I love Japanese movies. I have watched a number of jidaigeki (period drama) about samurai specially those set in the late Edo period (Tokugawa Era). Akira Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai, my most favorite film of all time, is a jidaigeki set during one of the turbulent years of Japan’s past – the 16th century. I’m engrossed in reading up on samurai history from the time of Miyamoto Musashi (late 16th Century) to Sakamoto Ryoma (late 19th Century).
So while in Kyoto, it is natural for me to want to see Toie Uzumasa Eigamura (Toie Kyoto Studio Park). Eigamura is a theme park and a film studio modelled after the architecture of the Edo period and is still used today as location for historical dramas. In fact, with good timing, you might just witness the filming of a historical drama.
The entire park depicts entire scenes and architecture of the period. You’ll find park attendants dressed in traditional clothing playing samurai, ninja, geisha, and townspeople walking around the village. They give you an authentic feel of the place. While going through the houses, you’ll get a feeling that you are transported back in time in Japan where feudal lords manage government with samurai vassals who keep peace and order in the community. Unlike any other class, the samurai are loyal to their lords and even blind to their faults. This is one thing that fascinates me about the samurai.
As a tourist, when you enter the park in costume (for example in a rental kimono) you’ll get 50% discount off the entrance fee. The entrance fee to the park is 2200 yen, and additional fee if you decide to enter the ninja house.
The park has various shows all throughout the day. We got the chance to see the Ninja Show. It was great and truly enjoyable for adult viewers. For more information on park shows, you can visit the park’s English website here.
Also inside the park are the Toie Animation Museum, Enka Museum, and a Toie Museum featuring all films done by Toie. Kurosawa was also associated with Toie as it released some of his well known films like Seven Samurai. Why do I keep mentioning Akira Kurosawa? Well, I am a huge fan and I even visited his grave in Kamakura. Toie Co. Ltd. is popular to Western audiences for its action films like the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.
This is a great theme park specially if you are interested in films. You’ll find yourself with so much more to do and so many corners to explore. And did I already say, too many photo opportunities?
Toie Eigamura can easily be reached from Uzumasa Station on the Keifuku Arashiyama Line in about 5 minutes.