Kyoto, Arashiyama


bamboo forest

Arashiyama bamboo forest

Have I mentioned that I don’t really have much interest in looking at boring temples and shrines and shit? Well if you take away the TS&S factor from Kyoto, all you’re left with is some good eats and … the monkey park!

fishing the Hozu

this guy caught a couple of ayu (or this is what they looked like from a distance) while we were waiting for a bus


helping cicada-y get back to his tree

Out at the western end of the city is the Arashiyama area, and the hills nearby are home to a tame but still technically wild troop of something like 1,400 Japanese macaques. The Arashiyama monkey trail costs about the same as what you have to pay for a visit to a top-end temple or castle (about five bucks), but hey, we’re talking about monkeys!

jeff and snake-y

helping snake-y get down the hill (towards Kyoto)

There’s a modest climb up stairs and trail to get to monkey central, and along the way I got to help a cicada-y get back to its tree and a little snake-y get past a snake-proof barrier, so that he could go do his shopping in Kyoto. (Something like this happens in almost all of the Japanese fables, ref. Momotaro).

shark and sign

something lost or something gained in translation?

We got to read some interesting signage along the way. I wonder if the Japanese is as inscrutable as the English. The most amusing instructions we got were in the brochure/guide map: “Please feed monkeys only from your final resting place.”

saru and ryo

feeding a peanut to a resident from the "resting room"

saru close up

Arashiyama monkeys that are partial to peanuts and chestnuts (as opposed to grain) stay attached to the windows of the rest house

At the top (or where the trail crested) there’s an area that has been graded flat to serve as an observation deck with a nice city overlook and, yes, a rest house from which you can feed the monkeys (who have to stay on the outside). As we entered our “final resting place” we were given frozen moist towelettes, which felt very nice. The watering hole for the monkeys is a little koi pond.

saru and koi

Arashiyama Monkey Park

Adri skipped this little adventure, opting instead for the TS&S down in the flatter parts of Arashiyama.