Tokyo on location: 5 of our fave films

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Vibrant, fast-faced and lit with a bright neon glow, Tokyo is one of the world’s most exciting and alluring metropolises.

Vibrant, fast-faced and lit with a bright neon glow, Tokyo is one of the world’s most exciting and alluring metropolises. A true assault on the senses, it’s no surprise that this hi-tech city has inspired so many cinematic masterpieces. Here are five of our favourite films shot on location in Tokyo…

The featured image, above, is © SeanPavonePhoto, 2013. Used under licence from shutterstock.com)

Tokyo, Japan
The piano bar at the Park Hyatt Tokyo where Bob (Bill Murray) spends most of his nights. Photo: angelune des lauriers
Shinjuku, Tokyo
One of the final scenes of Lost in Translation was filmed in Shinjuku. Photo: Luis Villa del Campo

Lost In Translation (Sofia Coppola)

Set in the midst of Tokyo’s teeming city centre, Sofia Coppola’s second feature film stars Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, two lost souls who find solace in each other’s company. Shot in 2003, this is arguably the director’s most famous film to date.

Battle Royale
Photo: Ingrid Richter
Hachijô-Kojima
The island, Hachijô-Kojima, that lies south of Tokyo. Photo: akabane_hiro2

Battle Royale (Kinji Fukasaku)

This controversial film is also one of the most successful ever to come out of Japan, although its somewhat disturbing scenes resulted in it being banned in many countries. An international blockbuster, the film was such a success when it came out in 1999, that it spawned a sequel, Battle Royale II – although sadly the acclaimed director died of cancer after he had shot just one scene. It was later completed by Fukasaku’s son.

Tokyo, Japan
Photo: tanakawho

Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu)

Often cited as one of Tokyo’s greatest films, Tokyo Story (1953) tells the tale of a retired couple on a trip to the city to visit their children and widowed daughter-in-law. Receiving a mixed reception, the elderly couple find that their children are too busy with city life to spare much time for them. This touching film is a Japanese classic and a firm favourite.

Stray Dog publicity shot
Mifune Toshiro, Shimura Takashi, and Awaji Keiko in Kurosawa’s Stray Dog. Photo: japanesefilmarchive
Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo noir… Photo: osamukaneko

Stray Dog (Akira Kurosawa)

This 1949 film noir practically led the way for many of the cop dramas we see on screens today. Directed by Akira Kurosawa, its fast-paced style and thrilling detective narrative takes place in the stifling heat of Tokyo’s inner-city streets, during the occupation. Revealing a side of the city that is essentially long gone, this iconic Japanese film will have you on the edge of your seat.

Godzilla
Photo: galactic.supermarket

Godzilla (Ishiro Honda)

Ishiro Honda’s classic monster movie (1954) sees an enormous fire-breathing creature take to the streets of Tokyo, destroying everything in its path. Heavily influenced by incidents like the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Honda’s iconic movie illustrates the power of nuclear weapons via its giant lizard-like lead and is shot using scale models of the city.

Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to… whose guides cover all the best hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, sights, shops and spas

Tokyo on location: 5 of our fave films was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Claire Bullen
Author: Claire Bullen (120 posts)

Globetrotter, chowhound, travel writer for Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to... and contributor to Cheapflights Travel Blogs.