As soon as I heard there was a chance to see some wildlife up close and personal, I couldn’t contain my excitement! I had hoped to see native animals in Japan that I had never seen before, and I was in luck. During our stay in Kyoto, a few of us had the opportunity to visit a sanctuary for the Japanese macaque. We hopped on a bus to the Arashiyama Monkey Park.
We bought our tickets and after about a 15-minute hike, we spotted the first monkeys. We were warned not to look directly into their eyes for they took this as a sign of aggression. About 120 wild macaques live in the park on Mount Iwata. I thought it was amazing how close we were able to get to them.
Once we made it to the top of the park, there was food for sale that we could feed to the monkeys from inside the building. The workers were friendly, and it wasn’t too crowded. It was really nice to see that the macaque weren’t in cages. In fact, they had a large mountainside to roam about freely.
Once we were done with the monkeys, we hiked back down and stopped for some ice cream. Then, we made our way to the bamboo forest, which wasn’t too far from the macaque park.
Being surrounded by bamboo stalks that reached high up into the sky, I found the view to be incredible. Something that I found fascinating is the fact that the plant can grow a few feet in just one day!
It was a successful day full of beautiful views and adorable animals. I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to experience this side of Kyoto, with all of its natural wonders and inhabitants.