Without any doubt. The Iwatayama Monkey Park in Kyoto was my absolute highlight of our visit in Kyoto.
For everyone that is an animal lover this is a great place to visit besides the wonderful temples of Kyoto.
This is a great way to see snow monkeys in Japan without having to visit Hokkaido.
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 snowmonkeys) 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 come on, Eduardo and me both are not really the people you would call totally fit. But we made it up there without any break down. It really is not as exhausting as described in 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 like don’t touch them or make pictures of them with flash. Common sense if you ask me though 🙂
Moreover, we can just recommend to go there around spring time or early summer as we did. As 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 feet 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 over Kyoto. So could I convince you?