Randen

April 10, 2010

by Kazuho Gofuku; Mika Suzuki

Hot spots along the Randen Train Line in Western Kyoto

The Randen, also known as the “Keifuku Line,” is a streetcar running in western Kyoto. Its route connects Omiya Station at Shijo-Omiya to Arashiyama Station in western Kyoto. Kyoto people have nicknamed this line “Randen” and regard it with great warmth.

The neighborhoods that parallel the Randen are mostly residential but they also have some interesting tourist spots. There are sights to be seen and local products to be sampled.

We would like to introduce some tourist spots, shops and other good places along the Randen line. You can go both sightseeing and souvenir shopping on just this line, which makes it especially convenient and appealing.

Arashiyama Area

Arashiyama

When you get off the Randen train at Arashiyama Station, you can see a big, round mountain! This is Arashiyama, and it means “Storm Mountain.” There is a phrase that can be translated as “Autumn Arashiyama,” because the colored leaves at Arashiyama are especially beautiful and famous. Arashiyama is beautiful not only in autumn, but also in other seasons. In July, Arashiyama has a deep beautiful green color. It contrasts with the blue of the Katsura River at the foot of the mountains.

Togetsukyo Bridge

The Togetsukyo Bridge is symbol of Arashiyama and most pictures of Arashiyama include this bridge. Togetsukyo means “Moon-crossing-bridge.” This name originated from that retired emperor Kameyama, who looked up at that the luminous moon over the bridge from the upper reaches of the river, and said, “It is just as if the moon is crossing the bridge.” This occurred in the Kamakura era.

Grocer Marun

Get off the Randen train at Arashiyama Station, and turn to the left.
Grocer Marun is less than a three-minute walk from the station. The concept of Marun is “serving delicious food with beauty.” There are many goods in beautiful bottles, wooden boxes, and wrapping paper. The shop is just like an art museum and the space makes you feel happy! Products include candy,confeito, drops, fried dough cake, dry Japanese sweets, liquor, seasonings, and so on. You may have difficulty in deciding what to buy because there are so many lovely goods!

Rickshaw Rides

If you do not want to go sightseeing on foot, you can hop in a rickshaw near Arashiyama Station. Rickshaws run without gasoline or electricity and are a traditional vehicle of old Japan. The rickshaw driver is not only a driver, but also your tour conductor. If you don’t have a plan of where you want to go, he can guide you to sightseeing spots.

Sai Area

Kasuga Shrine

Kasuga Shrine is prayed at for the peace and security of the nation, recovery from an illness, and traffic safety.The symbol of the shrine is a deer, which is called “the deer god,” and it is considered an ambassador from Kasuga Shrine in Nara. Another symbol of this srine is the wisteria flower. Before the Edo era, wisteria flowers grew naturally in the area. The wisteria flower is a symbol of health, prosperity and safety. Kasuga Shrine is a place which gives us not only relaxation or relief, but also stimulus because it is rich in nature and has the dignified air of the gods.
ADDRESS
Kasuga-cho 61, Saiin, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto city

Wine Crazy

Go up north from Sai Station and there is a wine shop named Wine Crazy. The shop’s outward appearance is in the style of a machiya, a traditional wooden Japanese house. In this traditional building, there are many wines! You show the owner your budget and liking, and he chooses the best wine for you! The shop sells wine in the daytime, and operates as a wine bar at night.
Business hours
Shop 9:00~20:00 Bar 19:00~23:00
ADDRESS
from Nishioji-Sanjo crossing go north, look for Wine Crazy on the west side

Tearoom Front

Get off at Sai Station and walk east 5 minutes, and you will see Tearoom Front. This tearoom was established 30 years ago. The tearoom has been loved by Saiin people for a long time. The voluminous lunch that is offered and changes from day to day is popular here. The interior design is composed and luxurious. You can get a good rest and enjoy delicious coffee, tea, and lunch.
ADDRESS
Tatyumi-cho 3, Saiin, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto city
Business hours: 11:00~21:00
Closed on Wednesdays

Uzumasa Area

Koryuji

Koryuji is a temple located in the Uzumasa neighborhood in Ukyo ward of Kyoto city. The temple is located next to Uzumasakoryuji Station. It’s also known as Uzumasa-dera, Hachioka-dera, or Hatanokimi-dera (dera means “temple”).Visitors will easily see the temple’s big entry gate, the Nioumon, from Uzumasakortuji Station. On each side of the gate are great wooden statues called Niouzou that were made during the Muromachi period.Koryuji is said to be one of the oldest temples in Kyoto, and it has been recorded that it was built in 603. It is famous for a sculpture of the Amidanyoraizou, a National Treasure, that has been dated to the Heian period and a sculpture of Shotokutaishi.But Koryuji’s most famous sculpture, which is installed in its own building, is a the Miroku Bosatsu, carved out of red pine in the 8th century. This elegant and peaceful statue is one of Japan’s most famous sculptures and is often called the “Mona Lisa” of Asia.Koryuji was built by the Hata clan who originally came from Korea. The Hata family built their position in the Kyoto basin by sericulture and agriculture, civil engineering, and sake-making. They served Shotokutaishi, a prince who wrote Japan’s first constitution. Shotokutaishi is therefore enshrined in this temple.
ACCESS
Keifukuarashiyame line: Uzumasakoryuji Station
Kyoto bus: Uzumasa Koryujimae
Adult entrance fee: 700 yen

Uzumasa Eigamura (Movie Village)

This attraction is perhaps the most famous tourist draw in the Uzumasa area, and even in Kyoto.The Eigamura, literally “movie village,” is a large film and TV studio that is in part open to the public. Some jidai-geki or period samurai dramas are filmed here, so they have many outdoor sets that show old Edo-period Japan. So, visitors can get a taste of what old Japan was like, and if they are lucky, they will come upon the filming of a scene for a Japanese TV or movie drama. Uzumasa Eigamura also has a makeup studio and 3D theater. In the makeup studio, visitors can be made up as maiko, a samurai or a princess. Everyone has an especially fun time in the make-up department.
ACCESS
Keifukuarashiyame line: Uzumasakoryuji Station
Kyoto bus: Uzumasa Koryujimae
Kyoto city bus: Uzumasa Eigamuramae

March, 1 ~ November, 30 9:00am~17:00
December, 1 ~ February, 28 9:30am~16:00
December, 27 28 29 30 31 closed

Adult entrance fee: 2200yen
13~16 years: 1300yean
4~12: years: 1100yen

Kazaori

Kazaori is a souvenir shop near Uzumasakoryuji Station and Koryuji.
It specializes in many goods that are made of Japanese patterned cloth ―T-shirts, belts, handkerchiefs, sandals, bags and key rings. This shop also sells Happi-coats of a famous talent group, Shinsen-Gumi.
ACCESS
Keifukuarashiyame line: Uzumasakoryuji Station
it is behind Koryuji Temple

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