Refreshed by a good night sleep, after having breakfast at the hotel we took the train, JR San In Line, from Kyoto Station to Hanazono Station. It was another 5 minutes taxi ride to Toei Kyoto Studio Park (the taxi costing about 700 JPY).
The Toei Studio entrance ticket is 2.200 JPY for adult and 1.100 for children & elementary school student. For those who grew up with Japanese cartoon & superheroes movies, going to Toei Studio is like a trip down memory lane.
We were greeted by the Sailor Moon at the entrance, followed by display of figurines and other collectibles from various Japanese anime. My childhood memories are flashing with the sight of Slam Dunk, Dragonball, Shoot, Mazinger, etc.
We went upstairs to the second floor and were welcomed by life size figures of Super Sentai & Kamen Rider. The second storey consists of multiple attractions such us 3D Maze, 3D Theater, Kids Land, Digital Sea Aquarium, etc. We tried the 3D Maze Ninja Fort (requires additional ticket), an indoor 3 storeys labyrinth with numerous rooms, doors (some are “hidden”), and obstacles, all while trying to collect 3 stamps that have to be found inside the maze. Beware, you might not realized that you have spent considerable time inside the maze trying to find the stamps and the way out. It has several “give up” exits though should you don’t want to finish it. The Hero Land showcased life size figures of Super Sentai and Kamen Rider from the beginning of the series upto the present ones. Of course the Super Sentai are represented by the red ones only, otherwise they won’t fit in the room. Oh, and the Hero Land doesn’t require additional ticket.
Since it was already less than 30 minutes away from meet & greet time, we headed to the third floor and found ourselves second in line, but in just mere minutes the queue has become very long. Right on time, Shishi Red from Kyuranger and Kamen Rider Ex-Aid appeared to greet the kids, followed by a very quick handshake and photo session (less than 10 seconds for each kid). The meet & greet also without additional charge but it was periodical activity, switchable with other activity such as Super Sentai live shows.
After the boys shook hands and took pictures with their heroes we went back downstairs and entered the 3D Theater to watch a Poseidon themed 3D movie (required additional ticket). I was around 5 minutes movie in 360 cylindrical screen with 360 degress rotatable stools.
Afterwards we went to the outdoor section, the area was quite large, with many old style buildings fitted for movie set. There are food stalls selling snacks, ice cream, & drinks, shops with thematic merchandise.
We took a look inside of several of those set houses before arriving at the costume photo shop. We can choose from several costumes option such as ninja, samurai, etc. The boys chose the ninja outfit (too much Ninninger I guess) while we picked the one from Gintama which was one of the special featured theme during our visit.
The costume fitting and photo sesssion took less than 10 minutes, costing around 2000-3000 JPY per photo. Too bad they can’t provide us the softcopy (file) of the photograph.
We also came across several live action performances at a couple of spots around the park, some of them include audience participation. After lunch we watched the Sasuke Ninja Show, which provide live action of ninja battles combined with digital projection.
Then we headed to the other side of the area, where ninja theme attractions were located. We saw kids learning ninja sword technique at the outdoor field. The boys then decided to try the Sword & Go, in which they were provided with an air inflated plastic sword to hit various targets including soap bubbles descending from the roof (which was fun).
We would like to tried other attractions, but since we have to get to Nishiki Market before 4pm, we decided it was enough and headed to the exit, but between outdoor section and park exit there is another obstacle that delayed our progress for around 30 minutes, a large air conditioned indoor merchandise shop innocently enough was located there. I have to admit that they have some unique merchandise though.
From Toei Studio we took the bus to Shijo Kawaramachi and then get on 10 minutes walk to Nishiki Market. Shops and restaurants are aplenty along the way. Nishiki Market is a rather narrow street with shops on both sided selling fresh foods, drinks, snacks, chocolate, dried foods, fish, seafood, and many more. There’s even a Snoopy Cafe, but it was already close when we got there.
Some of the food and snacks can be prepared to be consumed at the spot, so by the time we reached the other end of the street our stomach was full.
We then took taxi from Nishiki Market to Yodobashi Camera Kyoto Station to get the toys for the boys whose been asking for them from the day we arrived in Japan. Why Yodobashi? The selection is great and the price is good. Much cheaper than the shops at tourist spots.
Afterwards we headed to Coco Ichibanya for dinner. We would like to eat here because in Japan they provide gluten free curry suitable for the little boy who has gluten intolerance. After dinner we called it a day and took a short walk to our hotel.