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The Snow Monkeys of Kyoto’s Bamboo Forest

Kyoto was once known as the capital of Japan and is one of the most beautiful cities you will ever visit. With amazing temples, palaces, and curated gardens, this is truly a majestic destination. Fall and Spring are amongst the best times of the year to visit with the trees illuminating the hillsides and forest with spectacular and vivid color.

The title of this article is a little misleading. The monkeys actually live across the river from the Bamboo Forest, at the top of a mountain in the Arashiyama district. The monkeys have been displaced by modern agriculture and now live under the protection of the park. The snow monkeys in the park are supposedly wild, but you’re allowed to hand feed them apples and popcorn. These monkeys range from super aggressive butt grabber to incredibly passive almost bemused onlookers.

Native to Japan the snow monkeys regularly head for the hot springs during the colder months and have even been seen rolling snowballs. Traits like these make the Japanese Macaque one of the most intelligent primates living on the planet. They live in complex family groups, teaching, and sharing with each other.



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