Arashiyama is one of the most beautiful places in Kyoto. Not to mention, it is full of famous temples such as Tenryu-ji and Daikaku-ji, which are are especially pretty in the fall…honestly these are just some of the reasons why we love Arashiyma. However, if you aren’t into history, there is another popular place anyone can visit: Arashiyama Monkey Park. Though this spot is nothing to do with history, it quickly gained popularity these days.
Arashiyama Monkey Park
Arashiyama Monkey Park might not be that popular with Japanese people, but it is very popular for foreign visitors. If you are interested in heading over, make sure wear decent shoes. The park is a short hike (about 160m) up a hill. It only takes 20 minutes to the top, but it can be boiling hot in the summer.
The origins of the monkey park date back to 1950s when a scientist from Kyoto University fed the monkeys around here for research purpose. Since then, the monkeys learned that they can get free food here and started staying here. Though this place is not fenced at all, it seems those monkey never run away.
Once you reach the top of the mountain, there are as many as 100 monkeys happily walking around. They get used to people but they are half wild, which means you are not allowed to touch those monkeys. Also, looking monkeys directly in their eyes is not good either because that may scare them out.
Japanese monkey are born between April to July, so if you come during these months, you might be lucky enough you can see baby monkeys! When we went there were several babies clinging to their mothers. It is hard to believe these little 500g babies grow up to weigh 10kg!
On the top of the hill is a little hut where you can feed the monkeys for 100 yen.