Monkeys & Bamboo: An Adventurous Journey to Arashiyama, Japan


Japan is definitely one of the most unique places in the world to visit. The country finds a way to seamlessly blend the ancient with the ultra-modern and provided visitors with the opportunity to visit temples and shrines that date back thousands of years and also experience places like owl cafes and robot restaurants.

The city of Kyoto, Japan is very well-known for being home to thousands of famous shrines and temples and also being a place where you can also find some of the best green tea that the country has to offer.

In addition to temples and green tea, Kyoto has a very beautiful district called Arashiyama, where you can find the beautiful Togetsukyo Bridge which overlooks a gorgeous and lush mountainside, the extremely popular Bamboo Groves, and the Monkey Park Iwatayama (嵐山モンキーパーク).

It is not often that I get an opportunity to stroll through bamboo groves or play with monkeys, so when I visited Kyoto, I made it a point to make sure I added a visit to Arashiyama to my itinerary.

Arashiyama Monkey Park

When I arrived to the Arashiyama district, my first mission was figure out how to navigate my way to the monkey park using Google Maps. When I finally arrived at the entrance of the park, I purchased an entry ticket for 550 yen and read the basic rules that stated a few things including: ‘do not stare at the monkeys‘, ‘do not touch the monkeys‘, and ‘keep a distance of more than 3 meters‘.

In all honesty after I finished reading the rules on the ticket I was wondering whether or not choosing to visit these monkeys was actually a sane idea. I was starting to get the impression that these monkeys might cause some physical harm to me if I did not adhere to these rules.

I shrugged off my feelings of uneasiness and I decided to continue the journey despite the impending threat of dangerously wild monkeys that laid ahead of me.

monkey sign

monkey park kyoto sign

As I made my way up the mountain, I saw signs that continued warning me about feeding, photographing, and keeping my distance from the monkeys, so when I came upon the first set of monkeys playing near a small playground, I proceeded to with caution and decided to photograph them from a distance.

monkey park kyoto

After watching the monkeys for a little while, I decided to climb up to the main area of the park where I could watch them roam around while taking a look at the city of Kyoto from atop the mountain. I had also read that at the park I would be able to feed some of the monkeys from the protection of an enclosed cage.

monkey park kyoto

monkey park kyoto

I really enjoyed being able to get up close and fairly personal with these unique Japanese snow monkeys, called Macaques. I found that the monkeys were actually very harmless despite all of the warnings about looking into their eyes, photographing them, and crouching down near them.

For the entire hour that I spent inside of the monkey park, they seemed pretty #unbothered by the humans in their presence and strolled around acting like we were not there at all.

monkey park kyoto

Although I was pretty much ignored by most of the monkeys while I was there, when it was time for me to feed them, I was suddenly deemed important.

I purchased some snacks for the monkeys for 100 yen and made my way over to the gated area to feed the monkeys. As I stuck my hand through the cage I immediately got a lot of attention. I even had fun telling the monkey that I was feeding not to be greedy and to only eat one piece of food at a time, which surprisingly he seemed to understand quite well.

monkey park kyoto

After spending some time with the monkeys, I decided to make my way towards Kyoto’s famous Sagano Bamboo Forest, which is known as one of the most beautiful forests in the world.

Arashiyama Japan

As I crossed over the bridge overlooking the mountains of Arashiyama, I could not help but to feel at peace. The magnificent scenery made me want to stay in the area forever where I could enjoy being surrounded by nature.

Bamboo Forest Japan

After approximately twenty minutes of walking, I found myself at the entrance to the bamboo groves. I made my way past the crowds in the front and headed deeper and deeper into the forest. A gentle breeze brushed over my skin as the bamboo swayed gently overhead. Although there was chatter from visitors all around me, it still felt quite peaceful.

The day was starting to draw to a close and I made my way out of the bamboo forest in search of a bus to take me back into the city. If you visit Kyoto, I would definitely make it a point to spend a day exploring Arashiyama.

Bamboo Forest Japan

Practical Information

Monkey Park Iwatayama | Cost – ¥550 Adults | Website

Bamboo Groves | Access – Located next to the Tenryu-ji temple| Cost – FREE

Transportation: Saga Arashiyama Station, JR Sagano line / Arashiyama Station, Henkyu railway / Bus #28

Looking for alternative things to do in Kyoto? Consider checking out some of the activities below!

By |2018-03-30T00:12:14+00:00April 24th, 2016|Japan, Kyoto|56 Comments


  1. Tia Chambers May 13, 2016 at 9:05 am - Reply

    Wow! What beautiful views. It’s super cute that he monkeys seem to understand your words telling them not to be greedy.

    • Chanel | Cultural Xplorer May 13, 2016 at 3:47 pm - Reply

      Hey Tia, yes they were some of most beautiful views I have ever seen. I thought it was so interesting that the monkey seemed to be listening to me like we were in a conversation!

  2. Nancy Laws May 13, 2016 at 10:45 am - Reply

    The scenery is beautiful and it looks like so much fun. We got the upclose experience with monkeys when were in Kenya and it was incredible to be so close to such amazing creatures!

  3. Kiwi May 13, 2016 at 2:00 pm - Reply

    You took some amazing photos. I am sorry I was a little unknowledgeable about Japan and them having monkeys of this nature. I felt like I was there with you with your photos you got really close too!

  4. Tia May 13, 2016 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    This looks like such a fun adventure! I did not get a chance to visit Kyoto when I was in Japan but I would like to one day.

  5. Stacie Sayz So May 14, 2016 at 9:27 am - Reply

    Awesome pics! You did a great job capturing the beauty of your trip. Your face on the slide was funny too. 😉

  6. Antoinette Cain May 15, 2016 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    That bridge view is beautiful and I’d bet that it was even more breathtaking in person.

  7. JoAnna E May 16, 2016 at 10:47 am - Reply

    beautiful photos. I would’ve been so scared to go through that, but that’s the beauty of going on an adventure. I love the bamboo groves. Reminds me of Trinidad. 🙂

  8. Eva May 16, 2016 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    These photos are so beautiful! I love that you got such great close ups. The bamboo pics look fantastic.

  9. Mimi "MimiCuteLips" Green May 16, 2016 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    OMG I enjoyed this so much, monkeys are my favorite animal. You did a great job capturing the journey and experience. The monkey asking for more food was really cute.

  10. Valerie Robinson May 16, 2016 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    This is so cool! Awesome images! I love the cute little monkeys!

  11. Kim Porter May 16, 2016 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    The bamboo looks amazing. I’m terrified of monkeys lol I couldn’t even take looking at the pics.

    • Chanel | Cultural Xplorer Jul 19, 2017 at 1:52 pm - Reply

      The good thing is that the region has something for everyone Kim, even if you do not want to go near the monkeys!

  12. Kay's Ways May 16, 2016 at 9:29 pm - Reply

    The bamboo grove looks amazing! I’d love to be there; looks so relaxing. These photos are everything!

  13. Camesha May 16, 2016 at 11:27 pm - Reply

    Such great pics. That forest is breathtaking.

    You are a brave one for that monkey trip. Those were a lot of rules! LOL

  14. Jeanette Jul 18, 2017 at 9:28 am - Reply

    My brother has been to Japan that I don’t know if he’s been here. I would love to explore a place like this. To see all those different kinds of monkeys in the bamboo forest is outrages. At some point I’m hoping to get there.

    • Chanel | Cultural Xplorer Jul 18, 2017 at 11:04 am - Reply

      It definitely was an interesting and fun experience Jeanette and I hope that you do get to explore the park someday!

  15. Vyjay Rao Jul 18, 2017 at 10:25 am - Reply

    Those Japanese snow monkeys look cute. I would love to visit this place as I am simply bowled over by those bamboo groves. I could spend hours walking in that bamboo grove. It is so beautiful. Great pics!

  16. Candy Kage Jul 18, 2017 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    Monkeys have always kind of scared me. Goes back to being young and watching wizard of oz. Visiting Japan and this place to observe the monkeys was an adventure.

    • Chanel | Cultural Xplorer Jul 18, 2017 at 12:24 pm - Reply

      I have to admit Candy that I was super nervous before going up but once I got up there and saw how friendly they were, my fears went away!

  17. Betty Boiron Jul 18, 2017 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    Wow Japan is truly an interesting place to visit. I love the signs they put up – Some of them are just downright hilarious. The monkeys are adorable! My kids would love it!

    • Chanel | Cultural Xplorer Jul 18, 2017 at 12:24 pm - Reply

      Japan really is an interesting place and I agree the monkeys are adorable. Kids would really love this place – there were some there that had an awesome time feeding the monkeys!

  18. Sarah Jul 18, 2017 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    Japan is some place I really want to visit soon. This trip looks amazing! Oh and the monkeys, adorable!

  19. OhNikka Jul 18, 2017 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    What a fun experience, and I’m sure your were excited. I would of been a little scared.

  20. Pam Jul 18, 2017 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    This sounds like a really fun experience. Those monkeys are super cute, I would love to see them up close.

  21. Eileen @ YesMissy Jul 18, 2017 at 7:30 pm - Reply

    I’ve always wanted to visit Japan. This looks like such an amazing place! Your photos are amazing!

  22. valmg Jul 18, 2017 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    The entrance to the bamboo roves looks quite impressive. I think seeing the monkeys would be interesting. I’m guessing the rules are just to try and keep people safe.

    • Chanel | Cultural Xplorer Jul 19, 2017 at 1:49 pm - Reply

      Yes, I agree the bamboo forest was very impressive and seeing the monkeys was pretty cool! You are absolutely right, the rules are meant to keep people from getting harmed 😀

  23. Alison Rost Jul 19, 2017 at 12:40 am - Reply

    I can’t get over how incredible the bamboo groves are! And the cute monkeys .. I can’t believe they were so tame that you could be right with them. What an experience. Thank-you for bringing parts of it to us. x

    • Chanel | Cultural Xplorer Jul 19, 2017 at 1:50 pm - Reply

      The bamboo was some of the most beautiful I have seen in my life (outside of the forest I had seen in Korea. It was an experience for the books!

  24. chubskulit Jul 19, 2017 at 6:58 am - Reply

    What a beautiful view. I would feel the same if I’ll be there, I wouldn’t want to leave either.

  25. Adriana Jul 19, 2017 at 10:27 am - Reply

    I am SO jealous that you got to go to Japan! It’s on my bucket list – my cousins just came back from visiting Japan and Hong Kong and they have amazing stories. These pictures are amazing! Hope you had a blast!

  26. Jenn @ EngineerMommy Jul 19, 2017 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    We’re heading to a zoo soon and this post is totally getting me excited to see all the animals. This looks like such a fun destination. My kids love seeing all the animals up close!

    • Chanel | Cultural Xplorer Jul 19, 2017 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      If your kids like seeing animals up close, they will definitely enjoy seeing the monkeys as they roam around freely atop the hill!

  27. My Teen Guide Jul 19, 2017 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    Japan is in our bucket list! I wish our dream of touring Asia would come to fruition soon! That bamboo forest is so interesting! The trees look so tall.

  28. WEMAKE7 Jul 19, 2017 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    Awww the monkeys are so cute. These pictures are amazing and make me feel like I am right there too.

  29. Emily, Our house now a home Jul 20, 2017 at 1:03 am - Reply

    Ah, this would be so fun to see! What an adventure to go on, Japan is a place I have always hoped to visit!

  30. Stephanie Pass Jul 20, 2017 at 8:59 am - Reply

    I have to agree after reading those rules, I’d be a bit uneasy as well. But it looks like an interesting place to check out.

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.