Rilakkuma is one of the most famous characters in Japan nowadays. New product lines are released regularly, time-limited restaurants are always crowded and new product collaborations are coming up more and more. The hype around the cute brown bear and its small family is not stopping. In 2018 San-X will celebrate Rilakkuma’s 15th anniversary and a lot of great events are already starting now.
One of these is Rilakkuma Goyururi Kyoto (リラックマごゆるり京都). Rilakkuma teamed up with some places in the ancient capital to give the fans an amazing time while exploring the city leisurely. Here you will find all the important points for the event taking place from September 16, 2017 to January 8, 2018.
Rilakkuma at the Toei Kyoto Studio Park
The main cooperation is held with Toei Kyoto Studio Park (東映太秦映画村), a movie park famous for the Edo period style. There you can explore the sets of many period dramas which are regularly produced there. Meet Samurai, Ninja and other historical characters and watch the amazing shows held every day.
Rilakkuma joined this place, too. At the Ninja Maze you have to find Rilakkuma, Korilakkuma and Kiiroitori inside the three-storied fort and take part in a small stamp rally inside the building. Unique photo spots are constructed and the restaurants in the park offer special Rilakkuma themed dishes. How about trying out Rilakkuma Ninja Curry or Rilakkuma Onigiri? They also have a lot of sweet dishes in Rilakkuma style like Ninja Crepe, pancakes and Japanese style parfaits. For some of the dishes you get one random coaster. Also original items are sold in the park shop.
If you visit Toei Kyoto Studio Park on weekends and holidays, you are able to meet Rilakkuma himself. From 16th September to 29th October 2017 Rilakkuma was disguised as Shinsengumi, from now until the end of the event you can meet Rilakkuma as Ninja. The meeting time is at 12:00 and 14:30 and you can walk by, touch and say Hello to the Rilakkuma figure. Try to be there a while before the start, because probably many people are lining up. Furthermore, Rilakkuma will appear randomly in the park, too.
The admission to the park costs 2,200 yen for adults. A special presale ticket is available for 3,000 yen at the Lawson website. With this you will get a unique small zipper bag with Rilakkuma design.
Kyoto Sightseeing Stamp Rally
One of the main points of the Rilakkuma Goyururi Kyoto event is the stamp rally. In total you can collect nine stamps at several places. A special pamphlet is provided for this including a map and information about all stamp spots. Unfortunately it is held in Japanese only. So I will give you an overview here.
Toei Kyoto Studio Park As said before, this is a movie theme park in Edo style. You will find the Rilakkuma stamp at the entry of the souvenir shop at the second floor of Padios within the opening times of the park.
Randen Arashiyama Station Arashiyama station is famous for the Kimono Forest, a collection of cylinder-shaped pillars which are all showing different patterns of kimono textiles. These are especially beautiful when they are lighted up at night. The stamp is located at the platform from 11:00 to 18:00.
Arashiyama Rilakkuma Sabou Adapted to the event a Japanese-styled Rilakkuma café opened in Arashiyama, just a two minutes walk away from the Randen Arashiyama station. The stamp there will be available while the opening times of the café.
Lawson Kyoto Station One Lawson in Kyoto was turned into Rilakkuma style and it is located only a view minutes from the central exit of Kyoto station. The stamp is located inside the shop. Get more information about it at a later part of this article.
Fushimi Inari Shrine The Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) is probably one of the most famous sightseeing spots in Kyoto with the uncountable number of red shrine gates. The stamp and photo spot is located just behind the Senbon Torii walkway from 9:00 to 16:00. Take care, that this stamp stop is only there until 25th December 2017.
Toji Temple The Toji temple (東寺) is a nice temple not so far from Kyoto station. Especially the statues inside the Kodo Hall are impressive. A nice photo spot is located in the garden with the five storied pagoda. The Rilakkuma stamp is located next to the ticket window at the entrance to the paid area, so you don’t need to pay the entrance fee if you are just stamp hunting and don’t want to enter. It is opened from 9:00 to 16:00.
Shimogamo Shrine The Shimogamo Shrine (下鴨神社) belongs to the oldest and most important shrines in Kyoto, however it is not known so well by foreign tourists. Especially the red colored buildings and the bridge are very beautiful. You can find the stamp in front of the souvenir shop from 9:00 to 17:00. Inside you can find limited Rilakkuma goods online for sale at Shimogamo Shrine.
Nijo Castle Nijo Castle (二条城) was build for Tokugawa Ieyasu who was the first shogun of the Edo Period back in the beginning of 1600. It was used as the imperial palace for a while, too. The stamp is located inside the castle area, so you will need to pay the entry fee of 600 yen to get it.
Uzumasa Tenjingawa Station A rather unspectacular spot for a Rilakkuma stamp is the Uzumasa Tenjingawa station (太秦天神川駅) of the Kyoto Municipal Subway Tozai Line. At least you can find one of the photo spot walls there. It is a nice possibility to change to the Rilakkuma train of the Randen line and go to Arashiyama. The stamp is located in front of the ticket gates while the trains are operated.
But what do you collect the stamps for? For sure there is a little reward at the end. When you collected three stamps you will receive a cute Rilakkuma badge in Kyoto design. Take care that the stamps from Toei Kyoto Studio Park and Arashiyama station are required for this. If you even get six stamps or more you have to chance to take part at a special lottery called WChance (Double Chance). Here you can win one tenugi, a Japanese style hand towel, which are available in two designs.
Special Rilakkuma Randen train & foot bath
While the event a special Rilakkuma themed train is running along the Randen (Keifuku Electric Railroad) line between Arashiyama station and Shijo-Omiya station. Take a look on the great decorations outside and inside the train. Even special head marks are created for it. Definitely a nice way to travel around Kyoto. Notice that this limited train is only driving on Tuesday, Thursdays and the weekend on certain times. If you sure want to get on it, you can ask the train staff for the exact departing times.
When you arrive at Arashiyama station you can enjoy a foot bath, also decorated with Rilakkuma posters all around. The regular usage fee is 200 yen, if you pay 400 you will receive a small Rilakkuma towel. This is a good way to relax your tired feet while traveling, especially in the amazing atmosphere with all the kimino-style pillars of the Kimono forest around.
Rilakkuma Lawson & limited goods
Have you ever wished for a daily life shop been transformed into the style of your favorite character? In Kyoto you can find one Rilakkuma Lawson for the time of the event. Already from outside you can’t miss it. However, I mainly was impressed from all the Rilakkuma decorations inside the shop. You can find it nearly at every corner!
One area of the Lawson store is filled with the official goods of Rilakkuma Goyururi Kyoto. This includes many different styles of acryl key chains and mini bags. You can get sets with clear files and stickers, notepads and more. All the goods have a special Kyoto design with the Rilakkuma family in kimono, samurai or ninja outfit or together with the famous sweet snack Yatsuhashi. The goods are a bit expensive, but they are exclusive for Kyoto and the time-limited event, so don’t miss your chance to get them.
Rilakkuma Sabo – A tea house that stays
On 28th October 2017 the Arashiyama Rilakkuma Sabo (山りらっくま茶房) opened in Arashiyama. This is the first Rilakkuma Café that is styled as a traditional tea house. It offers a big variety of food and drinks in a Japanese style which you only can get there. That includes sushi sets, green tea soba with inari sushi, Japanese curry and miso pasta. Especially the selection of sweet desserts is huge and all give a nice photo. Fitting to a tea house many of these dishes include matcha, anko, warabimochi and so on. At a takeout window you can get snacks such Rilakkuma castella, ice cream and drinks.
For sure, here you also can get a lot of limited goods. First, there are many different foodstuffs, such as cakes, cookies, honey, jam, popcorn and much more. But you also can get very beautiful (and expensive) pottery. Who wouldn’t like to drink green tea out of a unique Rilakkuma tea cup?
Next to this you can purchase face masks, crèmes, tshirts, bags, towels and much more. So take a lot of money with you for your shopping frenzy between all the traditional styled Rilakkuma goods.
I hope that you are now well prepared for your trip to Kyoto connected to a lot of fun with Rilakkuma. Enjoy it!