#3679

Tokyo Tower Monkeys (Sarumawashi)

With it being the 55th anniversary of the Tokyo Tower, I thought it would be suiting to write about the free monkey show that takes place in front. These shows are not put on directly by Tokyo Tower, but permitted to entertain there. I have myself gone back multiple times now to check out this entertaining feat of two species, human and primate, working together to put on a show of acrobatics and humor.

Traditionally referred to as Sarumawashi in Japan, this has the literal translation of ‘monkey circling, or monkey dancing.’ This once was a common occurrence in the streets of Japan. Trained monkeys were displayed in street-side shows usually during the holiday or festival seasons, and as time went on, they eventually began to fade away, or more seen performed in places like zoos or even in the movies.

Monkeys are dressed in little people’s clothing almost like little children. They walk upright, walk on stilts, go up stairs, and do a variety of flips! It is easy to see the attraction for children particularly for these types of events. For me not having been raised with these wonderful types of live action animal shows right in front of me at the park or popular local attraction, my attention was fixed! Watching this show brought back nostalgic feelings of my childhood’s past. *Pro Tip* If at the end of the show you donate at least five-hundred yen, you will receive a gift postcard with the little monkeys dressed up.

A decline of these types of performances can be attributed to the criticism of these monkeys being put onto leashes, and being made to perform to do tricks. To those I say look at what we do with our own domesticated pets like dogs, horses, and birds; look at the institution of zoos. Trained animals work in the movie business and have been capturing the hearts of the world for years, and other trained animals work side-by-side with our law enforcement and military helping to save lives.

You can tell with the handler’s gentle behavior with these monkeys, they truly are their handler’s pets and babies. What I have observed and seen thus far, it appears that the monkeys are treated quite well, and are happy interacting with the adorning crowds. So kick off any negative stereotypes that might prevail, and let go to enjoy entertainment with a historical past.

Alex image

Alex

United States

Alex's other advice

In Home Hydrotherapy images

In Home Hydrotherapy

Japan boasts a myriad of pristine beaches, picturesque lakes and waterfalls, and serine onsens like none other. Spending time in these waters can be very therapeutic for your body and your mind alike…

Molecular Gastronomy at Mandarin Oriental images

Molecular Gastronomy at Mandarin Oriental

For those who have never been to Japan before, when someone mentions the island nation, many preconceived perceptions may come to mind. Stories of a land that is technologically advanced and driven f…

Kanda River Show images

Kanda River Show

If you happen to be in the Tokyo area during the evening time, be sure to take a stroll down to the Kanda River for an exquisite show of nature. Bats which inhabit the banks of the river can be seen …

Hakone & Lake Ashi images

Hakone & Lake Ashi

If you are in search of that idyllic movie setting lakeside outing, then you have stumbled upon the right guiding information here. Look no further than a visit to the city of Hakone, which lies in t…

Odawara Castle images

Odawara Castle

Nobility, castles, vast open farm lands, Shōguns, and warring samurai mounted on horseback are what you would have seen if you were to travel to Edo, or Tokyo, back in the fifteenth century. If you …

High End Tempura Dining images

High End Tempura Dining

So if you are like me and love the oxymoron of a food dish, which we all know and love called tempura, then you are in for a foodie treat. Being both a healthy vegetable and fried food at the same ti…

You might also like

Beautiful View from the Roppongi Hills Observatory, Tokyo Japan images

Beautiful View from the Roppongi Hills Observatory, Tokyo Japan

Obviously, the views from Tokyo sky tree and Tokyo tower are wonderful. Sky tree is the world’s largest tower being 634m tall. Visiting these two towers, or at least one, is a must. Personally, tho…

GenS image

GenS

Scenic Cafe in Tokyo Tower Japan images

Scenic Cafe in Tokyo Tower Japan

With the recently built 634m tall mega tower Tokyo Sky Tree, Tokyo Tower has lost attention. Although it is much shorter than Sky Tree and cannot compete in terms of height, it has a better, more cen…

GenS image

GenS

Go to Shinagawa images

Go to Shinagawa

Shinagawa has some of the nicest evening yakatabune dinner cruises because of its close proximity to Roppongi's Tokyo Tower and the famous Rainbow bridge. You can either make reservations online or s…

KurtisW image

KurtisW

Yozakura - cherry blossoms at night images

Yozakura - cherry blossoms at night

Sakura (桜) is Japanese for cherry blossom. Yozakura (夜桜) is written with the characters for night and sakura and means viewing cherry blossoms at night. Sakura looks beautiful in the evening with …

David image

David

The Three Wise Monkeys images

The Three Wise Monkeys

Ever since I was little, storybooks, cartoons, and popular culture, have depicted the story of The Three Wise Monkeys. You know the image, three monkeys sitting there; one covering his ears, another …

Alex image

Alex

Tea Time with a Little Monkey Magic! images

Tea Time with a Little Monkey Magic!

Many Yokohama residents are familiar with Monkey Magic Teahouse, the well-known tea restaurant with its attractive wooden interior and marvelous tea selection in the heart of Chinatown. But most don'…

Former Deep Japan Writer image

Former Deep Japan Writer