Looking for fun and unique things to do in Arashiyama?
In addition to its other charms, the area offers a great view of the city if you’re willing to set aside a little time and don’t mind some climbing. And Arashiyama Monkey Park on Iwatayama Mountain is a great reason to make the hike!
When you visit Kyoto, especially if your trip comes on the heels of time spent in Tokyo, you’ll likely be struck by the low skyline. Kyoto City imposes strict regulations on construction, which has helped Kyoto to maintain its charms over the years, even as other locales succumb to development and the ‘higher is better’ mentality.
Look and you’ll notice Kyoto Tower in the top photo. It certainly stands out, whereas it would surely be lost among the jumble of tall buildings that define Tokyo!
This also means though, that finding a good vantage point from which to get the lay of the land can be a challenge. One great way to get a memorable view of the city is to head over to the western part of Kyoto.
Arashiyama plays host to a unique center often referred to in English as Monkey Park or Monkey Mountain. You’ll also find it if you search using the name of the proper name of the mountain, Iwateyama(yama means mountain in Japanese). The official English website is here.
After a climb, you’ll be greeted by wild monkeys, who are fed by the staff there. Visitors also can feed them, with food for sale on the premises. There are feeding stations that visitors enter before offering snacks to the monkeys gathered outside. Quite a refreshing twist on the standard scenario that finds the monkey in the enclosed space!
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While this is highly recommended, it isn’t for everyone-those with leg problems or other health issues should carefully consider whether they’re up to the climb, which can feel steep at times, especially in hot weather. Kyoto’s humid summers make it seem even steeper, so do keep the season and the weather as well as your physical condition in mind before heading up there. As always, a bottle of water, regardless of the weather, will serve you well!
Originally posted 2015-02-17 15:07:55.