Friday, February 20, 2015

Kamo, Kyoto e Iku review

Still going through that unending list of unfinished dramas!
I have reviewed the first episode before, now this is the completed series review.
Kamo,Kyoto e Iku, Kamo is going to Kyoto, Review. 


An extreme elitist, Ueba Kamo is a Tokyo University graduate and bureaucrat at the Ministry of Finance. Due to her mother’s sudden passing, she is forced to turn herself into an okami, or proprietress at a ryokan (Japanese style hotel). Growing up she had loathed her hometown Kyoto as much as she hated her rare name. Uebaya, the ryokan, is smothered in debt and she cannot imagine letting go of her freedom and success she worked so hard to obtain. In a fever of resentment, she grudgingly takes on the family business, dead set and confident that she would be able to turn the business around in no time. But becoming an okami isn't as easy as she imagined. The ryokan’s reputation plummets and the entire crew of employees begin criticizing her...

Trying to escape her critical situation, Kamo is greeted by a shrewd consultant in finance. The crafty man’s name is Kinugawa Shuhei and as they quarrel and try to deceive each other, they find themselves becoming partners. The two set their mission to rebuild the ryokan back to its normal state.

What was the relationship between Kamo and her deceased mother? Was the ryokan more important to her than Kamo? Why is Kamo the okami of a ryokan she thought she would never set foot in again?

Overcoming the obstacles set in front of her, Kamo gradually becomes attached to her position as okami. Had this been her vocation all along? Don’t miss the breathtaking heart-thumping chronicles of a born-again okami!




I got to see dramas of all kinds in the recent years. One type that is particularly memorable for me are the one which is set in a specific area in Japan. I find it gives a lot of flavours to the story and I enjoy learning about a new area. One example is Ikebukuro West Gate Park, where you get to see some landmarks of that neighborhood.  Here in Kamo, Kyoto e Iku, we are able to "go" and enjoy the beautiful city of Kyoto.

We follow the successful woman Kamo, who inherits a beautiful Ryoukan where she begins her new life as an Okami. In other words, ryoukan are exquisite japanese traditionnal inns, and the okami is the owner. Is Kamo fitted for this type of job? She goes through many struggles as she learns about the ins and outs of Ryoukans and Kyoto traditions.

Here you a drama which has a fairly original story in an original setting, but the core of the story might be something you have seen many times before in Japanese drama. Yes, this one is exactly how you can expect and goes through the standard phases a main character does in a Japanese Drama. Nevertheless, time after time I am still fond of that type of formula (maybe I wouldn't like japanese drama that much if I didn't).

Even with a plain story, Kamo,Kyoto e Iku still has lots of good values going for it. You get to learn about Ryoukans and other aspect of japanese culture. Kyoto is a beautiful city and mostly all the actors speaks in Kyotoben. An important theme here is the struggle in this strongly traditional city if we should stick to the traditions from the older generations or bring new innovations. It made me think about today's generation and traditional family business.

As can be expected, the format is rather episodic with the stories, with small stories about the guests staying at the inns and the main character making a mistake. Midway through the series, the innovation of Ryoukans and Kyoto went down and it started to get a little boring. Let's say that I did not feel a need to "must watch the next episode", but I watched slowly while eating or in between other things. The fall in excitement really isn't that bad, as a whole I still think the story was beautiful and there was moments that made me feel quite emotional.

In summary, I see this as an excellent drama for the person who is studying Japanese language and culture. It has a very generic story line, but the theme is special and I enjoyed learning new things while watching it.


The main cast consist of Matsushita Nao and Shiina Kippei. There is an unique and interesting dynamic between the two main characters.

First of all, Matsushita Nao plays the role of a strong will and stubborn career woman, which at this point isn't really that original anymore. However while she shows good acting and is convincing in her role, I still felt something was missing. She acts like she is from the elite on the outside (work for high government position) but she shows a lot of immaturity.

Shiina Kippei is the absolute contrary. His character looks a bit ridiculous, but inside is very sly and calculated.  I thought he demonstrate amazing acting. This dynamic between the 2 main character is a strong point of this drama.

The rest of the cast is pretty big, mainly with members working at the inns. This is the kind of story in which the characters slowly grow on you, and makes it pretty memorable.    

Overall, the acting was pretty good. The actors shows character development through the series and grows on you. The main character can be a bit annoying at times however, but I could overlook it.  Also, hearing Kyoto-ben is always nice.


Sometimes I wonder why I review the music, but to me it's important in my entertainment. Not that it's a detrimental factor. I would expect beautiful melodious music with traditional instruments or influenced by it. Yet, here we have totally generic background songs, bordering childish. It's not always bad really, just I would have expect something of higher quality. I am being a little picky here because the filming was beautiful.

However, I thought it was a good opening theme by Shiina Ringo.


This recommendation here will be a little different. This drama is pretty unique in a way (inn setting) yet so generic (story line). If you enjoyed learning about japanese ryoukan, I saw a recommandation for Asakusa Fukumaru Ryokan. I haven't watch it, but the themes seems very similar. There is even 2 seasons.

No comments:

Post a Comment