A day trip through Edo

Japan’s Edo period is, in my opinion, the most fascinating period in Japanese history. It was a time of artistic and cultural development, a time of peace, prosperity, and social progress. It also happens to epitomize most people’s idea of “traditional Japan:” think tea ceremonies on tatami mats, samurai warriors on horseback with swords in hand, travelers clad in brightly colored kimonos, etc.

The Edo period took place from about 1600 to 1868 (ending with the start of the Meiji restoration and western imperialism). But for one and a half train rides, a quick bus detour, and 1500 Yen, I got to travel back 200 years and experience a snippet of the Edo period in all its glory – ninja and samurai included – at Toei Studios Park in Uzumara, Kyoto.

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Featuring a collection of various traditional buildings, which are occasionally used as a backdrop for filming historical movies and television dramas (known as jidaigeki films), the park is designed to resemble a quintessential small town from the Edo Period.

Unlike your typical theme park, there aren’t any rides, but Toei Studios Park offers a ton of different activities and attractions for guests to participate in during the day. There are ninja shows in the grand theater, sword-fighting lessons on the main street, even costume shops at the entrance where you can rent a kimono and wander the streets of ancient Japan as a geisha or samurai.

My friend and I watched a show called Class of the Ninjas: Ninja Show, Sasuke, which had the perfect amount of live action fight scenes, excessive shouting, and tacky special effects. We also watched behind-the-scenes footage of a scene in a period film from the director’s perspective and got to learn a few tips and tricks of the trade.

IMG_8209For the hungry traveler in search of refreshment, restaurants selling classic Japanese fare, like udon noodles and spiced curry, are interspersed throughout the tiny town. My friend and I stopped by a cafeteria with a simple, family-friendly menu selling both Japanese and western-style dishes. My friend ordered a hearty plate of spaghetti and tomato sauce – a staple of traditional Japan.

There were several food stalls along the main streets as well, offering snacks like mitarashi dango, grilled corn, and hot dogs, or “American wieners” as they were called. Though the food doesn’t necessarily stay true to the park’s theme, there’s something for everyone – young or old, tourist or local – to enjoy.

 

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“Milk Hall:” a retro coffee shop on the main street that sells everything milk-related, including fruit parfaits, soft-serve ice cream, and a popular strawberry milk concoction.

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The park itself is very small; it only took my friend and I about two hours to walk the entire vicinity. But regardless of its size, the experience of traversing ancient Japan on foot was well worth the trip – one that I doubt I’ll be able to have again. Unless I return for a second visit of course, which I’d say is very possible; I wouldn’t mind re-watching the Ninja Show Sasuke again.

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Here’s a link to the park’s website if you want to learn more about the park, its attractions, and how to get there! If you’re in the Kansai area, I definitely recommend stopping by for an afternoon.

One thought on “A day trip through Edo

  1. marilyn eberhardt

    Julia, this is my favorite so far…and you are absolutely wonderful to make the effort to do all that you do…who did you go with? your dad gave us your itinerary when he comes to Hong Kong etc…he is excited too and he was wonderful to invite us to join him…grandpa just does not have it in him anymore….and at this stage of the game I don’t want to leave him alone…so we will live vicariously thru your dad. gorgeous day over and over with no rain in sight until maybe march….the crows had a fine breakfast….house cleaning day then to our village theater to see Animal Farm…did you ever study that in school…. grandpa is blacktopping the driveway and said it is twice as big as it was when he last did it…i feel that way about the lawn when I mow  yesterday we drove to Modesto for the confederate air forces fund raising breakfast….in their giant hangar….all volunteers and they served 484 breakfast that day..they have 3 kinds of eggs 4 kinds of pancakes, beans, biscuits and gravy, bacon fruit coffee and juice for $7…and wonderful comraderies…we went so Grandpa had an excuse to take the morning off from the drivewayanother thing that is so wonderful…some of the volunteers are from a leadership class at a local high school..the nicest young men….david brought me my second cup of coffee ….so darned nice…has 8 brothers and sisters…one brother at UCLA on a scholarship….they had a crab feed two weeks ago and they had 500..don’t know how they do it…when you live with us we will take you before i get started going to reread your blog thank you for being someone who we are so proud of.  Grandma 

    From: My Year in Minoh To: stuandmarilyn@att.net Sent: Friday, February 9, 2018 7:26 PM Subject: [New post] A day trip through Edo #yiv3726816733 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv3726816733 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv3726816733 a.yiv3726816733primaryactionlink:link, #yiv3726816733 a.yiv3726816733primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv3726816733 a.yiv3726816733primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv3726816733 a.yiv3726816733primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv3726816733 WordPress.com | Julia Eberhardt posted: “Japan’s Edo period is, in my opinion, the most fascinating period in Japanese history. It was a time of artistic and cultural development, a time of peace, prosperity, and social progress. It also happens to epitomize most people’s idea of “traditional Ja” | |

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