TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- A monkey stopped morning commuters in their tracks at one of Tokyo's busiest subway stations this week, as it curiously peered down at them from its perch atop the departures and arrivals board.
Monday marked the third time a monkey has been spotted in the capital this month -- surprising, because the beasts usually live in the mountains and hills outside Tokyo, more than a two-hour train ride away from the city center.
Surprised commuters snapped cell phone pictures of the simian, while about 30 police officers scrambled to rope off the area.
They held up green nets and tarps, trying to coax the animal down from the overheard electronic board.
The monkey jumped over the officers' heads, leaped into the crowd and scampered out of the station, with police in hot pursuit.
In the end, the monkey got away. But it was enough to make Japanese media go bananas.
Reporters looked for the animal throughout Shibuya, an entertainment district most familiar to Western audiences as one of two locations where the movie "Lost in Translation" was filmed.
Bloggers posted their cell phone videos online, with comments such as, "Poor little guy looks scared to death."
A monkey was spotted in metropolitan Tokyo's Koganei city on August 12 and in Setagaya on Monday.
Officials do not know whether it is the same sightseeing simian wandering around Tokyo.
Japanese law requires a license to keep a monkey as a pet. A check of license holders in Tokyo revealed that no one had reported a monkey missing, a city spokeswoman said.
Officials are hoping people will call in additional sightings. They worry that while the animal looks cute, it could pose a danger to commuters -- as all wild animals might.
Meanwhile, the monkey mystery continues.
All About Tokyo