking the long way since I remember walking through the playground… Definitely didn’t notice the fork in the road…

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View from Iwatayama Monkey Park

This is the view you are greeted with after your unexpected workout. It was totally worth it in my personal opinion because…

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Japanese Macaque

You get to see the adorable Japanese Macaque (or Snow Monkey) in their natural habitat. They are actually not caged at all in the park. In an odd turn of events, it is the humans that are asked to step inside the “cage.”

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Japanese Macaque

You don’t have to enter the caged area, but there are strict rules to follow. I believe you are not to engage the monkeys or make eye contact with them outside of the designated area. On the plus side, you can purchase fruits for 100¥ ($1 USD) and feed them from inside the enclosure.

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Japanese Macaque

I was told that the best time to come is right when they open at 9:00am. This ensures that the monkeys will be hungry and eager to take your snacks. They’re definitely not afraid of humans and will gladly grab the food from your hands. Some pointed out that they can be a little aggressive, but I found them to be quite pleasant.

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Japanese Macaque at Iwatayama

There are tons and tons of Macaque in this area, so you will definitely see some if you visit. It seems as though this particular Macaque was busy pondering his/her life.

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Japanese Macaque + Banana

You may even come across a young Macaque eating a banana if you’re lucky. Yes, they apparently do eat bananas and are quite good at peeling them on their own.

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Baby Japanese Macaque

There are also baby Macaques depending on the time of the year! They are super super small and adorable. The babies however are definitely more timid and do not approach the feeding station.

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Sightseeing Japanese Macaque

If you didn’t believe monkeys were curious before, then you must after seeing this photo. Monkey see, monkey do right? Pretty sure it doesn’t get any cuter than this.

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Iwatayama Monkey Park

Okay, enough monkey business! Pun definitely intended haha… The hike down is definitely more pleasant than the way up. I couldn’t help but notice this tree with little plants growing all over the roots. It reminded me of a scene from Hayao Miyazaki’s, “Princess Mononoke.”

Please go watch the movie if you have never heard of it before. Actually any Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli film is amazing, so I’m going to recommend watching all of them! His animations are amazing so I promise you won’t regret it.

Thanks for tuning in and reading my nonsense! I’ll be back soon!

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