Another great attraction to include during your visit to Oita Prefecture is the Takasakiyama Monkey Park. A forested mountain located just outside of Beppu City, Mount Takasaki is home to over 1,500 wild monkeys. Yes, wild monkeys! The Mount Takasaki Monkey Park does not function like a zoo. There are no fences or boundaries, no off-limits areas for the Japanese Macaques. Human visitors are cautioned to keep their distance, avoid aggressive behavior and refrain from touching or feeding the monkeys. In return, they are given the opportunity to observe these animals up close.
A few decades ago, the area’s Macaques were wreaking havoc on farmer’s fields and foraging for food in neighborhood trash cans. A local official decided to alleviate the problem by luring the monkeys to the mountain with a whistle and some food. The ruse worked and Mount Takasaki has been home to these monkeys ever since.
The monkeys are fed regularly by park wardens so that they would not disrupt the local farmers nearby by wrecking their crops. Three troupes of monkeys regularly descend from the peak to eat, play on the equipment the park staff has constructed and groom themselves and their babies. Feeding occurs several times a day around the central play area. If you miss the announcement, just watch the monkeys. It’s always a crazy rush for food when the feed is scattered.
The Mount Takasaki Monkey Park is a short 10 minute bus ride from central Beppu (Beppu Station or Beppu Kitahama). Be sure to get off at the Takasakiyama bus stop. A visit to the Monkey Park is best when combined with a visit to the nearby Umitamago Aquarium. The Monkey Marine Ticket costing ¥2,260 consists of a round trip ride from Beppu to the Monkey Park, admission to the Monkey Park and the Umitamago Aquarium.
Takasakiyama Monkey Reserve
Address: Oita-shi Kouzaki 3098-1
Tel: 097 532 5010
Open daily from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM
Photo credits: Rocky Andoh