Playing with the monkeys at Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama

Playing with the monkeys at Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama

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In addition to its many UNESCO World Heritage shrines and temples, Kyoto has several other attractions that are highly recommended for tourists, most particularly the Iwatayama Monkey Park.

Located in Kyoto’s Arashiyama district, the Iwatayama Park is home to more than 170 Japanese macaque monkeys (also sometimes called snow monkeys), which is a species that is endemic to Japan.

How to get there

Train

The closest train station to the Iwatayama Monkey Park is Arashiyama Station, which is run by the private railway company Hankyu Railway and is the terminal station of the Arashiyama Line.

Alternatively, especially if you are coming from Kyoto Station, you can take the JR line to Saga-Arashiyama Station and walk about 10 minutes to Arashiyama Station.

From Arashiyama Station, you need to walk about five minutes to reach the park entrance.

Bus

From Saga-Arashiyama Station, get on either bus number 11 or 93 and get off at the Arashiyama stop, or Kyoto city bus number 28 and get off at the Arashiyama Koen stop.

Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama via GaijinPot blog

Tickets

Once at the entrance, you can purchase tickets to the park from the vending machines that have both Japanese and English instructions.

The fee for adults (those over 15 years of age) is 550 yen. Children between the ages of 4 and 15 get a discounted rate of 250 yen per ticket, while children under four can enter the park for free.

If you are going as a group of 30 or more, you can obtain a group discount. And, if you expect to visit the park several times during a one-year period, you are encouraged to get a yearly ticket to save some money.

Hike from the entrance to the top

After purchasing your ticket, you will need to hike up the mountain, which may take around 30 minutes.

The hike can be a bit challenging for those who are out of shape, but it can be much more enjoyable if done at certain times of the year. In spring the hiking trail is lined by lovely cherry blossom trees and, in autumn, your eyes will feast on the stunning autumn foliage as you follow the steep track to the mountain top. Along the way, you may spot wild deer and various bird species that dwell in the dense and thriving forest.

Opening hours

The park is open every day of the year, from 9 am until 4:30 pm in winter (1 November – 14 March) and 5:30 pm in spring, summer, and autumn (15 March – 31 October). The park closes to newcomers thirty minutes before closing time.

In cases of bad weather, such as days with heavy rain or snow, the park may temporarily close for the safety of guests.

Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama via Wikimedia Commons

Entering the park

Once you reach the mountain top, park attendants will lead you into a hut where you can buy a refreshing drink. You can also buy biscuits, bananas, apples, peanuts and chestnuts to feed to the monkeys. These are sold in bags that cost 100 yen each.

Facilities

The park has a wide selection of drinks and snacks. It also has both Japanese-style and Western-style toilets. If travelling with kids, there is a children’s playground available where they can have fun and pass the time. There are also viewing platforms that are about 160 metres above sea level and offer panoramic views of Kyoto and the surroundings.

Reminders

You are only allowed to feed the monkeys at the feeding site, which is enclosed in a wire fence and is located in front of the hut. Giving them food outside of the designated feeding area is strictly prohibited.

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