Japan Film & Photography Production Services & Camera Crews
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Filming in Japan
For an introduction to shooting in Japan see below notes on film locations, permits, when to shoot, unique local stories, costs, tax incentives, crews, talent, fringes, premiums, equipment, communications, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits for filming, transport, film-friendly accommodation, and safety advice.
Japan Film Locations
Buzzing, well-ordered cities. Peaceful countryside with snow-capped mountain backdrops and rivers criss-crossing the landscape. Traditional samurai, geisha and merchant neighbourhoods. Japanese castles in gardens blooming with cherry blossoms. Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Sumo wrestling halls, baseball stadiums, and ski resorts. Unique architecture by world-renowned architects. Japan offers filmmakers a wealth of locations.
Agricultural film locations include farms that produce rice, wheat, soybeans, mandarins, apples, as well as a diversity of aquaculture. Commercial fishing trawlers are also available for filming. Industrial locations include high tech factories in automotive, shipbuilding, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, bioindustry, robotics, electronics, aerospace, textiles, and food processing. Japan mines iodine, bismuth, sulphur, and gypsum. Energy locations include coal-fired power plants, nuclear, hydroelectric, solar and wind power plants.
Tokyo and Osaka are Japan’s main film production centres.
Japan has hosted productions including The Green Planet (2022), Avengers: Endgame (2019), The Forest (2016), The Wolverine (2013), Skyfall (2012), Inception (2010), Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010), Babel (2006), Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), Lost in Translation (2003), The Last Samurai (2003), and Kill Bill (2003).
Japanese cinema is world famous with directors of note including Akira Kurosawa, Hayao Miyazaki, Takeshi Kitano, and Takashi Miike. Japanese films of note include Battle Royale (2000), Audition (1999), Ringu (1998), Tampopo (1985), Ran (1985), Lone Wolf & Cub (1972), Woman in the Dunes (1964), Kwaidan (1964), Harakiri (1962), Throne of Blood (1957), Seven Samurai (1954), Gojira (1954), Tokyo Story (1953), and Rashomon (1950).
Film locations can be divided into the following regions:
Includes Hokkaido prefecture.
Hokkaido, located in the north of the country, is Japan’s second largest island. It is known for its volcanoes, national parks, hot springs, ski resorts, and lavender fields.
Sapporo is the capital and largest city in Hokkaido. Film locations include the Former Hokkaidō Government Office, Sapporo Clock Tower, Sapporo TV Tower, Hokkaido Museum, Sapporo Beer Museum, Sapporo Art Museum, Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, Historical Village of Hokkaido, Sapporo Concert Hall, Odori Park, Moerenuma Park, Asahiyama Memorial Park, Maruyama Park, Sapporo Dome designed by Hiroshi Hara, Makomanai Open Stadium, Ōkurayama Ski Jump Stadium which overlooks the city, Sapporo Tsukisamu Gymnasium, Sapporo Teine Ski Resort, and Sapporo Station.
Hakodate is known for Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward, Hakodategokoku Shrine, Orthodox Church, Motomachi Roman Catholic Church, St John’s Church, Trappistine Monastery, Hakodate Asaichi, Mount Hakodate, Goryōkaku Tower, and Goryōkaku Park star-shaped fort which is known for its cherry blossoms.
Wakkanai is Japan’s northernmost city. Film locations include Suehiro Wharfs, Wakkanai Lighthouse, Cape Sōya Wind Farm, and North Breakwater Dome. Rishiri Island and Rebun Island, known to have the best sea urchin in the world, are located nearby.
Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples is located in Abashiri.
Hill of the Buddha was designed Tadao Ando.
New Chitose Airport is the main airport in Hokkaido.
Seikan Tunnel is a Shinkansen railway tunnel connecting the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido.
Furano is famous the its rolling lavender and flower fields.
Rusutsu Resort, Niseko Grand Hirafu Ski Resort, and Niseko Village Ski Resort have some of the best powder skiing in the world.
Shirogane Blue Pond is a unique film location.
Lake Mashū is a beautiful forested crater lake.
Lake Tōya is a volcanic caldera lake in Shikotsu-Toya National Park.
Lake Akan is famous for its marimos which featured in The Green Planet (2022).
Jigokudani is a boiling sulphuric hot springs.
Includes the prefectures of Akita, Aomori, Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi, and Yamagata.
Akita. Akita City is the capital. Film locations include Kubota Castle, Akita Museum of Art, Akita Akarengakan Museum, and Senshū Park.
Kakunodate offers some of the Japan’s best cherry blossom Sakura and Hanami opportunities.
Lake Tazawa is the deepest lake in Japan.
Hot springs of note include Nyūtō Onsen, Tsuru-no-yu Onsen, Ōgama Onsen, Ganiba Onsen, Magoroku Onsen, and Kuroyu Onsen.
Aomori. Aomori City is the capital and largest city. Film locations include Sannai-Maruyama Ruins, Wa Rasse Nebuta House, A-Factory, Bay Bridge, Museum of Art, Hakkoda-Maru Ship, and Furukawa Fish Market. The Tourist Center is an iconic triangle-shaped building located on the waterfront.
Hirosaki Castle offers some of the Japan’s best cherry blossom Sakura and Hanami opportunities.
Lake Towada is known for its fall colours.
Fukushima. Fukushima is the capital. Film locations include Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art, Fukushima Racecourse, Hanamiyama Park, and Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium.
Iwaki is the largest city in Fukushima Prefectural. Film locations include Aquamarine Fukushima, Iwaki-Taira Velodrome, and Iwaki Green Stadium.
Tsuruga Castle is located in Aizuwakamatsu.
Ouchijuku is a tradtitional thatched roof town.
Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, located in Ōkuma, exploded followed by a partial meltdown.
Iwate. Morioka is the capital. Film locations include Morioka Hachimangu Shinto Shrine, Hōon-ji Sōtō Zen Buddhist Temple, Bank of Iwate Red Brick Building, Iwate Museum of Art, and Takamatsu Park which is known for its cherry blossoms.
Other Buddhist temples of note include Chūson-ji, and Takkoku-no-Iwaya.
Kujishi Bunkakaikan Amber Hall was designed by Kurokawa Kisho.
Genbikei Gorge offers beautiful fall colours.
Kagami Pond is a unique volcanic lake.
Jodogahama Beach is a beautiful beach with rock formations.
Kitayamazaki Coast has rugged coastal cliffs and jagged rocks.
Appi Kogen Ski Resort is located in Iwate prefecture.
Miyagi. Sendai is the capital. Film locations include Sendai Castle, Zuihōden Mausoleum Complex, Ōsaki Hachimangū Shinto Shrine, Sendai Tōshōgū Shrine, Sendai City Museum, Miyagi Museum of Art, Sendai City Tomizawa Site Museum, 3M Sendai Science Museum, Sendai Literature Museum, Rakuten Mobile Park Miyagi, Yurtec Stadium Sendai, Xebio Arena Sendai, and Sendai Airport.
Temples of note include Entsuin Buddhist Temple, Zuiganji Rinzai Zen Buddhist Temple, and Shiogama Jinja Shinto Shrine.
Miyagi Stadium is located in Rifu.
Yamagata. Yamagata City is the capital. Film locations include Yamagata Folk Museum, and Kajō Park.
New Tsuruoka Cultural Hall, designed by Kazuyo Sejima, is located in Tsuruoka.
Rissyakuji Buddhist Temple is located just outside of Yamagata City.
Dewasanzan-jinja Shinto Shrine is located in a mountain forest setting.
Ginzan Onsen is a picture perfect hot spring town nestled in the mountains.
Okama Crater on Mount Zao is a desolate location.
Zao Onsen Ski Resort is located in Yamagata Prefecture.
Includes the prefectures of Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa.
Gunma. Maebashi is the capital and Takasaki is the largest city.
Hot springs of note include Kusatsu Onsen, Ikaho Onsen, Manza Onsen, Minakami Onsen, and Shima Onsen.
Ski resorts of note include Oze Iwakura, and Marunuma Kogen Ski Resort.
Haruna Shinto Shrine is located in Takasaki.
Tochigi. Utsunomiya is the capital of Tochigi Prefecture.
Nikkō Tōshō-gū is a Shinto shrine.
Nikko Edo Village is a cultural theme park.
Shinkyo Bridge is a picturesque film location.
Ashikaga Flower Park is a beautiful film location.
Kegon Falls, and Yudaki Falls are located in Tochigi Prefecture.
Ibaraki. Mito is the capital of Ibaraki Prefecture. Film locations include Ibaraki Prefectural Museum of History, Mito Castle, and Art Tower Mito designed by Arata Isozaki.
Kashima is known for Kashima Soccer Stadium, and Kashima Port.
Hitachi Seaside Park, located in Katsuta, is known for its beautiful seasonal flowers including baby blue eyes, and summer cypress.
Shrines of note include Oiwa Shrine, Kashima Shrine, Kasama Inari Shrine, and Ōarai Isosaki Shrine is a coastal location.
Ushiku Daibutsu is a 120 m (390 ft) tall Buddha Statue.
Tsukuba Circuit is a motorsport race track located in Shimotsuma.
Tsukuba Space Center, located in Tsukuba Science City, is the headquarters for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
Saitama. Saitama City is the capital of Saitama Prefecture. Film locations include Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, Hikawa Shrine, Saitama Museum of Modern Art designed by Kisho Kurokawa, Railway Museum, Saitama Super Arena, Saitama Stadium, and Omiya Park.
Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel is located in Kasukabe.
Tokyo. Tokyo is Japan’s capital, and main film production centre. The Tokyo metropolitan area makes Tokyo the most populous city in the world. The city is known for its unique architecture, museums, restaurants, theme cafes, entertainment venues, stadiums, temples, and parks with cherry blossoms in the spring.
Neighborhoods of interest include Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku, Ginza, Shimokitazawa, and Roppongi Hills.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, designed by Kenzo Tange, offers the best views of the Tokyo skyline. The Imperial Palace is the main residence of the Emperor of Japan. Other government buildings of note include National Diet Building which is the national legislature of Japan, National Diet Library, Supreme Court of Japan, Akasaka Palace, and University of Tokyo.
Religious buildings of note include Zojoji Temple which was filmed for The Wolverine (2013), Sensō-ji Temple, Meiji Shrine, Yasukuni Shrine, Asakusa Shrine, Hie Shrine, Reiyukai Shakaden Temple, St Mary’s Cathedral designed by Kenzo Tange, Shinjuku Rurikoin Byakurengedo, and Japan Lutheran Theological Seminary.
Impressive buildings of note include Tokyo International Forum designed by Rafael Viñoly, Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower, Shibuya Sky Observation Deck, NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building, Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, Asahi Beer Hall, M2 Building designed by Kazuyo Sejima, Fuji Broadcasting Center designed by Kenzo Tange, Shizuoka Press and Broadcasting Center designed by Kenzo Tange, Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center designed by Kengo Kuma, Daiwa Ubiquitous Computing Research Building designed by Kengo Kuma, Sunny Hills Japan designed by Kengo Kuma, The Iceberg Building, Bank of Japan Building, Kuwait Embassy in Japan designed by Kenzo Tange, Hotel Okura Tokyo designed by Yoshirō Taniguchi, and Park Hyatt Tokyo which was filmed for Lost in Translation (2003).
Museums of note include National Art Center designed by Kisho Kurokawa, National Museum of Western Art designed by Le Corbusier, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM, Yayoi Kusama Museum, Edo-Tokyo Museum designed by Kiyonori Kikutake, Sumida Hokusai Museum designed by Kazuyo Sejima, Ghibli Museum designed by Hayao Miyazaki, 21_21 Design Sight designed by Tadao Ando, Yushukan War Memorial Museum, National Museum of Nature and Science, Nezu Museum designed by Kengo Kuma, Watari Museum of Contemporary Art designed by Mario Botta, Artizon Museum, Suntory Museum of Art, Yamatane Museum of Art, and Mori Art Museum.
Entertainment venues includes Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, New National Theatre, National Theatre of Japan, Tokyo Big Sight Convention Center, Imperial Theatre designed by Taniguchi Yoshirō, and National Noh Theatre.
Tokyo hosted the 1964 and 2020 Olympics. Sport venues include Japan National Stadium designed by Kengo Kuma, Tokyo Dome Baseball Stadium, Yoyogi National Gymnasium designed by Kenzo Tange, Ajinomoto Stadium, Ariake Arena, Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium designed by Fumihiko Maki, Tokyo Aquatics Centre, Nippon Budokan, and Ryōgoku Kokugikan Sumo Stadium.
Parks of note include Yoyogi Koen, Ueno Park, and Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.
Toyosu Market in Tokyo is the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world.
Transport locations include the following. Shibuya Crossing is an iconic crosswalk that was filmed for Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010). Takanawa Gateway Station was designed by Kengo Kuma. Other Tokyo transport locations include Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo Metro, Toei Subway, Tokyo Station, and Haneda Airport.
Gonpachi Restaurant in Nishiazabu was filmed for Kill Bill (2003).
Big Apple Slot & Pachinko Parlour was filmed for The Wolverine (2013).
Tokyo also administers a variety of Pacific Islands:
Iwo Jima, located in the Ogasawara Archipelago, 1,200 km (750 mi) south of Tokyo, was filmed for Letters from Iwo Jima (2006). The islands are administered by Tokyo.
Nishinoshima Island, located 940 km (584 mi) south-southeast of Tokyo, is an active volcanic island that continues to grow.
Hachijō-kojima, located 287 km (178 mi) south of Tokyo, is a small volcanic deserted island in the Izu Islands. The islands was filmed for Battle Royale (2000).
Chiba. Chiba is the capital of Chiba Prefecture. Film locations include National Museum of Japanese History, Natural History Museum and Institute, Chiba Museum of Science and Industry, Chiba Prefectural Museum of Art, Chiba Shrine, Sapporo Beer Chiba Brewery, Makuhari Messe Convention Centre, ZOZO Marine Stadium, Fukuda Denshi Arena, Chiba Suspended Monorail, Chiba Station, and Chiba Port Tower.
Narita locations include Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple, Narita Wholesale Market, and Narita International Airport.
Hoki Museum is located in Midori-ku.
Katori-Jingu Shrine is located in Katori.
Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea are located in Urayasu.
Kamogawa Sea World is located in Kamogawa.
Keiyō Industrial Zone is a vast industrial area.
Chiba is one of the most popular surfing regions in Japan.
Kanagawa. Yokohama is Japan’s second largest city and the capital of Kanagawa Prefecture. Film locations include Minato Mirai 21 which is a modern city skyline district, Yokohama Chinatown, Yokohama Landmark Tower, Yokohama Marine Tower, Yokohama City Hall, Sōji-ji Temple, Nippon Maru Tall Ship, Hikawa Maru Japanese Ocean Liner, Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History, Yokohama Archives of History, CupNoodles Museum Yokohama, Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum, Kirin Brewery Yokohama Factory, Nissan Stadium, Yokohama Stadium, Yokohama Arena, Yokohama Station, Ōsanbashi Yokohama International Passenger Terminal, and Port of Yokohama.
Kawasaki is known for Heiken-ji Temple, Nihon Minka-en Open Air Museum, Fujio Museum, Taro Okamoto Museum of Art, Toshiba Science Museum, Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium, and Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line which connects the cities of Kawasaki with Kisarazu.
Kamakura is known for Kotoku-in Temple, Kenchō-ji Temple, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, and Kamakura Hasedera.
Hakone is known for Hakone Open Air Museum, and Pola Museum of Art.
Includes the prefectures of Aichi, Fukui, Gifu, Ishikawa, Nagano, Niigata, Shizuoka, Toyama, and Yamanashi.
Aichi. Nagoya is the capital city of Aichi Prefecture. Film locations include Nagoya Castle, Nagoya City Hall, Nagoya City Archives, Nagoya TV Tower, JR Central Towers, Oasis 21, Lucent Tower, Atsuta Shrine, Ōsu Kannon Temple, GC Prostho Museum Research Center designed by Kengo Kuma, Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, Toyota Automobile Museum, Nagoya City Science Museum, Nagoya City Museum, Nagoya City Art Museum, Aichi Prefectural Ceramic Museum designed by Taniguchi Yoshirō, SCMaglev and Railway Park, Tokugawa Art Museum, Aichi Arts Center, Nagoya Noh Theater, Botanical Gardens, Legoland Japan Resort, Nagoya Dome, Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, Nagoya Municipal Subway, Nagoya Station, and Port of Nagoya.
Temples and shrines include Toyokawa Inari Temple, and Daiju-ji Temple.
Castles of note include Inuyama Castle, Kiyosu Castle, and Okazaki Castle.
Toyota Stadium, designed by Kisho Kurokawa, is located in Toyota.
Chubu Centrair International Airport is located on an artificial island near Tokoname City.
Fukui. Fukui is the capital city. Film locations include Maruoka-jo Castle, Eihei-ji Temple, Fukui City Art Museum designed by Kisho Kurokawa, Fukui Prefectural Museum of Cultural History, and Fukui Prefectural Gymnasium.
Katsuyama film locations include Katsuyama Castle, Heisenji Hakusan Shrine, and Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum designed by Kisho Kurokawa.
Echizen Ōno Castle is located in Ōno.
Kehi Shrine is located in Tsuruga.
Tōjinbō are sea cliffs.
Gifu. Gifu is the capital city. Film locations include Gifu Castle, Nagaragawa Convention Center designed by Tadao Ando, Inaba Shrine, Kogane Shrine, Kashimori Shrine, Jōzai-ji Temple, Sōfuku-ji Temple, and Shōhō-ji Temple.
Takayama film locations include Takayama Jin’ya, Hida Kokubunji Temple, Hikaru Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, and Gifu City Science Museum.
Kamioka Observatory is located in Hida.
Shirakawa-go is a mountain village known for its traditional thatched houses.
Tokuyama Dam is Japan’s largest dam in terms of structural volume.
Ishikawa. Kanazawa is the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture. The city is known for its creative culture with its art galleries and artisan workshops. Film locations include Higashi Chaya District Geisha District, Kanazawa Castle, Ninja Temple, Myouryuji Temple, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art designed by Kazuyo Sejima, D.T. Suzuki Museum, Kanazawa Station, Kenroku-en Garden, and Omicho Market.
Shiroyone Senmaida Rice Terraces are located in Ishikawa Prefecture.
Nagano. Nagano is the capital and largest city of Nagano Prefecture. 1998 Winter Olympics venues include Aqua Wing Arena, Big Hat, Hakuba Ski Jumping Stadium, Nagano Bobsleigh-Luge Park, Hakuba Happoone Winter Resort, Kazakoshi Park Arena, Nagano Olympic Memorial Arena, Nagano Olympic Stadium, and White Ring. Other Nagano film locations include Zenkō-ji Temple, Togakushi Shrine, Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum, and Nagano Station.
Tsumago-juku is an Edo-era post town.
Suwa Grand Shrine is located in Suwa.
Usuda Deep Space Center is located in Saku.
Jigokudani Monkey Park, located in Yamanouchi, is known for its onsen-bathing snow monkeys.
Castles of note include Matsumoto Castle, and Matsushiro Castle Ruins.
Niigata. Niigata is the capital city. Film locations include Niigata City History Museum, Northern Culture Museum, Niigata Science Museum, Toki Messe Convention Center, Denka Big Swan Stadium, Niigata Prefectural Baseball Stadium, Bandai Bridge, Port of Niigata, Niigata Station, and Niigata Airport.
Yahiko Shrine is located in Yahiko.
City Hall Plaza Aore Nagaoka was designed by Kengo Kuma.
Ski resorts of note include Naeba Ski Resort, GALA Yuzawa Snow Resort, and Suginohara Ski Resort.
Hoshitouge Terraced Rice Field is located in Tokamachi.
Kiyotsu Gorge is a beautiful film location.
Shizuoka. Shizuoka City is the capital city of Shizuoka Prefecture. Film locations include Sunpu Castle, Kunōzan Tōshō-gū Shrine, Shizuoka Sengen Jinja, Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, IAI Stadium Nihondaira, Konohana Arena, and Shizuoka Station.
Hamamatsu is the largest city in Shizuoka Prefecture. Film locations include Hamamatsu Castle, JASDF Hamamatsu Air Base Museum, and Hamamatsu Station.
Fujisan Hongū Sengen Taisha is located in Fujinomiya.
Shizuoka Stadium is located in Fukuroi City.
Izu Velodrome is located in Shizuoka Prefecture.
Fuji Speedway is located in Oyama.
Coeda House, located in Atami, was designed by Kengo Kuma.
Okuōikojō Station is a unique film location.
Hamaoka sand dunes in Omaezaki were filmed for Woman in the Dunes (1964).
Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan.
Satta-toge Pass is a coastal overpass with a snow-capped mountain backdrop.
Hatanagi-I dam is located in Shizuoka Prefecture.
Toyama. Toyama is the capital city of Toyama Prefecture. Film locations include Toyama Castle, Gokoku Shrine, Museum of Modern Art, Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design, Toyama International Conference Center, Toyama Station, Toyama Stadium, and Toyama Airport.
Zuiryuji Temple is located in Takaoka.
Ainokura Village is a farmhouse village.
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is known for its winter snow walls that rise 20 m (65 ft) above the road.
Kurobe Dam is the tallest dam in Japan.
Yamanashi. Kōfu is the capital city of Yamanashi Prefecture. Film locations include Kōfu Castle, Tsutsujigasaki Castle, Fuefukigawa Fruit Park, and Kōfu Station.
Fujiyoshida is known for Arakura Fuji Sengen Shrine, Mount Fuji Radar System, and Fuji-Q Highland Amusement Park.
The Fuji Five Lakes include Lake Kawaguchi, Lake Motosu, Lake Sai, Lake Shōji, and Lake Yamanaka. Iyashi no Sato, and Oshino Village are traditional Japanese villages.
Aokigahara is a forest with a reputation as one of the world’s most-used suicide sites.
Includes the prefectures of Mie, Nara, Wakayama, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyōgo, and Shiga.
Mie. Tsu is the capital of Mie Prefecture, and Yokkaichi is the largest city.
Shinto shrines of note include Grand Shrine of Ise, Tsubaki Grand Shrine, Sarutahiko Jinja, and Futami Okitama Shrine.
Ninja Museum of Igaryu is located in Iga.
Japon Louvre Sculpture Museum, designed by Kisho Kurokawa, is located in Tsu.
Okage Yokocho is known for its Edo-period wooden buildings.
Nabana no Sato Flower Park is a colourful film location.
Nagashima Spa Land is an amusement park in Kuwana.
Suzuka Circuit is a motorsport race track that hosts the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix.
Nara. Nara City is the capital of Nara Prefecture. Temples and shrines of note include Tōdai-ji, Tōshōdai-ji, Yakushi-ji, Kōfuku-ji, Hōryū-ji, and Kasuga Taisha Shrine. Other locations in Nara City include Nara National Museum, Neiraku Art Museum, Isui-en Garden, and Nara Park.
Kōriyama Castle is located in Yamatokōriyama.
Wakayama. Wakayama City is the capital of Wakayama Prefecture. Film locations include Wakayama Castle, Museum of Modern Art designed by Kisho Kurokawa, Hinokuma Shrine, Itakiso Shrine, Kamayama Shrine, Kishū Tōshō-gū Shrine, Kimii-dera Temple, Kishū Tōshō-gū Shrine, Mount Kōya Temple, Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine, Awashima Jinja Shrine, Kuroshio Market, and Momijidani Teien Garden.
Nachi Falls are located in Nachikatsuura.
Kyōto. Kyōto was the former Imperial capital of Japan known for its Buddhist temples, gardens, palaces, Shinto shrines, and traditional wooden houses.
Palace and castles of note include Kyōto Imperial Palace, Nijō Castle, and Fushimi Castle.
Temples and shrines include of note include Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine which was filmed for Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), Kinkaku-ji, Nanzen-ji, Jishō-ji, Byōdō-in, Kiyomizu-dera, Sanjūsangendō, Eikan-dō, Eikan-dō, Tenryū-ji, Ryōan-ji, Kōzan-ji, Shimogamo Shrine, and Kamigamo Shrine.
Museums of note include Kyoto International Manga Museum, Kyoto Railway Museum, Kyoto National Museum, Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, National Museum of Modern Art, Hosomi Museum, Kyoto Museum for World Peace, Koryo Museum of Art, Nomura Art Museum, Yūrinkan Museum, and Toei Kyoto Studio Park.
Kyoto International Conference Center was designed by Sachio Otani.
Nishiki Market is a famous food market.
Parks include Kyoto Botanical Garden, and Arashiyama which is a spectacular bamboo forest.
Transport locations include Kyoto City Subway, and Kyōto Station designed by Hiroshi Hara.
Osaka. Osaka is Japan’s third largest city, and the capital of Osaka Prefecture.
Neighborhoods of note include Namba, Shinsekai, Dōtonbori, Nipponbashi Denden Town, Tsuruhashi, Amemura, and Umeda.
Buildings of note include Osaka Castle, Osaka City Hall, Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library, Tsūtenkaku Tower, Umeda Sky Building designed by Hiroshi Hara, Abeno Harukas designed by César Pelli, Suntory Yamazaki Distillery, and Gate Tower Building which has a highway passing through it.
Museums of note include National Museum of Art designed by César Pelli, Osaka Maritime Museum designed by Paul Andreu, Osaka Culturarium at Tempozan designed by Tadao Ando, Osaka Prefectural Chikatsu Asuka Museum designed by Tadao Ando, Osaka Museum of History designed by César Pelli, Osaka Science Museum, Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka Museum of Housing and Living, Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum, National Museum of Ethnology, and Osaka International Peace Center.
Entertainment venues include National Bunraku Theatre designed by Kisho Kurokawa, Symphony Hall, Osaka-jō Hall, Osaka International Convention Center designed by Kisho Kurokawa, Universal Studios Japan, Tempozan Ferris Wheel, Kyocera Dome Osaka, Nagai Stadium, Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, and Hanazono Rugby Stadium.
Temples of note include Sumiyoshi-taisha Shinto Shrine, Shitennō-ji Buddhist Temple, Hozenji Buddhist Temple, and Isshinji Buddhist Temple.
Church of the Light was designed by Tadao Ando.
Mozu Tombs are megalithic tombs.
Hattori Ryokuchi Park has 11 authentic Edo period farmhouses.
Transport locations include Osaka Metro, Shin-Osaka Station, and Kansai International Airport.
Hyōgo. Kōbe is the capital and largest city. It is known to be a film-friendly city. Mount Rokkō overlooks Kōbe. Film locations include Kōbe Chinatown, Ikuta Shinto Shrine, Nagata Shinto Shrine, Minatogawa Shinto Shrine, Taisan-ji Temple, An’yō-in Temple, Weathercock House, 4×4 House designed by Tadao Ando, Kōbe Maritime Museum, Hyōgo Prefectural Museum of Art designed by Tadao Ando, Kōbe City Museum, Hakutsuru Fine Art Museum, Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum, Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum, Kōbe Sports Park Baseball Stadium, Noevir Stadium Kōbe, World Memorial Hall, Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, Kōbe Port Tower, Kōbe Port, Kōbe Shipyard, Kōbe Municipal Subway, Shin-Kōbe Station, and Kōbe Airport.
Hanshin Koshien Stadium is located in Nishinomiya.
Castles of note include Himeji Castle, Amagasaki Castle, and Takeda Castle Ruins.
Engyoji Temple was filmed for The Last Samurai (2003).
Shiga. Ōtsu is the capital of Shiga Prefecture.
Hachiman-bori Canal, located in Omihachiman City, is a narrow waterway lined with traditional Japanese merchant houses and cherry trees.
Castles of note include Hikone Castle, and Azuchi Castle Ruins.
Miho Museum was designed by I. M. Pei.
Sagawa Art Museum is located in Moriyama.
Temples of note include Enryaku-ji Temple, Mii-dera Temple, Ishiyama-dera Temple, and Hiyoshi Taisha Shinto Shrine.
Includes the prefectures of Hiroshima, Okayama, Shimane, Tottori, and Yamaguchi.
Hiroshima. Hiroshima City is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, designed by Kenzō Tange, commemorates the dropping of the atomic bomb. Other Hiroshima film locations include Hiroshima Castle, Mitaki-dera Temple, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art designed by Kisho Kurokawa, Satake Memorial Hall, Mazda Stadium, Edion Stadium, Hiroshima Station, and Hiroshima Airport.
Fukuyama is known for Fukuyama Castle, Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of History, and Fukuyama Station.
Onomichi is known for Onomichi City Museum of Art, Senkō-ji Temple, Jōdo-ji Temple, and Ikuchi Bridge.
Tomonoura is a picturesque port town.
Yamato Museum is located in Kure.
Okayama. Okayama City is the capital of Okayama Prefecture. Film locations include Okayama Castle, Kibitsu Jinja Shrine, Kibitsuhiko Jinja Shrine, Saijo Inari-san Myoukyoji Temple, Kōraku-en Japanese Garden, Okayama Symphony Hall, Inujima Seirensho Art Museum, City Light Stadium, Okayama Station, and Okayama Airport.
Kurashiki film locations include Bikan Historical Quarter, Ohara Museum of Art, and Mizushima Industrial Zone.
Bitchū Matsuyama Castle is located in Takahashi.
Great Seto Bridge connects Okayama and Kagawa Prefectures.
Shimane. Matsue is the capital of Shimane Prefecture. Film locations include Miho Shrine, Kamosu Jinja Shrine, Matsue Castle, Iwami Art Museum, and Shimane Art Museum.
Izumo Taisha Shrine is located in Izumo.
Nima Sand Museum is located in Oda.
Adachi Museum of Art is located in Yasugi.
Eshima Ohashi Bridge gives the appearance of being frighteningly steep.
Tottori. Tottori City is the capital of Tottori Prefecture. Film locations include Tottori Sand Dunes, Tottori Sand Museum, Mizuki Shigeru Museum, Tottori City Historical Museum, Jinpūkaku Residence, Ube Jinja Shrine, Hakuto Shrine, Kōzen-ji Temple, Hanakairo Flower Park, and Axis Bird Stadium.
Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi is the capital city. Film locations include Rurikō-ji Temple, and Yamaguchi Prefectural Museum of Art.
Shimonoseki is the largest city. Film locations include Kōzan-ji Temple, Akama Shrine, Shimonoseki Station, Tsunoshima Bridge, and Kanmon Bridge.
Iwakuni is known for Iwakuni Castle, and Kintaikyo Wooden Arch Bridge.
Motonosumi Inari Shrine is located in Nagato.
Includes the prefectures of Ehime, Kagawa, Kōchi, and Tokushima.
Ehime. Matsuyama is the capital of Ehime Prefecture. Film locations include Matsuyama Castle, Dōgo Onsen, Ishite-ji Temple, Taisan-ji Temple, Jōdo-ji Temple, Isaniwa Shrine, Museum of Art Ehime, Shiki Memorial Museum, and Saka no Ue no Kumo Museum.
Imabari is known for Imabari Castle, Ōyamazumi Shrine, Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture designed by Toyo Ito, and Imabari Shipyard.
Uwajima is known for Uwajima Castle, and Uwajima Bull Sumo Arena.
Kurushima Kaikyō Bridge connects the island of Ōshima to the main part of Shikoku.
Aoshima is known as Cat Island due to its large number of resident cats.
Kagawa. Takamatsu is the capital of Kagawa Prefecture. Film locations include Takamatsu Castle, Yashima-ji Temple, Takamatsu City Museum Of Art, Kagawa Museum, Ritsurin Garden, and Takamatsu Station, and Takamatsu Airport.
Naoshima Island is known for its many contemporary art museums. Chichu Art Museum designed by Tadao Ando, Benesse Art Museum designed by Tadao Ando, and Naoshima Fukutake Art Museum.
Kotohira-gū Shrine is located in Kotohira.
Teshima Art Museum is located on the island of Teshima.
Kagawa Prefectural Higashiyama Kaii Setouchi Art Museum, designed by Yoshio Taniguchi, is located in Sakaide.
Nijushi no Hitomi movie village is located on Shodo Island.
Kōchi. Kōchi is the capital of Kōchi Prefecture. Film locations include Kōchi Castle, Chikurin-ji Temple, Tosa Shrine, Museum of Art Kōchi, Sakamoto Ryōma Memorial Museum, Kōchi Castle Museum of History, Kōchi Literary Museum, Kōchi Prefectural Museum of History, Makino Botanical Garden, Kōchi Racecourse, Kōchi Station, and Kōchi Airport.
Yusuhara is known for Yusuhara Community Library designed by Kengo Kuma, and Yusuhara Wooden Bridge Museum which is also designed by Kengo Kuma.
Tokushima. Tokushima is the capital of Tokushima Prefecture. Film locations include Tokushima Castle, Tokushima Archaeological Museum, Tokushima Prefectural Museum, Ichinomiya Jinja Shrine, and Joraku-ji Temple.
Naruto is known for Otsuka Museum of Art, Ryōzen-ji Temple, Bandō POW Camp, Ōnaruto Bridge, and Naruto whirlpools in the Naruto Strait.
Kazurabashi is known for its vine bridges.
Includes the prefectures of Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Nagasaki, Ōita, Saga, Kagoshima, Miyazaki, and Okinawa.
Fukuoka. Fukuoka is the capital and largest city. Film locations include Fukuoka Castle, Fukuoka Tower, Kyushu University, Hakozaki Shrine, Tōchō-ji, Kashii-gū, Jōten-ji, Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka City Museum, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka Oriental Ceramics Museum, Fukuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, Fukuoka Dome, Best Denki Stadium, Hakata Station, and Fukuoka Airport.
Kitakyushu is known for Kokura Castle, Kitakyushu Central Library designed by Arata Isozaki, TOTO Museum which is dedicated to the evolution of the toilet, Mikuni World Stadium, Kokura Station, Mojikō Station, Kyushu Railway History Museum, Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History & Human History, Wakato Bridge, Port of Kitakyushu, and Kitakyushu Airport.
Kyushu National Museum is located in Dazaifu.
Kumamoto. Kumamoto is the capital of Kumamoto Prefecture. Film locations include Kumamoto Castle, Fujisaki Hachiman-gū Shrine, Suizen-ji Jōju-en Japanese Garden, Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto, Egao Kenko Stadium, Kumamoto Station, and Kumamoto Airport.
Tsūjun Bridge is located in Yamato.
Nagasaki. Nagasaki is the capital and the largest city in Nagasaki Prefecture. Nagasaki Peace Park, Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, and Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims commemorate the atomic bombing of the city. Other Nagasaki film locations include Basilica of the Twenty-Six Holy Martyrs of Japan, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Twenty-Six Martyrs Museum and Monument, Sakamoto International Cemetery, Kōshi-byō Temple, Kōfuku-ji Temple, Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown, Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture designed by Kurokawa Kisho, Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum, Glover Garden, Transcosmos Stadium Nagasaki, Nagasaki Station, Nagasaki Port, and Nagasaki Airport.
The abandoned Hashima Island was filmed for Skyfall (2012).
Shimabara Castle is located in Shimabara.
Ikikoku Museum, designed by Kisho Kurokawa, is located in Iki.
Siebold Memorial Museum is located in Narutaki.
Huis Ten Bosch theme park, located in Sasebo, recreates a Dutch Town.
Ōita. Ōita is the capital of Ōita Prefecture. Film locations include Funai Castle, Ōita Prefectural Art Museum designed by Shigeru Ban, Oita Art Museum, and Resonac Dome Ōita designed by Kisho Kurokawa.
Usa Jingū Shrine is located in Usa.
Beppu Onsen is located in Beppu.
Saga. Saga is the capital of Saga Prefecture. Film locations include Saga Castle, Saga Prefectural Museum, and Saga Airport.
Karatsu Castle is located in Karatsu.
Yūtoku Inari Shrine is located in Kashima City.
Ekimae Real Estate Stadium is located in Tosu.
Yoshinogari Historical Park recreates a settlement from the Yayoi Period.
Kagoshima. Kagoshima is the capital of Kagoshima Prefecture. Film locations include Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots, Reimeikan Museum, Museum of the Meiji Restoration, Sengan-en Japanese Garden, Kagoshima-Chūō Station, Kagoshima Airport, and Sakurajima which is an active volcano overlooking the city.
Kanoya Air Base Museum is located in Kanoya.
Yakushima Island, located in the Ōsumi Islands, is a landscape of temperate ancient cedar forests, wetlands, hot springs, and beaches that are nesting grounds for loggerhead turtles. The island is home to some of Japan’s oldest trees.
Tanegashima Island, located in the Ōsumi Islands, is home to the Tanegashima Space Center.
Miyazaki. Miyazaki is the capital of Miyazaki Prefecture. Film locations include Miyazaki Prefectural Office, Miyazaki-jingū Shrine, Miyazaki Prefectural Museum of Nature and History, Miyazaki Science Center, Heiwadai Tower, Miyazaki Station, and Miyazaki Airport.
Udo-jingū Shrine is located in Nichinan.
Okinawa. Okinawa Prefecture consists of over 160 islands which are divided into three major island groups: the Okinawa Islands, the Miyako Islands and the Yaeyama Islands. The islands are known for their beautiful beaches, turquoise waters, and coral reefs.
Okinawa Island is the largest island. Naha is the capital and largest city in Okinawa Prefecture. Okinawa Island film locations include Shuri Castle, Gyokusendo Cave, Cornerstone of Peace, Okinawa Prefectural Museum, Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum, Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters, Naha Airport, and Kadena Air Base which is the largest US Air Force base in Japan.
Other paradise islands of note include Kume Island, Ishigaki Island, Kerama Islands, Miyako Island, Iriomote Island, Zamami Island, Tokashiki Island, and Kudaka Island.
Japan Film Location Permits
Filming in Tokyo can be very restricted. Small shoots looking to capture b-roll of public locations can get away with more. Separate permits are required for each location. These usually take about 3 days to process. More complicated shoots involving setting up track / lights and controlling traffic are much more difficult to permit and require more lead time. Popular locations such as Shibuya Square and Sensoji Temple are very difficult to permit. Some areas require additional permission from the neighborhood association. Please contact us for location specific information.
When To Shoot?
Japan’s north-south geography means there is significant seasonal variation. Where Northern Hokkaido has long, snowy winters and short, mild summers, the southern island of Okinawa has a sub-tropical climate. Generally speaking, Japan has a four-season climate. Winters (December to February) are cold and dry with snow in the mountains. Spring (March to May) is warm with cherry blossoms in full bloom. Summers (June to September) are hot and rainy. Fall (October to November) is mild with colourful leaves. For monthly weather statistics please see here.
Festivals and events of interest to filmmakers and photographers include:
• Sapporo Snow Festival in February.
• Hadaka Matsuri “Naked Festival” takes place in Okayama in February.
• Cherry Blossom Festivals throughout Japan from March to May.
• Takayama Festival in April.
• World Bonsai Convention in Saitama in April.
• Sanja Festival in Tokyo in May.
• Kyoto Gion Festival in July.
• Nachi Fire Festival in Nachisan in July.
• Hakata Gion Yamakasa in Fukuoka in July.
• Horomitoge Lavender Garden in Hokkaido blooms in July.
• Sunflower Festival in Zama, in July / August.
• Nebuta Festival in Aomori in August
• Kanto Festival in Akita City in August
• Obon (Festival of the Dead) throughout Japan in August.
• Tokushima City’s Awa Odori “Fools Dance” in August.
• Tokyo Game Show in September
• Nagasaki Kunchi Festival in October.
• Japanese Formula One Grand Prix in Suzuka City in October.
• Tokyo Motor Show in October / November (held every odd-numbered year).
• Uwajima Bull Fights throughout the year.
Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Japan. Best to avoid filming during ‘Golden Week’ holidays in late April / early May.
Unique Local Stories
Brands are looking for local stories that match their brand narrative. Our local teams are a great lead for sourcing those unique stories and characters.
If you are looking for stories for your next shoot, send us your brief and we will pitch you ideas.
If you have a unique story you would like to pitch to a brand anywhere in the world, pitch us your idea. We have well-established processes to ensure that your ideas are properly seen and protected.
Costs & Tax Incentives
Costs. Japan is a relatively expensive place to shoot certainly compared to the rest of Asia. Our locally based fixers and service producers will negotiate deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget. For low budget shoots there are of course ways to save money. There are plenty of last minute hotel deals and the quality of inexpensive food from even from places such as Seven-Eleven, is very high by comparison to what you’d get in the West. When it comes to payment, make sure to have plenty of cash handy. Few places outside of tourist areas accept credit cards. Seven-Elevens are the most reliable place to withdraw cash.
Tax Incentives. There are no tax incentives for foreign feature films or commercials shooting in Japan. Regional film commissions have subsidies and support that can be accessed by visiting productions.
Film Crew & Talent
Crews. Japan has a good local pool of directors, directors of photography and stills photographers although not many speak fluent English. Japanese crews are non-union. There is a good depth of experienced creative and technical crews.
Contact us if you are looking for a Tokyo, Osaka, or Sapporo based director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew in Japan.
Talent is non-union and buyouts are negotiable. Talent looks are mostly Japanese but there is also a considerable pool of international models and actors who live and work in Japan for extended periods of time.
Fringes. No hidden extras. Crew members are independent contractors and take care of their own taxes and contributions.
Premiums. Japan works on a 10 hour shooting day. Overtime is negotiable and tends to be less expensive than what you find in most western countries. Most crew are hired through companies that specialize in supplying specific departments making it easier to package crews and negotiate better rates. Japan has no turn-around rules. No weekend, holidays or night shoot premiums apply. New Years Eve and Golden Week (beginning of May) are major public holidays so crews and talent are limited and extra charges are possible.
Japan Film Equipment
Equipment. Japan has all of the standard camera, grip and lighting gear as well as several specialized suppliers offering a variety of cutting edge technical equipment. For productions looking to bring in film equipment Japan is an ATA carnet country.
In terms of communications, Japan has one of the fastest internet speeds in the world. Local production support can arrange wifi enabled phones or if you are shooting on a budget you can also purchase pocket wifi at the airport.
Communications. Fast internet with extensive coverage.
Communication is key. Our agility and global experience allows us to customise the right communications systems for every shoot.
Web posted casting, scouting, and videoconferencing.
For clients that are unable to attend set we offer a virtual video village solution. This dedicated and secure high-resolution video streaming platform allows clients from one or multiple timezones to view setups without compromise and to participate in real-time with the team on set. Separate systems can be set up for the discrete conversations that are required to make a job run right. Working remotely with our local teams reduces your content production costs, turnaround times, carbon footprint, and risks associated with unpredictable global events.
Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production
Art department and set construction is of the highest standard. Set construction is also of a high standard but it is very expensive to execute in Japan. To give you an idea of the high standard of work Babel (2006) and Lost in Translation (2003) were filmed in Japan.
Studios and backlots. Japan has a samurai movie backlot. Japan has a range of studio facilties with Yokohama Super Factory and Toho Studios among the largest. Given the high costs of filming in Japan, most productions come for the locations rather than studio builds.
Post Production. Japan has state of the art post production facilities.
Visas & Work Permits
Entry is subject to regulations from country of origin. Crew travelling on Western passports can enter as business / tourist travellers.
Transport & Accommodation
Transportation Infrastructure. Japan is very well serviced by an extensive road network, bullet trains and domestic airlines. For small film crews travelling around Japan on a budget, Japan Rail passes offer significant savings. Note, these passes can only be purchased prior to arrival in Japan. Tokyo and Osaka are well serviced by many international carriers.
Accommodation. Contact us for recommended film friendly hotels in Tokyo. For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments. Japan has many hotels and traditional ryokans to choose from, including capsule hotels for the price conscious. Some great last-minute deals can also be found on online accommodation booking services. Even Japan’s lower cost accommodation options are very clean and offer sufficient facilities. Make sure to book well ahead of time if you are planing to film during Golden Week. Accommodation with an onsen is a welcome sight after a long day of shooting.
Down Time. Japan has a great wealth of culinary options ranging from casual dining, to quirky theme restaurants, to haute cuisine with Tokyo being home to more Michelin Star restaurants than any other city in the world. Japanese dishes of note include ramen, sushi, sashimi, chirashi, gyoza, tonkatsu with Japanese curry, karaage, wagyu beef, yakitori, sukiyaki hot pot, motsunabe, miso soup, chawanmushi, champon, udon noodle soup, soba noodles, edamame, tempura, korokke, tebasaki, okonomiyaki, monjayaki, anago meshi, fukagawa meshi, tamago kake gohan, fresh uni, takoyaki, basashi, fugu, and matcha icecream. Wash it all down with some sake and Japanese beer and go karaoke.
Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in Japan, please see below:
Hire Japan Production Support & Shooting Crew
If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Japan, please contact us.
If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Japan, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us.
We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.