Copyright © 2010 by Kathryn Buck

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Monkey business in Kyoto

We went out to Arashiyama today to see the bamboo groves. It was quite amazing to see a whole forest of bamboo and beautiful as well. It's a shame it was another rainy day because I can imagine it would be really stunning with little slithers of sunlight slipping between the leaves and stippling the ground below. The green was so zesty and bright, not what you'd imagine it looking like from the pale brown stuff you use to hold up your runner beans! Even on a dull day like this, the colour was limey and juicy and delicious.

But bamboo was not the highlight of my day. Not by a long way. No, the highlight of my day and one of the most memorable experiences of my life was having wild monkeys take food from my hand.

We found a park which had around 140 Japanese snow monkeys living and playing in the trees. You could see them swinging from branch to branch above your head and play fighting in the mud.

Lucky for us, April is when all the babies are born so there quite a few tiny ones around having fleas picked off them by doting mums.

There was an observation area (where you are in a cage - not the monkeys) and you could feed them fruit and nuts. They put their hands through the wires and patiently waited their turn for a chesnut or a bit of apple. They take it so gently from your hand, their fingers are soft like ours. My favourite one, a big fat lady gave me a little nod to say thanks each time I fed her.

We were just in time for lunch as well. Suddenly, a man started running around clanging a bucket and shouting. From nowhere ten monkeys turned into one hundred, running around picking nuts up off the floor. Scrapping over peanuts to can-can music played over loudspeakers. I got so excited I cried a little bit!

Here is one of the monkeys guarding the city below (courtesy of Twitpic hence the low quality).

Tomorrow, "to the castle!" (to be pronounced in ye olde worlde English - cars-ul).

1 comment:

  1. What an experience! I don't normally care for monkey business but you make them sound so sweet,so glad you enjoyed yourself so much. Looking forward to the cars-l.