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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Monkey Mountain in Kyoto

Animals are really popular in Japan for both locals and tourists. Not only does Japan have animal cafes but they have outdoor attractions that are geared towards animal lovers. I've already talked about the deer of Nara and the snow monkeys of Nagano. Now I'd like to talk about another place that I feel is a bit underappreciated, and that's Monkey Mountain in Kyoto.

Specifically, Monkey Mountain is located in the Arashiyama area of Kyoto, Japan. Many people usually visit Arashiyama for the Bamboo Grove, but what they don't realize is that up in the mountains, opposite side of the Katsura River from Bamboo Grove, is Monkey Mountain or as tour sites call it Monkey Park (I call it Monkey Mountain because I remember wandering the Arashiyama area and finding a sign on a path that directed me to "Monkey Mountain").

Monkey Mountain has a few things you need to know before we actually talk about the monkeys. It's an attraction that costs just a little bit of money. Another thing to keep in mind is that Monkey Mountain closes a bit early, at 4pm. So maybe Monkey Mountain should be at the beginning of your schedule so you don't miss out. After you get there and pay the admission fee the next thing is the hike up the mountain. For outdoorsy people, you'll have no problem with the hike. All the non-outdoorsy people, like myself, there may be a concern. The hike up the mountain isn't too hard physically (Fushimi Inari hike is worse). The problem is with the height. When you're walking up the mountain it can be very intimidating because there are no rails to hold onto, you are relying on your balance alone. Other than that the hike up should be fine. I survived, so it can be done (I'm clumsy  and afraid of heights).

While on your hike up the mountain you'll maybe see a few monkeys but once you reach the top you'll see all the monkeys your heart desires. You can stand by the monkeys and take a picture with them, you just can't touch them as they are still wild animals and you can be at risk of getting hurt. There is an opportunity for you to feed the monkeys, something you can't do in Nagano for the snow monkeys. You'll go into this hut on top of the mountain and pay a small fee in exchange for food. The hut has fenced walls so you can feed the monkeys in the comfort and safety of the hut. You will not feel left out as the monkeys will definitely come to you for food. You'll even see monkeys knocking each other down in order to get food. Many of the monkeys will stick their hand into the fence so you can hand them the food. In a blink of an eye you'll see the monkey's hand back in the same begging position.

And that's Monkey Mountain! I hope you get to visit there some day of you haven't already. Hopefully this helps you in your future trip to Japan and you enjoyed reading it. I enjoy writing you those of you who like to read my blog. For those of you new readers, thank you very much! Follow me on my social media for more Japan content and fun interaction by clicking the links: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And make sure to click that blue follow button at the top so you'll know when I post.

Until the next post!