Long time, no see! Summer has been hectic around these parts, between work, freelance and preparing for our next adventure. But I'm back for one (or maybe two!) more posts before we head to Europe. So here we are, back to Japan! Using Kyoto as a home base, we traveled to nearby cities for day trips. Arashiyama is on the western suburbs of Kyoto, and once on the JR Sagano Line, it takes about 20 minutes to get there. The small city is famous for its bamboo forest, several large temples and MACAQUE MONKEYS (!!). The town has so much charm and we enjoyed walking from the train station to the main part of town, about 10 minutes. The area is perfect for riding bikes, sadly most shops were closed while we were there.
Our first stop, of course, was the Iwatayama Monkey Park. This post is mostly about those furry little dudes so you've been warned! They were number one on my list of things to see.
After being traumatized by the Inari Shrine climb (we had no idea we were basically hiking up a mountain!), we saw the map of the Monkey Park and freaked out. But it ended up being an easy climb. It was an overcast, but warm day. Over 170 monkeys live in this park. We had a good chuckle when we realized that they put the humans in a cage in order to feed the monkeys. As it should be, probably. There's a small fee for the park that you pay at the entrance.
As we approached the summit, these little dudes were watching us from nearby branches. They roam wild, but are accustomed to humans and interacting with them. They are friendly, but many of the signs warned against looking at them directly in the eye.
We went inside the summit to feed the monkeys. It only costs about 100 yen for a bag of food. We bought three and the monkeys were so glad. They were so funny and curious. Tiny monkey spam!
The view from the mountain is breathtaking! You can see the whole town from above. I could not stop laughing at how silly these monkeys were. They really did not care that we were there.
On our way down the mountain, we found this abandoned playground. Of course we had to get on this awesome slide!
I'm glad we made the monkey park our first stop that day. We were able to explore and watch them do silly things without rushing. Part 2 of our Arashiyama day coming up!
These pictures were taken on October 2013.