Kyoto is full of beautiful, old Japanese structures, giving you the feeling of being inside a movie set. But why not experience being in one and see the actions yourself? If you are fascinated by sword fights, samurais, ninjas and old Japanese films, Toei Kyoto Studio Park is the perfect place for you. Only a few minutes train ride from the Kyoto Station, this place is the definitely the “Disney Land” of Ninja and Samurai fans. Even if it is not too big, three hours is not enough. It offers many attractions and some shows that involve audience participation.
When you enter the studio, it feels like being transported back into the Edo period. Occassionally bumping into the actors gives you more hype. Many actors walk around and they gracefully let you take photos of them or with them.
Filmings are done all over the studio so from time to time, some areas are off-limits. Of course, taking videos or photos is prohibited. But it is so cool to witness them in action. There is a staff assigned who is always on the lookout for someone who tries to take photos or videos.
When a set is not used, you can freely go inside those houses and touch the props yourself. It is just amazing how detailed it is – real cabines, chairs, futons, etc that you could literally move in there. They even have real-looking plastic fishes! The whole studio is indeed ready-for-filming any time.
If you want to see more actions with a good laugh, make sure to catch the Ninja Show. It would be great if you understand Japanese because the conversations are really funny. But don't fret if you don't understand a single word! The stunts are so impressive that would leave you wanting for more. It is amazing how they can jump up and down the stage smoothly. Their movements are so fast it is difficult to get a good photo of especially that of a fight scene.
One of the shows is that of a lone performer using some sticks! They want the audience to experience entertainment during the Edo period. The audience are asked to chant something in Japanese making the show more fun.
Another attraction that you should not miss is the Samurai Sword Fighting lesson. Aside from the hilarious lines delivered by the actors, they ask for volunteers from the audience to display what they have learned from the demonstration. If you are too shy to volunteer, you can just wait until the show is over and have your photo taken with the actors.
If you have more time, you can also drop by the Toei Anime Museum and feast your eyes on great action figures. Before you leave the place, be sure to visit as much as souvenir shops as you can. There are many stuff that are found only in Eiga Mura. Shuriken key rings would be cool “omiyage” (presents/souvenirs) to friends.
For more information, you may visit their website: http://www.toei-eigamura.com/en/