Inuyama: the name translates to “Dog Mountain”, but a lot of monkey business goes on in the ancient castle town. Just outside of the quiet city, surrounded by lush forests, beautiful rolling hills and the rambling Kiso River, is the Japan Monkey Park, 500,000 square meters of amusement park, botanical gardens and abode for many hundreds of different types of primates from all over the world.
Walkways, ropeways bridges and rides take you, and some of the residents, around the extensive park, home to all manner of chimps, gorillas, gibbons, monkeys, mandrills, apes and simians. Although some of the cages are primitive by western zoological standards, the park is attempting to improve the living conditions of it’s residents, and on the whole provides comfortable living arrangements with quality viewing for the visitor, including the five-story climbing tower and chimpanzee facility and the extensive gibbon home. In some cases, visitors can enter the enclosures for a closer encounter, such as the popular Madagascar lemur enclosure.
One of the world’s foremost centers for primate biology and behavior, the Kyoto University’s Primate Research Institute is based here, and has produced results in chimpanzee numerical competency, color to symbol, and audio to image matching and recognition tests.
The best way to enjoy the facilities are with a one-day passport which includes admission for the Monkey Center and tickets for the 30 or so amusement ride attractions including a number of thrilling roller coasters, a Ferris Wheel, ghost train, and calmer rides for your younger monkeys, er,..children, such as the Merry-go-Round and airplane rides. Water-based entertainments are available in summer, and ice skating can be enjoyed in winter. You could see most of the park in 2 hours, but give yourself at least half a day to enjoy everything on offer.
Fun for young and old, the Japan Monkey park allows you to monkey around for a day!