‘Lost In Translation‘ came out not long after I came to Japan for the first time back in 2003 and though I didn’t think too much of the actual story I quite enjoyed it simply for the fact that it was filmed in what was to become my new home. I was more surprised about how many people with no affinity to Japan thought the movie was great. I guess I am just not the arty-farty type! Director Sofia Coppola used the following locations:
* The Park Hyatt Hotel (3-7-1-2 Nishi Shinjuku) features throughout the films 97 minute entirety and is where the characters Bob (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johanson) stay and the 52nd floor is the ‘New York Grill & Bar‘ where a fair few scenes were filmed including when they meet for the first time on 23 mins. This place is a great one for the lunch set menu (5000 yen) with the salad and dessert buffet spread being sufficient enough in itself! A delicious main course of grilled Australian beef or lamb is also part of the deal and the aforementioned buffet is laid out on the table where Bob and Charlotte first meet. More details here.
* Jougan-ji is a tiny temple in Nishi-Shinjuku (11 minutes 58 seconds to see the same angle as below) which Charlotte visits in the rain for a few brief moments. When I went there it wasn’t anywhere near as tranquil and spiritual as in the film where the moment was further aided by the soundtrack. More details on this place and how to get there can be seen here.
* Shibuya Crossing is the worlds busiest crossing and has appeared in a countless number of films and ‘Lost In Translation’ is no exception as it appears on screen after 18, 35 and 62 minutes.
* Air is a nightclub for Tokyo hipsters in Daikanyama (2-11 Sarugaku-cho) and is where Bob, Charlotte and some Japanese friends party amid oversized balloons with a film of fireworks projected onto them after 42 minutes. When I found this place there was nothing more than a door with a board outside detailing the club’s forthcoming events.
* Bob sings ‘More than this’ by Roxy Music at Karaoke-kan (30-8 Utagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku) and for the anoraks out there, rooms 601 and 602 are the ones which feature after 46 minutes. The Pachinko parlour which they race through is Botan in Nakameguro.
* Rainbow Bridge can be seen after 50 minutes on what is supposedly the taxi ride home from the karaoke session but makes no sense geographically as in reality their hotel in Shinjuku is quite near to the karaoke box in Shibuya.
* Ichikan (9-5 Daikanyama-cho, Shibuya-ku) is a small and hard-to-find sushi restaurant that’s seen on 56 minutes and the chef in the film actually does work there. This is no cheap kaiten-zushi (conveyor-belt sushi) restaurant but is actually of high cost. With the cheapest course being 6000 yen (£45) I decided to not bother going in which was a shame but there is a limit to my research on a film which I’m not that bothered about!!
* A.P.C. Underground clothing store (4-27-6-B1 Jingu-mae) in Harajuku is where the strip club scene (61 minutes) was filmed. By day, it’s one of those so-called fashionable stores where the designer trainers, t-shirts and so on are minimal (I’m talking only three t-shirts on one rail!) and given a lot of space and this is the only part of the film that was ‘faked’ as all the other locations played true in the movie.
* Chion-in, Nanzen-ji temple and Heian-jingu shrine are the three places Charlotte visits on her little trip to Kyoto. The former was the same place which featured in ‘The Last Samurai‘ which was also released in the same year. 72 minutes of the film have passed when she walks over the stepping stones (below) in Heian-jingu garden (600 yen entry).
Moments later she’s walking across the impressive shrines grounds at Heian-jingu below.
* Shabuzen is a shabu-shabu restaurant under the Creston Hotel (Kamiya-cho 10-8, Shibuya) and is where Bob and Charlotte are shocked by the idea that they actually had to cook the meat themselves which to be honest is still not something I like as when I go out to eat I don’t want to have to cook.
Japanese homes are so small that entertaining guests is not so possible so they like to go out and cook the thin slices of beef and vegetables themselves. My friend Michael went for the shabu-shabu deal while I had a late change of heart and plumped for the unagi-don (grilled eel in a sweet sauce on a bed of rice in a bowl) set instead which was OK but probably not worth the extra cost which I had to pay for the privelege for eating in surroundings far more sophisticated than I am used to. It appears on screen after 81 mins.
Read my ‘Lost In Translation‘ review here
For other Japan filming locations click on the links below:
You Only Live Twice Kill Bill Babel Godzilla Walk Don’t Run Into The Sun Monster Wasabi The Grudge Ju:On The Grudge The Ramen Girl The Toxic Avenger Pt II The Wolverine Memoirs Of A Geisha The Last Samurai House Of Bamboo Ponyo