November 25, 2019
by Taishiro Hashidume, Kazuki Sonoda and Yusaku Nishiyama.
Randen is one of the most famous train in Kyoto prefecture that’s because large number of tourists from other country use Randen everyday. On the otherhands, most of people actually get off in Arashiyama Station because other area is not known so well, then we want you to know about area where along with Randen trail between Omiya and Uzumasa Koryuji station.
Toei Kyoto Studio Park
First of all, we recommend you about Toei Kyoto Studio Park(Uzumasa Eiga mura). It is placed nearby Uzumasa Koryuji station.
It takes 5-7 minutes from Uzumasa Koryuji station by walk.
Toei Kyoto Studio Park is the only theme park in Japan where you can watch the filming of period dramas and also only theme park in Japan where you can enjoy the atmosphere as if the town was frozen in Edo period.
This set have been constructed and was modelled after a street from the Edo period, and it is used to shoot more than 200 films per year.
Here you can walk freely around the Toei Kyoto Studio film set with wearing japanese traditional costumes.
Here you can rent so many kinds of ancient clothes like samurai, ninja and so on.
Enjoy the atmosphere of Edo period of Japan by taking in a ninja show with dressing up Japanese traditional costume.
You can also have some foods and drinks in here, so you can enjoy film set and atmosphere with taking some food.
You will find all kinds of entertainment for both the young and the old, in this world of imagination and creation.
Secondly, we want to let you know in Uzumasa Koryuji station is “Koryuji temple”.
Kyoryuji temple is one of the Kyoto’s Shingon temple. It is also known as Uzumasa-dera and Kadono-dera now, but originally it was known as Hatanokimi-dera, Hachioka-dera and Hoko-ji long time ago.
This temple is locates in front of Uzumasa Koryu-ji station.
Koryu-ji is the oldest temple in Kyoto and it have been constructed in 603 (Asuka period) by Hatano Kawakatsu, that is to say this temple is older than Ancient Kyoto (Heiankyo).
It is also famous for Ushi-matsuri which is one of Kyoto’s three main strange festivals. It had been held in October 12th every year, but now it have been suspended because of problem with getting oxen.
In this festival, the Matarajin diety dressed in white appears and wearing a strange mask from darkness riding on a black ox.
He climbs onto the altar in front of the temple accompanied by four Oni. All of them wear strange paper masks. Matarajin starts reading prayers. The mantra is very long with a deliberate slowness. The oni and audience try to disturb reading. Nobody have any idea what it means, but if Matarajin makes a mistake, he has to read it all over again.
Finally, Matarajin and the oni run down the altar and rush into the temple and then it will be finished.
Kyoryuji has many important pieces of cultural heritages. In those of them, “Hōkan Mirokuwooden (image of the Bodhisattva Maitreya sitting contemplatively in the half-lotus position)” is one of the Japanese national treasures and it is amongst the rare objects that are preserved and displayed at there.
For the reasons mentioned above, Kyoryuji is worthy to visit when you come to Kyoto.
Another convenient destination on the Randen line is the Omiya area and the Saiin area. Visiting these areas, you will be able to feel local atmospheres rather than tourism spots. A similarity between the Omiya area and the Saiin area is affluence of small restaurants like cafes and izakayas (kind of Japanese pubs), and these are perfect places to have lunch or have a rest. Also there are some temples and shrines there and those are quiet and you can probably feel their atmosphere.
Gyoza no Osho Omiya
Gyoza no Osho is one of the biggest and most famous chain restaurants of Chinese food in Japan. It started business in 1967, and there are around 740 shops in Japan, according to the official website of Gyoza no Osho. You can go to the head store of it when you visit Omiya. Gyoza no Osho is famous for the unique set menus each shop possesses, and surely, there are a lot of unique ones in the head store, such as Omiya Teishoku, Osho Set, Ramen Set and so on. There are so many menu items to choose from but a strong recommendation might be their dumplings. The word “gyoza” actually means a dumpling, and you will probably understand that the dumping is popular in this store judging from the name of it. An order of gyoza is amazingly tasty and cheap (about 250 yen). Some people might think they would like to try Japanese food during the stay in Japan, but although gyoza originally came from China, Japanese people have been eating and enjoying them for hundreds of year. Please eat some gyoza and Chinese food here so that you can get to know why Gyoza no Osho is so famous among Japanese.
Kasuga Shrine Saiin
Kasuga Shrine is located in the Saiin area and it is beautiful and calm red shrine. It is a huge building but decent sized and hidden in residential neighborhood, but it still worth visiting there. Moreover, if you visit Japan in October, this shrine holds a festival named Kasuga Festival every year on the second weekend of October. Although this festival is not also so big compare to Gion festival, it has an ancient and honorable origin, and you can see mikoshi (portable shrine) and people wearing traditional cloth. A lot of street stalls are also available, so you can enjoy Japanese-style festival there.
There are so many places and restaurants to visit in the Omiya area and Saiin area, but not room in this short article to introduce them all. There must be many splendid restaurants, shops and other places there. It is one option to search some places and restaurants and there are a lot of small shops, so visiting by yourself and finding wonderful ones is also enjoyable another option.
In addition, Saiin is very conveniently located to take advantage of buses towards to Kinkaku-Ji, Nijo-jo, Kawaramachi and so on. Choosing the Omiya and Saiin areas as just the interval of your journey will surely make you satisfied.