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Kyoto:The Birthplace of Japanese Cinema

Filming a historical drama at Eigamura

Filming a historical drama at Eigamura

The roots of Japanese cinema date back to 1897, when moving images were displayed on a large screen for the first time in Japan, using a "Cinematographe" machine imported from France. The setting was the garden of the Kyoto Dento Kaisha, located at the corner of Shijo and Kawaramachi Streets in Kyoto. Through this event, Kyoto became the birthplace of Japanese cinema.

As time went by, films set in the modern era were generally filmed in Tokyo, while historical dramas were filmed in Kyoto. Following the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, many Tokyo film studios were moved to Uzumasa in Kyoto, where legendary films such "Rashomon" and the original "Zatoichi" series were shot, and stars such as Katsu Shintaro emerged. Kyoto began to be known for its film industry. However, the industry began to suffer following the introduction of television and other forms of entertainment to the Japanese marketplace. Toei Uzumasa Eiga Mura (“Movie Village・ was established in 1975 (Showa 50) in order to help "Preserve the light of cinema".

In modern times the Uzumasa studio has been used to shoot various historical television dramas such as the well known series "Toyama no Kinsan" and "Abarenbo Shogun". Visitors to the studio are able to see these historical scenarios being filmed before their very eyes. Eigamura may be the only place of its kind in Japan, where visitors can enter the world of a historical drama.

A scene from the historical drama "Yoshitsune and Benkei" filmed at Eigamura

A scene from the historical drama "Yoshitsune and Benkei" filmed at Eigamura

Most of these dramas are set during the Edo period, and historically authentic items that were used in the daily work and lives of the Japanese people of that era can be seen on the studio sets. Therefore, visiting Eiga Mura is not only an entertaining experience, but an educational one as well.

According to Yonezawa San of the production department of Eiga Mura: "Eiga Mura is more than just a theme park. We hope that visitors can learn about the lives and philosophies of Japanese people of ancient times by observing these historical dramas. For example, they would use damaged old straw sandals as fire kindling, and then use the ashes to fertilize their fields. The megumi (old time firefighters) were all volunteers. The people of that era believed in doing things for the sake of their community and fellow humans. By viewing these historical dramas, we can apply this knowledge to our modern lives. Our goal is to enable visitors to enjoy revisiting this peaceful time in Japan's past.・Why not "time slip" into the past by visiting Eiga Mura?

Hours: 9:00- 17:00
Address:Uzumasa Hachigaoka, Ukyo Ku, Kyoto City
Access: 13 minute walk from JR Sagano Line Uzumasa Station, 5 minute walk from Keifuku Train Uzumasa Station, City Bus 75 or 91 to Uzumasa Eigamura Michi Bus Stop
Admission: \2,200 for adults (\1,300 for middle and high school students, \1,100 for children)
Inquiries: phone075-864-7716

Summer Events At Toei Uzumasa Eigamura
- Historical Action Drama: "Eiyusenki Yoshitsune to Benkai" (Warrior Heroes Yoshitsune and Benkai) July 16-Aug. 31
- Yoshitsune and Benkai Exhibit from July 16th onwards
- Superhero land, Hero collection, Super Hero Studio open everyday
- Eigamura Nightime Festival Aug. 13- Aug. 16th- Studio stays open until 9pm and sets are lit up.

-Article by Mukosaka Fukimi, translation by Bianca Jarvis

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Hands-on Cultural Activities in Kyoto

As a city famous for tourism and traditional culture, there are all kinds of unique cultural experiences you can try in Kyoto and nowhere else. We would like to introduce you to some places where you can inexpensively learn about Kyoto’s traditional industries that been passed down through the generations. Take advantage of these chances to experience Kyoto with all five senses!

Please contact each of the following places directly to inquire about application procedures, location and so forth. The program contents and fees are subject to change, so please re-confirm when you make your reservation. Many of these facilities have websites that you can look at as well.

Kumihimo (braided cord)

You can try making Japanese style braided cord which is used to make kimono obi cords at the Adachi Kumihimokan. You can try making your own original keitai mobile phone strap or other crafts.

Location: Demizu Dori Karasuma Nishi Iru, Kamigyo Ku
Access: 8 min. walk from subway Karasuma Line "Marutamachi" station.
Inquiries: phone075-432-4113
Applications: Please apply 2-3 days in advance
Hours: 9:00-16:00
Holidays: Closed every Sunday, second, third and fourth Saturdays, national holidays, New Years and Obon season Program fees and time required:
Kimono Obi Band Course \5,000 2 hours
Hair Ornament Course \2,500 1 hour
Keitai Strap Course \2,000 1 hour
The fee includes a tour of the "Kyo Kumihimo Museum", if you wish to view the museum only the fee is \500.

Embroidery and Yatsuhashi (cinnamon mochi sweets)

Yatsuhashi (cinnamon mochi sweets)

Yatsuhashi (cinnamon mochi sweets)

There are many different hands-on programs you can try at at the "Yatsuhashi-an to Shishu-yakata" center, such as making embroidery and traditional yatsuhashi sweets.

Location: 36 Nishikyogoku Nishikoromode-cho, Ukyo Ku
Access: City bus 73 to "Nishikyogoku" Bus Stop, City Bus 32 or 80 to "Nishikyogoku Umatsuka-cho" bus stop, you can schedule a pick-up from Hankyu Line Nishikyogoku Station
Inquiries: phone075-313-2151
Applications: Please apply at least one day in advance
Hours: 9:00-17:15
Program fees and time required:
Yatsuhashi Sweets Course \840 40 minutes
Make 3 flavors (bean paste, strawberry, green tea or chocolate) of yatsuhashi sweets using square pieces of cinnamon flavored mochi, and take the finished product home as a souvenir.
Embroidery Course \1,050 40 minutes
An instructor will teach you how to make embroidery. The center will make your embroidery into a tissue case and mail it to you afterwards.
Other courses include making dumplings using Kyoto vegetables, making traditional Kyoto sweets, or creating dolls from silk worm cocoons.

Tea Ceremony

The Kokoan Tea Room in the Hosomi Museum offers a tea ceremony program including an explanation of the history and etiquette of tea ceremony. After observing the tea master, you will have a chance to try making tea yourself. The tea will be served with a seasonal Japanese sweet. An English pamphlet is available.

Location: 6-3 Okazaki Saishoji-cho, Sakyo-Ku (Inside the Hosomi Museum)
Access: 10 minute walk from subway Tozai line Higashiyama Station, 2 minute walk from City bus "Higashiyama Nijo" bus stop.
Inquiries: phone075-752-5555
Applications: Please apply at least one day in advance
Hours: 11:00-17:00
Program fees and time required: \1,500, 30 minutes

Yuzen Dyeing

You can experience the traditional art of yuzen stencil dyeing at the "Marumasu Nishimuraya" Yuzen workshop.

Location:Ogawa Dori Oike Minami Iru
Access: 5 minute walk from Subway Tozai Line Nijojo Station exit #2, City Bus to Horikawa Oike Bus Stop
Inquiries: phone075-211-3273
Applications: Apply at least one day in advance
Website: (English page available)
Hours: 9:00-17:00
Holidays: Closed Jan. 1st through 3rd
Program fees and time required:
Coaster \525, Handkerchief \1,260, Lunch Mat \1,575, T-Shirt (using indigo dye) \3,360, and many other courses available. All courses take about an hour.

-Nako Tamai (Translation by Bianca Jarvis)

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Note:This list is by no means exhaustive. Information is subject to change without warning.

Designed by Yukie Mizoi (HP Volunteer)