The Japanese Restaurant That Has Monkeys For Waiters

Travel is one of the best ways for people to broaden their horizons, better understand other cultures, and learn that we are not so different from the others with whom we share this planet. There is a popular anonymous quote that states, "Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer." With the advent of new technologies, traveling is more accessible to more people in the 21st century than ever before. Even still, the world can seem more divided than ever. When we put real or perceived differences aside, however, we can discover what truly makes each nation special. We may even find some quirky, one-of-a-kind places.

Japan is renowned for its deep cultural roots that went untouched by outside influences for centuries. During a period of isolation, Japan developed traditional tea ceremonies and a samurai culture, which are still part of imagery associated with the country. Today, Japan is modern and economically vibrant. The Japanese also know how to have fun and make an impression.

The monkeys belong to the restaurant's owner

Kaoru Otsuka is the owner of a traditional Japanese restaurant called The Kayabukiya Tavern not far from Tokyo. What makes this restaurant famous is its furry and friendly Macaque monkeys that serve as waiters, complete with checkered shirts. The monkeys are not always five-star servers, but customers seem more than willing to overlook a couple of spilled cups more than they would be if the waiter was a human. Otsuka and the customers compensate the monkeys in bananas and soya beans (per Financial Express).

The Macaques are actually Otsuka's pets. She got the idea to allow them to be waiters when her monkey Fuku-chan mimicked the first monkey-turned-waiter and brought a napkin to one of the tables on his own. When speaking to the Daily Mail, Otsuka stated that the monkeys "are closer than my family." Monkeys have served at the restaurant and delighted customers for three decades now. 

Some Japanese Macaques live in cold parts of the country

Japanese Macaques are native to multiple parts of Japan and can even live in the cold mountainous areas of the islands. This is why some refer to them as snow monkeys. To thrive in colder temperatures, they bathe in thermal pools. Macaques can also be found in evergreen forests and subtropical parts of Japan. Like other primates, macaques have opposable thumbs and can walk on their hind legs. They are social, often living in groups of 20 to 30 members, and are generally calm in demeanor. Some have even been observed making snowballs seemingly for fun.

It is no secret that primates are among the most intelligent of the animal kingdom. However, though the Japanese macaques have healthy numbers, some primates are on the verge of extinction. Orangutans in southeast Asia are struggling, as are gorillas in Africa. Against these odds, there are scientists and nonprofit organizations working to save these animals that are so human-like in emotions and in intelligence.