Visiting Monkey Park Iwatayama in Kyoto, Japan
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Japan has many unique animal experiences like the Asahiyama Zoo in Hokkaido where you can view penguins waddling around right next to you, in Nara, there is a park full of wild deer that will politely bow to you for a biscuit, and even a monkey park and preservation area that sits on top of a beautiful mountain overlooking Kyoto.
Welcome to Monkey Park Iwatayama where, for a very short hike and 550¥, you can visit a mountain that is home to many snow monkeys (also known as Japanese macaques).
Monkey Park Iwatayama is located in the Arashiyama area of Kyoto. So, along with visiting the monkey park make sure you also visit the nearby bamboo forest and the many shrines and temples in this area!
As you walk along the path to get to Monkey Park Iwatayama you’ll be surrounded by the beauty of the Oi River that flows through the Arashiyama Forest area which is beautiful at sunrise!
From there you’ll walk the path to the Monkey Park Iwatayama entrance gate where you will pay your entrance fee and receive some information to read on your adventure to the top.
In my personal opinion, the hike to get to Monkey Park Iwatayama is an easy-moderate hike. It lies along a path that is paved in some areas and dirt in others. It does have some elevation gain but there are numerous benches to sit on and rest as needed – this is especially helpful if hiking during the summer in Japan because it gets super hot!
Rules of Monkey Park Iwatayama
Yeah, we know… who likes rules? But we weren’t about to break these for the safety of ourselves and the monkeys! These rules were posted around the monkey park and were provided on the pamphlet we received whenever we paid for our tickets.
1. Don’t stare into the monkey’s eyes. It might seem silly, but most of the time monkeys consider staring at them a threat and might become aggressive.
2. Don’t touch the monkeys. Again, this is not only for the safety of the monkeys but also for your safety as they tend to be a bit territorial, especially when it comes to their babies!
3. Don’t feed the monkeys outside of the hut located in the park. This causes trouble with them approaching visitors and can lead to aggression. But, for 100¥ there are peanuts and apples available for purchase. These treats are located inside the air-conditioned hut that will also allow access to feeding areas. Don’t worry, the monkeys are still free to roam, you are putting yourself in a cage instead! 🙂
Other Important Things to Know About Monkey Park Iwatayama
1. Located 525ft (160m) above sea level This isn’t just a park to view monkeys. It also has an amazing skyline view of Kyoto, you can even see Kyoto Tower in the distance when it isn’t cloudy!
2. As I said before, it is a 20-minute mountain hike that can be a little steep at times so make sure you bring water and comfortable shoes. We didn’t find this hike to be particularly challenging but wouldn’t recommend it to those who have trouble walking at steeper inclines. If you do get tired there are many resting areas along the trail.
3. As said above, for only 100¥ you can get a cup of food to feed the monkeys inside the air-conditioned hut/resting room area. There are also souvenirs, snacks, and drinks for you to purchase for yourself as well.
4. In the outside area, you are able to get up close to the many monkeys that reside here but just keep in mind that you are not allowed to touch them and it’s best to still keep your distance. There is also a playground area with a slide for kids to enjoy!
Address and Visiting Hours
Address: 〒616-0007 8, Arashiyama Genrokuzan-cho, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto-shi
Click here to get directions by train
Hours: Spring & Summer (3/15-10/31): 9am – 5pm | Winter (11/1-3/14): 9am– 4pm
Cost: Adults: 550¥, Children (4-15yrs): 250¥, Under 4 years: FREE
READ MORE: 5 Days in Kyoto
So was it worth it? We think so! It was touching to visit a place that preserved and protected the home of these amazing monkeys. So what do you think? Would you want to visit Monkey Park Iwatayama?