Thursday, February 17, 2011

Japan: Monkeys and a Bamboo Forest!


Arashiyama is a nice, small town just outside of Kyoto.  The downside to Arashiyama is that although it is super touristy, it was very difficult to find anything in English...no maps, directions, etc...  I live in a country that doesn't speak English but I usually have no issues navigating around...same with China...but I had some difficulties here and there in Japan...like no English in the subways in Osaka!!

Anywhooo....after a quick lunch, I found the Monkey Park!!  The Monkey Park is located on top of Mount Arashiyama.  It is kinda a hike up there but totally worth it.  The higher I got, the more I saw monkeys walking around in the wild and swinging from tree to tree.  They gave me some simple instructions for the hike up -- like, don't look at the monkeys, take pictures, or show them food.  Seeing the monkeys swing around in the trees desperately made me want to abandon these rules, but I didn't...I've never been much of a rule-breaker!

On the top of the Monkey Park is a building.  The monkeys are completely in the wild but have gotten used to humans.  You can hang around with them outside or go inside to feed them.  It's kind of reverse, you are in the cage and the monkey is not.  But the monkeys go crazy for food so feeding them this way is really the only option.

For $1 you could purchase a bag of food to give to the monkeys.  I had so much fun I bought two bags, apples and peanuts.

This guy in the video kept pounding on the wood to say...hey, over here, give me some food!

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Things are a bit out of order.  This was a picture walking through Arashiyama, the town.
And my lunch.  Tempura shrimp with rice.
And the entrance to the Monkey Park. Thankfully there was a sign with pictures!
Back to the cage.  These monkeys are often known as Japanese Monkeys but I believe it said Snow Monkeys are the technical term.

Walking up to the monkey park...wow...these really got out of order!
The rules as I was walking up.





These were the rules at the top.  I believe Number 4 says:  Don't put a load on outside.  LOL!




Looking for bugs!



We weren't allowed to look at them in their eyes.  I was taking a picture of one and accidentally looked at one in the eyes for a second or two and it started following me.  Ahh...it was kinda scary...so I was careful after that and happy I followed the rules on the way up:)



The workers use these motorcycles to go up and down the mtn.  There was one worker outside and one inside.  They always opened the door for us so the monkeys didn't get inside.





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This is a famous bridge...haven't found any information other than, it's famous.
Yay!  First Peace Pole I've seen in Asia!
The Bamboo Groves were beautiful!
There were some intersting temples but I didn't have any time to check them out!

A guys saw me taking photos of myself and offered to take it...mine turned out better than his!
I'm glad I took the time to go out to Arashiyama.  It didn't take much more time than taking the bus across Kyoto.  Trains in Japan can be pretty expensive but the round trip ticket was only a few dollars.  My only regret is not being able to stay longer, but with limited time in Japan, I had to deal with the fact I couldn't see everything.

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