One of my most vivid memories of my first trip to Japan in 2009 was our visit to Iwataya Monkey Park, located in South Arashiyama. The park is a good break from temple-hopping, especially if you’re partial to furry creatures.
I remember that we had a little difficulty finding the park, but eventually we came across a small tell-tale sign and narrows steps leading up to the entrance.
Monkey park is actually a misleading name as it was more like a monkey mountain, and the climb was memorable in that I had to stop for a rest more than once on the way up, and was embarrassingly overtaken by a little boy and his grandad.
At least we didn’t feel cheated as monkeys were pretty much everywhere on the mountain. They were quite used to humans and weren’t at all spooked when we got up close for a photo.
Finally we got to the top and there were more monkeys!
The view from the top wasn’t too shabby either.
There was also a pond and small shack where you could actually feed the monkeys through the fenced up windows.
One last monkey shot…
We headed onto Tenryuji Temple afterwards, which is one of the Kyoto’s five main Zen Buddhist temples.
Could you get your coin into the bowl?
And don’t miss the impressive bamboo grove right behind the temple grounds!