The park is kind of like a miniature Universal Studios. It consists of recreations of buildings from the Edo period and served as the backlot for various Japanese period dramas. (Apparently sometimes productions still shoot there now.) It isn’t an exciting place in that there are no exciting rides (though there’s a haunted house of some sort in there) and no parades or stuff you might expect in an amusement park. It’s just buildings – some merely facades, some have the interiors set up with props and stuff so you can wander in and out and take pictures. Reviews on TripAdvisor are generally poor, mostly complaining about lack of things to do and the lack of spoken English during performances and such. I went there with lowered expectations, but it turned out to be rather fun after all.
And we got all dressed up for the occasion…
There are quite a number of kimono rental shops around Kyoto. The prices are roughly the same, as are the packages. I initially wanted a different one, but Yang suggested this one instead, which had an overnight rental package and was cheaper so we didn’t have to rush back to the shop in the evening to return the outfits. I was only displeased with how plain the hairdo was. On previous days I saw other girls walking around in nice kimono with pretty hairstyles and ornaments and the memory of that compared with the normal bun styles they gave Yang and me was rather irritating. Oh well.
Meiji Street in the park. If you wear traditional Japanese clothing, you get in at half price. So instead of JPY2200 each, it only cost each of us JPY1100. (We had it all planned out: we definitely wanted to try a day in kimono, so might as well arrange the trip to the park on the same day and make the most of it. haha)
Yang posing inside one of the houses. (This is what I meant. They have little areas set up within some of the houses that are clearly made expressly for photo opportunities. If you can’t touch the stuff, there’ll be signs in Japanese and English that tell you to please refrain from touching the setup.)
I think what increased the level of fun for us was that we were dressed “appropriately” for the place. When you take photos there and you’re wearing a kimono, you look more like you belong there, rather than just being obviously a tourist.
There were quite a number of schoolchildren in the park. Some (like these) looked about 11 or 12, others looked about 15. They were all clearly on school trips though – either wearing brightly coloured hats like these…
Okay, too many pictures so I’m going to split this post. More to come~