Famous movie scene spots

Tokyo, camera, action! For moviegoers of all genres, standing in the exact spot where some of your favorite scenes were shot is a special opportunity. And, Tokyo has a lot to discover.

Almost every film set in Tokyo features an aerial view of Shibuya Crossing, the stampede where crowds of people cross the street in multiple directions at once. But from the more touristy to the more subtle, Tokyo has plenty of other places that have made appearances on the big screen.

For the purposes of this article, I’ve only included films that are popular in Western culture or theatrically released in the United States, as there are thousands of Japanese filming locations around Tokyo, enough to fill an entire book or maybe even a library.

From The Grudge to Fast and Furious, here are some steps for movie buffs.

Lost in Translation: The Park Hyatt Hotel

Sofia Coppola’s 2003 film uses the Park Hyatt hotel in Shinjuku as an anchor location throughout the film as Bill Murray’s character hangs out there for a promotional campaign for Suntory Whiskey. While a night at this hotel can be expensive, especially if you want the view Murray had in the movie, there are other places in the hotel where you can get exact replicas of scenes, like the New York Bar on the 52nd floor of the hotel.

The bar opens at 5 p.m., offering stunning views of the city lights below. Because you get such a panoramic view of Tokyo, it’s clear to see why it was chosen as a filming location. It usually offers jazz entertainment, as seen in the film, but the coronavirus has caused the hotel to scale back those performances.

You can also eat at nearby Shabuzen, a shabu-shabu restaurant where Murray and Scarlett Johansen’s characters reflected their moody conversation in their demeanor and were super smashing gaijin by being rude to their waiter and making fun of the food.

Godzilla: Ginza

The Wako Clocktower in Ginza, a landmark in Tokyo’s upscale neighborhood, has had a facelift since it appeared in the 1954 film Godzilla, but it’s the same building featured in the film.

Godzilla, a staple of Japanese lore and cinema, destroys the clock tower in a spectacular and spirited way, especially by cinematic standards of the time.

Today, this area is known for its high-end shopping, so it’s fun to imagine Godzilla walking past the nearby Gucci store.

It might be a fun idea to bring a Godzilla figure with you and do camera magic to make it look like the sea monster kaiju has come back to destroy it again.

Kill Bill: Gonpachi

My favorite movie franchise on this list, Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol 1, is probably the most sought-after filming destination in Tokyo by Westerners.

At the Gonpachi restaurant, visitors can see where Uma Thurman fought the Crazy 88 and scalped Lucy Liu.

I was warned that the restaurant is much smaller than it looks in the movie, as you would expect, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was actually bigger than I hadn’t imagined him after those warnings and looks just like he does in the movie. From the moment I walked in I could tell I was in the right place.

Our waitress was also a fan and said she started working there because of her love of the movie.

Gonpachi has a restaurant on the first floor, private tables on the second floor, and a sushi bar on the top floor. The sushi section opens at 5 p.m. and offers patrons access to the patio where the fight scene between Thurman and Liu was filmed.

While the interior of the restaurant is pretty picture perfect, expect the outdoor space to look drastically different from the movie, as it looks much smaller, is filled with tables, and is surrounded by high-rise buildings that have been edited out of the movie to make the location more remote. But if you can imagine the tables gone and the patio covered in snow, you can definitely say this is the place.

The restaurant used to offer drum shows on Sunday evenings, but entertainment still seems to be on hiatus. But even without drums, I liked to walk around the restaurant in my yellow motorcycle jacket, a replica of Beatrix Kiddo’s costume, pretending I was Black Mamba.

Gonpachi is a chain, so be sure to go to the Nishi-Azabu location.

Sailor Moon: Hikawa Shrine

This one isn’t exclusively a movie, but it has movies in its franchise and is hugely popular in western culture, especially for women who were teens or pre-teens in the 90s or early so I counted it.

Visitors can see the Hikawa Shrine in the Minato Ward, where Sailor Mars and her grandfather live and work. It is also used throughout the series as a gathering point for the Sailor Guardians.

It’s a small shrine, but for Sailor Moon fans, it has some inspiring magic to imagine Sailor Moon creator Naoko Takeuch scouting out the location of her stories about feminism and friendship.

Remember to be respectful when visiting, as this is not only the location of a globally recognized anime, but an important place of worship.

Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift: Azabu-Juban and Shibuya

While most of this film was shot in Los Angeles, with Beverly Hills’ Willshire Boulevard for downtown Tokyo and the sound stages for the Chichibu Mountain Pass, part of Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift has was filmed in Tokyo.

Some street scenes were shot in the Azabu-Juban district, near Sailor Moon’s shrine. Azabu-Juban is a trendy residential neighborhood in Tokyo, with cobbled paths in places that give the area a more village feel while still being central to the city.

The film also uses Futsal Park in Shibuya, a rooftop soccer field with impressive skyline views, including the scramble mentioned at the start of this article.

Grudge: Yoyogi

While The Grudge’s house was filmed on a soundstage and the building used as the house’s exterior is no longer there, the street leading up to the house in the Japanese and American versions still has some very eerie vibes to them. horror fans.

The Grudge is in my opinion one of the best Japanese-American remakes because Takashi Shimizu, the director and creator of the original film, also directed this version. I’m talking about the 2004 movie, not the 2020 parody.

While the street, a short walk from Yoyogi Station, may not seem special to passers-by, I immediately recognized it from the opening scene of both films.

You can also visit Fungo Dining, the restaurant in Shinjuku where Jason Behr’s character works. For me, however, the uniqueness of The Grudge is the chain of horror and heartbreak attached to suburbia and the Saeki household.

After feeling strange and pondering a film with themes centered around grief and death, turn around the corner to cheer yourself up at the Contenart Tea Sweets Lab, a shop with a wide variety of loose leaf teas and nice servings of shaved ice that look like works of art. The tea is displayed along the walls in tiny flasks, and the shaved ice, in seasonal flavors like Sakura, is fantastic in both size and presentation.

Wolverine: Zojoji Temple

Zojoji Temple is the backdrop for an epic fight scene in The Wolverine of the X-Men franchise. The Japan-centric episode is in my opinion one of the most visually appealing in the series.

Even if you’re not an X-Men fan, this area is beautiful and it’s understandable why it was chosen as the filming location. Old meets new as Tokyo Tower provides a backdrop to the temple, and it’s a pleasant spot well worth a visit for snapping photos and wandering the grounds.

Hearing

This one may be less popular among Western viewers, but I’ve included this 1999 movie because it’s one of my favorite horror movies of all time and inspired many popular Western directors currents of the genre, including Eli Roth.

Most of this film was shot in studios, but outdoor scenes are filmed on Omotesando Avenue, a tree-lined street that serves as the main thoroughfare between Shibuya and Harajuku with high-end shops and restaurants. range.

I scoured the internet to find out which cafe the fateful first date scene was filmed at, but all I could find was that the production took place “in a real restaurant” (very helpful , I know). Pretty much any of these cafes along this street serve as a pretty close reference to the movie, and enough to give you a spooky, eerie feeling that Asami can walk in at any time.

Due to the proximity of these places to Tokyo train lines, it is possible to cover it in a day. It might even be fun to turn visiting these places into a photo scavenger hunt.

Andrea G. Henderson