Needed: ok health, jr pass (optional), camera, determination.
Duration: ~45-75 minutes travel from jr kyoto station, 60-180 minutes attraction (but you can do a couple of other things in that village which are also nice, so take 4-10 hours)
Take your JR pass, take the train to arashiyama. Tip: eat breakfast on the train as it takes a while to get there. Upon arrival you can walk from the station to the bridge where you get your first "photo op" the view is nice! Don't fall for the footcabs/taxi's, if you do need a taxi/footcab, skip this attraction because you will struggle to get up the mountain. Follow the monkey signs and get yourself a bottle of drinkables you'll need it. Next pay the admission fee (600¥ i believe) and hike the path up the mountain. We did it just after heavy rain in a (sub)tropical climate, prepare for some sticky and possibly dirty (yellow sand) clothing. Along the path are some signs explaining things in "ok english". When you reach the top of the trail you might find yourself already eye to eye with monkeys on your path, simply ignore them and be greeted by the staff, they will guide you inside to (much needed in our case) refreshment. This is where the fun begins. Buy some monkey food (100¥ per packet) and start feeding the monkeys. When you are done feeding the monkeys go outside and enjoy the view of the monkeys out in the open with the whole of Kyoto in the background. Walk the grounds a bit and if you can stay for it, watch the official feeding. The official feeding only takes about 5 minutes but it is nice to see so many monkeys gather for the event. The walk back down is better than going up as you can skip a bit of the climb. After the monkeys you can head to the other things to do in arashiyama like the bamboo path, scenic train or the world heritage garden/temple. I would put this on everyone's todo list for Kyoto.
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