Without any doubt. The Iwatayama Monkey Park in Kyoto was my absolute highlight of our visit to Kyoto.
For everyone that is an animal lover, this is a great place to visit besides the wonderful temples of Kyoto.
In this article, you can find out everything you need to know about visiting the Iwatayama Monkey Park in Kyoto.
This stunning park is located not too far from the center of Kyoto, on top of Mt. Arashiyama, basically right next to the Arashiyama Bamboo Park, and is, therefore, really easy to get to.
Iwatayama is home to around 170 Japanese macaque monkeys at the moment which can roam around freely in the area. This is a great way to see snow monkeys in Japan without having to visit Hokkaido.
We love that the monkeys are not held inside of cages and can, therefore, be visited in an ethical way. For us, the Iwatayama Monkey Park is one of the best Kyoto Day trips and absolutely recommendable.
Opening Hours of the Park
Iwatayama Monkey Park is opened daily from 09 am – 04 pm.
The entrance fee for this unique experience is 550 Yen (around 4,50 Euro). But in my opinion, it is worth every cent of it.
The experience in the Iwatayama Monkey Park
But before you can enjoy the monkeys (by the way the monkeys you can see here are so-called snow monkeys) you have to get up to the mountain top.
Depending on your walking speed the way upwards is around 20-30 minutes.
In some Internet rating portals, I have read before that the way up is really exhausting and long. But seriously, Eduardo and I both are not really the people you would call absolutely fit. But we made it up there without any breakdown. It really is not as exhausting as described on several websites.
Ok, we also had some “luck” with the weather. It was raining cats and dogs. Thus, there was no sun which would make it too hot. So please don’t let some posts on TripAdvisor and Co. take your motivation to get there. It is definitely worth it and really not as bad as many people describe it 🙂
So, after a “small walk to the top”, you can finally admire the wild monkeys.
The monkeys walk freely inside of the park. Anyway, you should keep in mind that those are still wild animals. They might be used to humans, but as soon as someone is approaching too much they usually rather leave.
Because of that, there are some general rules in the park such as “don’t touch them or take pictures of them with flash”. Common sense if you ask me, though 🙂
Moreover, we can just recommend going there around springtime or early summer as we did. Around this time, many of the female monkeys have babies. Cuteness overload!
If you enter the little house which is located on the mountain top you can buy some food for the animals, such as peanuts and apples. But it is only allowed to feed the monkeys from the inside. Outside of the house, it is prohibited. Because while feeding the animals you are inside of let’s call it a cage. While the monkeys are outside in freedom. A nice change if you ask me.
The monkeys take their food directly out of your hand. This way you get a chance to get into direct contact with those cautious animals.
And not only that. From the top of the mountain, you have an absolutely amazing view of Kyoto. So could I convince you?