Kyoto has many UNESCO World Heritage sites and is a leading sightseeing destination in Japan, but did you know that Kyoto also has a rich history of film culture?

With more hot days still yet to come, many people want to go sightseeing someplace cool if they can. Our suggestion is the “Kyoto Day Trip Mini Theater Tour.”

Mini-theaters have a different ambience from large movie theaters and offer a film experience unique to each location. Allow us to introduce locations that anyone who wants to have a film appreciation experience different than the usual will definitely want to visit.

The Location of Japan’s First Successful Experiment with Projections

In December of 1897, this site (Old Rissei Elementary School) was the first location to successfully project a film in Japan. The location in those days was the current Kansai Electric Power Company (formerly Kyoto Dento).

This theater imported the world’s first movies, called cinematography, from Paris to Japan and holds a rich history in the movie world as the first place to screen a movie in this country.

Afterwards, it was used as an elementary school from 1928 to 1993. Currently, the grounds and school building remain as they were, and visitors can look at their remnants.

Furthermore, it was used as a movie theater until the end of July 2017. Watching a movie while gathering together and sitting in a narrow classroom was a precious experience only available here.

Now, the “Rissei Library” has opened and is available only for browsing books. Anyone is free to stop by. There is also a place within the library where visitors can enjoy coffee and craft beer so you can relax at ease.

Be sure to have a pleasant time while feeling the traces of the former elementary school and movie theater.

URL: (Only in Japanese)


“Demachiza,” Mini Theater Newly Opened in December 2017

“Demachiza” opened in December 2017 and took over for the previously introduced “Rissei Cinema.” It is on the small side, with 2 screens and 48 seats on the second floor and 42 seats on the first basement level, but it wins people over with a sound that is directly transmitted and screens that feel close enough to touch.

On the first floor, there is a combined cafe and bookstore. In the bookstore, past movie pamphlets are sold at prices lower than normal, and there are probably some good bargains to be found. Movie teaser posters and pamphlets are created differently in each country they are screened in, so just looking at the Japan originals is exciting.

You can take books from a wide variety of genres in hand to read, from movie documents to picture books. Time will fly by before you realize it. If you get hungry, you can eat lunch or a slice of original cake at the cafe.

URL: (Only in Japanese)

“Kyoto Cinema,” Where Citizens Who Enjoy Movies Want to Go Every Day

There are three screens, and it is the largest scale theater within Kyoto’s mini-theaters. Furthermore, it is close to Kyoto’s top business district and has excellent transportation access. Popular titles see a full house and tickets sell out. There are also substantial benefits for cinema members, and the theater is packed everyday with Kyoto’s movie buffs. But of course, anyone is welcome to come and appreciate films here. Enjoying a movie while comfortably relaxing in a foreign land will also make for a good vacation memory.

URL: (Only in Japanese)


In addition to “Demachiza” and “Kyoto Cinema,” a community center called “Kyoto Minami-Kaikan” is currently closed due to a location change. It is scheduled to reopen for business around 2019.

If you take the city bus everywhere, you can tour around all of these locations in one day. These theaters are absolutely recommended for those who want to see Kyoto’s cultural side and those who want to try having a movie experience in a foreign land. Additionally, if you use a one day ticket (600 yen for adults in the uniform fare section), you can tour these locations at a bargain!

Make sure to enjoy a different tourism experience in Kyoto!

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