Many directors come to Tokyo to capture its energy, the contrast between the traditional and the modern, and the quirky fads that come to light in this massive metropolis.
In the last decade several Hollywood directors shot movies in Tokyo that became blockbusters. This guide retraces their steps through the city so you can visit the locations of your favorite movies!
Lost in Translation is a story about culture shock and finding yourself even when nothing makes sense. This is one of the richest movies to follow around Tokyo because they used real locations.
The most famous location is the New York Bar at the Park Hyatt Hotel. The views are breathtaking, and the roster of jazz musicians is top-notch. You can order Suntory whisky, which is the product that Bill Murray was endorsing, but they also make great original cocktails and offer a food menu.
If you want to sing "More than This" just like Bill Murray did in the karaoke scene, head to the Karaoke-kan in Shibuya and ask for rooms 601 or 602. The nightclub where they hang out with Tokyo hipsters while firework images are projected on the walls is Air, located in Daikanyama.
The strip club scence is one of the few that wasn't shot in a real location. Instead, they shot it at the A.P.C. Underground clothing store in Harajuku after remodeling the interior a little bit.
Finally, Charlotte gets a breath of fresh air and meditates at the Jogan-Ji temple, which is within walking distance of the Park Hyatt Hotel.
The fight at the "House of Blue Leaves," where Beatrix Kiddo crosses swords with the Crazy 88 and O-Ren in her quest for revenge wasn't shot at a real restaurant. But, the set was modeled after Gompachi in Nishi-Azabu.
You will not be able to buy a sword from Hattori Hanzo, but you can get one from Japan Sword or Sokendo, where they specialize in Japanese swords and armor for your next Kill Bill reenactment scene (just kidding!). If you'd rather just see sword craftsmanship, go for the Japanese Sword Museum.
Babel follows Chieko's teenage life in Tokyo and her struggle to find acceptance. After school she hangs out with friends at the J-Pop Cafe in Shibuya, which is a famous live performance and party space.
The nightclub rave scene is one of Babel's most famous moments, and it was shot at Womb, which is also in Shibuya and one of Tokyo's top nightclubs.
If you want to visit the park where they take drugs before heading to Womb, find your way to Azabu-Juban station on the Nanboku or Toei Oedo Subway lines and take exit 3.
Wim Wenders is a famous Dutch filmmaker whose documentary "Tokyo Ga" shows his travels in the city following the path of Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu. One of the scenes shows the Rock & Roll dancers and Elvis impersonators who gather at the entrance of Yoyogi park to dance and hang out. They still do, and can often be found on Sundays with a small stereo practicing their moves.
Without doubt, the most famous shot of modern Tokyo is the Shibuya crossing. Just about every movie uses this spot to show how crowded and post-modern Tokyo is. This crossing is supposedly the world's busiest, flanked by several giant screens and with people coming from all angles.
Charlotte in Lost in Translation finds it mesmerizing, Babel shows it multiple times, while the movie "The fast and the furious: Tokyo drift," has a hair-raising scene where they can't break their car on time and need to drift past it without hitting anybody. To get there, take one of the many lines to Shibuya station and head for the Hachiko exit. There is a good elevated view from the Starbucks across the street, which is supposedly one their busiest locations worldwide.
The other location that is often used to show the post-modern and neon-saturated feel of Tokyo is Kabuki-cho in Shinjuku. Start walking from Don Quijote, and continue along the street to see the biggest conglomeration of neon fighting for your attention.