Iwatayama Monkey Park

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Iwatayama Monkey Park
One of the many Japanese Macaques in Iwatayama Monkey Park.

Iwatayama Monkey Park

Iwatayama Monkey Park was one of my favorite places to visit in Kyoto. The Japanese macaques or snow monkeys are very photogenic and well-tempered animals (as long as you don’t look them directly in the eyes). Photographers and animals lovers will enjoy the experience of seeing such amazing creatures from only a couple feet away! You can also choose to feed monkeys by purchasing food on-site. Please do not bring food with you! The monkeys can become aggressive if they think you’re hiding treats from them.

The park is located in a convenient area within Arashiyama District. You will be required to pay an entrance fee of 550 yen upon arrival. Next, you must hike 10-15 minutes uphill towards where the Japanese macaques live. Don’t get too distracted by one or two monkeys along the way, there will dozens waiting for you at the end of the trail. There are plenty of benches at the top of Iwatayama Monkey Park, a great way to relax while watching the monkeys and enjoying the amazing view over Kyoto.

I would highly recommend visiting Iwatayama Monkey Park. You will enjoy seeing Japanese macaques with the convenience of being so close to other major tourist sites. One can easily fit this into their day along with the bamboo forest and Tenryuji Temple.

Baby Japanese Macaque

What I liked:

  • The park is situated conveniently in Kyoto’s Arashiyama District. It is easy to find and offers a change of pace from the area’s other attractions. 
  • The Japanese macaques are beautiful animals. I could spend days here just taking pictures. 
  • I loved feeding the monkeys. The main building offers food for purchase and a safe setting to feed the animals. 


What I didn’t like:

  • The whole experience felt slightly inauthentic. 


How to get to Iwatayama Monkey Park:

From Kyoto Station, I would recommend taking the JR Sagano (Rapid Service) Line.  A one-way ticket to Saga-Arashiyama Station costs 240 yen and takes approximately 15 minutes. Upon arrival at the station, head south until you’ve crossed Togetsukyo Bridge and look for the signs to Iwatayama Monkey Park.


Be sure to visit the rest of my Kyoto City Guide.


Other useful links:

Iwatayama Monkey Park Official Website

Iwatayama Monkey Park Wikipedia Page

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