Parent and Baby Monkeys Appear at Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, KyotoAttack Risk despite Popularity among Tourists
There have been frequent appearances of a Japanese macaque and its infant pouncing on worshippers and tourists and invading stores on Inariyama Mountain, which is in the precincts of Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto. The shrine's popularity has been soaring among tourists from abroad. The Fushimi Ward Office's Fukakusa Branch and other authorities have posted multilingual signs to warn overseas sightseers.
According to Fukakusa Branch, on February 14, a local person notified the office, saying, "During the past week, a monkey and its infant have frequently appeared, jumping on tourists and doing other things."
The notice was from an 81-year-old woman at "Santokutei," a teahouse located in the middle of the mountain. She said that she had seen monkeys that strayed from their troops, but this was the first time she saw them coming so close to humans. Although she wanted to warn Chinese tourists, she anxiously said, "I can't do anything since I don't speak their language. It would be awful if they were attacked and hurt." She is also worried as the macaques seem to have no fear of humans and grab food from the teahouse. She said, "They snarl at me and behave frighteningly, so I keep the glass doors at the entrance closed, but that severely affects my business."
The branch office staff is working daily to handle the situation, by shouting out loudly to scare off the monkeys and warning tourists nearby. It has distributed warning notices written in English, Chinese and Korean to cafes and other stores and asked them to post the signs. A person in charge cautions, "Please refrain from feeding the macaques, and from leaving offerings to the deity there."
Our reporter witnessed the macaques in an area crowded with teahouses and shrines, a few hundred meters west along a direct road from the Mitsu-tsuji intersection. The two monkeys were near the shrine fence surrounded by a crowd. Someone could be heard saying, "Cute," and most of the people around them were smiling. Foreign tourists focused their smartphones and cameras on the monkeys.
When a group of young Japanese women passed by, the parent monkey fiercely pounced on a woman's back. Fortunately, she seemed uninjured thanks to the leather jacket she was wearing, but she looked really shocked.(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)