Fun, fashion and fantasy
Photo Opportunities at Eiga Mura (Kyoto Studio Park). Picture: Darcy Harwood

As our school tour group queues for the train to Disneyland, it seems as if all 127 million of Japan's citizens are with us during rush hour at Kashiwa Station.

In that one moment when the train pulls into the station, fear and amusement spread over our faces as we are pushed on to the carriage, which somehow swallows the hordes. Station personnel push the last few travellers on into the train, to the point where we can't move.

I try to maintain my balance but fail as passengers fall on top of each other when the train stops. At the next stop, more people get on, thinking that somehow more room could be made for them.

Arriving at Tokyo Disneyland, we are too excited to control. Our teacher lets us run wild from ride to ride, ensuring that we make the most of our time here.

An entrance ticket to Disneyland costs about $70 for a junior and $80 for an adult. But it is an experience that you simply can't put a price on.

And although Disneyland is a source of joy, laughter and imagination, Japan offers many other exciting opportunities.

Kyoto Studio Park is an endless source of fun for aspiring karate kids, ninjas, and actors as well as families looking for an enjoyable day out.

Combining a film set and theme park, Eiga Mura has been used as a backdrop for historical movies and television dramas as well as allowing visitors to observe the action and take a step back in time as they pretend to be ninjas and samurais.

The mystery house is the highlight as you explore the building, room by room, finding secret doors, windows and escape routes in order to navigate yourself out - not forgetting the ninjas that jump out at you, just to add to the excitement.

One memorable thing about Japan is the shops that line every street. I had little room in my suitcase for shopping and it was no surprise that I left the country with 30kg of luggage.

Kyoto train station has amazing shopping.

With 11 storeys spreading across two blocks, hours could be spent exploring Isetan, boutique shops and Porta, a few steps outside and underground.

At Osaka train station also, bags and bags of shopping somehow make their way into our hands.

We split into groups, highlight our maps and navigate our way through the streets to find the best shops for our last day in the city.

HEP 5 was our best find of the day: level upon level of vintage shops, shoe stores and cheap finds that left us sprinting to get back to the station on time.

Darcy Harwood was one of our Young Travel Writers of 2010.

The West Australian

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