airport_transferbarbathtubbusiness_facilitieschild_activitieschildcareconnecting_roomcribsfree_wifigymhot_tubinternetkitchennon_smokingpetpoolresturantski_in_outski_shuttleski_storagesmoking_areaspastar
Sign In
Sections
Follow Us
Yakushima Forest/courtesy of BenedettaR via Wiki Commons
Yakushima Forest/courtesy of BenedettaR via Wiki Commons
add to wishlistsCreated with Sketch.

12 Stunning Places in Japan From Films You Probably Know

Picture of James Gates
Updated: 20 October 2017
Japan is prime real estate for movie geeks, regardless of whether you know your Takeshi Miike from your Takashi Kaneshiro. Here’s a list of the most well-known spots from some iconic films, old and new, set in Japan.

Yakushima Island, Kagoshima (Princess Mononoke)

A breathtaking area of barely-touched beauty, the island’s otherwordly atmosphere and dense forests were a huge inspiration for director Hayao Miyazaki when he made the 1998 classic. Characters from the film can be spotted at the island’s tourist office on arrival.

Yakushima Forest
Yakushima Forest | © BenedettaR / Wiki Commons

Namba, Osaka (Black Rain)

Ridley Scott’s gritty crime noir made good use of the grimy locales of Osaka, with many key scenes filmed in its shopping and entertainment district. The iconic Glico sign, popular with tourists and also a handy meeting spot for locals, features prominently in the movie.

Dotonbori in Namba, Osaka
Dotonbori in Namba, Osaka | © AudaCity3371 / Wiki Commons

Hachijo Kojima Island (Battle Royale)

It isn’t the easiest spot to get to, with an 11-hour boat trip from Tokyo being the main means of access to the spot. However, if you make it you can forego recreating the violent action-thriller’s more notorious moments in favour of taking advantage of the island’s diving and fishing spots.

Hachijo Kojima Island
Hachijo Kojima Island | © Matryokeshi / WikiCommons

Part Hyatt Hotel, Tokyo (Lost In Translation)

Many of the indoor scenes for Sophia Coppola’s Oscar-winning movie were filmed at the popular hotel, found in Shinjuku, Tokyo’s business hub and red-light district. The venue’s bar was the setting for the scene in which Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray share a drink together, while one its hotel rooms was used for the film’s opening, in which Scarlett gazes out at a stunning view of the metropolis.

The library at the Park Hyatt, Tokyo
The library at the Park Hyatt, Tokyo | © Moore / WikiCommons

Gunma (Initial D)

Initial D is a manga which is hugely popular in its home country and a breakout hit abroad. The franchise, centered around young street racers, has made its way to anime, video games and a live action movie produced in Hong Kong but filmed in Japan. The mountainous roads in Gunma, a landlocked prefecture on Honshu Island, were the location for many of the film’s tense racing scenes.

Takasaki, Gunma
Takasaki, Gunma | © Qurren / WikiCommons

Kitakyushu Municipal Museum, Fukuoka (Death Note)

The venue was the setting for the museum scenes in the 2006 live action version of the horror manga. The museum itself boasts fascinating architecture but is currently closed for renovation and won’t be open again until next month.

Kitakyushu Museum of Art, Fukuoka
Kitakyushu Museum of Art, Fukuoka | © STA3186 / WikiCommons

Yamagata Prefecture (Departures)

Yamagata, at the northern end of Japan’s mainland, boasts breathtaking scenery which makes it an ideal location for filming. The 2008 film Departures – so far the only Japanese film to win an award for best foreign film – makes great use of the region and most of the acclaimed movie was shot on location across the prefecture.

Yamagata Prefecture
Yamagata Prefecture | © Fumihiko Ueno / WikiCommons

Hashima Island, Nagasaki (Skyfall)

Daniel Craig’s first confrontation with Javier Bardem was shot amongst ruins of a long-abandoned structure on Hashima Island. The location is a heritage site which you can visit thanks to tours leaving from Nagasaki Harbour, though the perils of filming meant that scenes in the movie had to be shot on a set due to safety concerns.

Hashima Island, Nagasaki
Hashima Island, Nagasaki | © Σ64 / WikiCommons

Fushimi Inari, Kyoto (Memoirs of a Geisha)

The iconic orange gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine, just outside Kyoto City Centre, were used to mesmeric effect in the Oscar-winning film. The site, hugely popular with locals and tourists, is one of the most stunning locations of its kind in Japan.

Kyoto Fushimi Inari Torii
Kyoto Fushimi Inari Torii | © Paul Vlaar / WikiCommons

Mineyama Highlands/Tonomine Highands (Norwegian Wood)

Haruki Murakami’s 1987 novel made him so famous in his home country that he fled to Australia – where he would live for several years – for the sake of his privacy. A film adaptation didn’t materialize until 2010, and the lush green expanse that appears at the start of the film was filmed at the Mineyama Highlands in Hyogo Precture, with the snow-covered fields of Tonomine appearing near the end.

Mineyama Highlands
Mineyama Highlands | © C 663highland / Wiki Commons

Engyoji Temple, Himeji (The Last Samurai)

The Tom Cruise blockbuster was the film that introduced iconic Japanese actor Ken Watanabe to Western audiences (as well as reviving his career in his homeland). His character, Lord Matsumoto, has his home in the beautiful grounds of Engyoji Temple in Himeji.

Horai Valley, Hyogo (The Hidden Fortress)

Akira Kurosawa’s hugely influential film has already been covered by us, and if your curiosity is sufficiently piqued then you can always pay a visit to the majestic valley which was used extensively throughout the movie. A popular spot with hikers and rock climbers, it’s a short bus ride from Takarazuka station.