Kyoto for nature lovers

Japan is well known for its beautiful and impeccably maintained gardens, koi carp in neat little ponds, and of course all of the gorgeous blossom that that the Japanese go crazy about in Spring.

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I wanted to share a few examples of Japan’s wildlife and nature that you might not think of straight away, and share some places in and around Kyoto where you can go and see them for yourselves at different times of year.

1. Arashiyama monkey park

http://monkeypark.jp/

If you’re in the Kyoto area during the summer months then you have to pay a visit to the Arashiyama monkey park where you can see Japanese macaques up close and even feed them.

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The park is at the top of a hill so it’s quite a climb to get up there but it’s worth it even just for the beautiful view.

There’s a kiosk at the bottom where you buy your tickets and you can also get bottles of water if you don’t already have one. Once you get to the top there’s an air small air-conditioned building where you can cool off.

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It’s just amazing to be able to walk among the monkeys just going about their day.

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You aren’t allowed to feed the monkeys outside, but instead they come to the outside of the building and you feed them from the inside. That way the monkeys aren’t encouraged to approach people outside the building – great idea!

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Visiting the Arashiyama monkey park has to be one of the best things I’ve done in Japan.

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2. Bamboo groves

Also in Arashiyama, you can walk through these fantastic groves of towering bamboo. If you go when there’s a good breeze you can hear the wind whistling through them.

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3. Nara deer

Nara is well known for its deer that wander the streets, parks, and temples without being even remotely bothered by the presence of humans.

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They are actually very friendly – especially if you have food! You can buy biscuits for them from street vendors, but be prepared to be surrounded by deer desperate to get to the food…

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We reckoned that some of them think they’re humans…

…doing a bit of shopping…

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…waiting patiently to cross the road…

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Spring blossoms are beautiful and really exciting to see, but there’s nature to be experienced at any time of year.

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