11 Filming Location Trips For 2011

2011 has been quite a productive year for hunting down filming locations in the likes of The USA, Jordan, Germany, England, Belgium, Turkey, Czech Republic and Japan. Click on the links below to see more.

1. Back To The Future (Click here)

2. The Bourne Supremacy (Click here)

3. Lolo Rennt (Run Lola Run) (Click here)

4. Star Wars (Click here and here)

5. Memoirs Of A Geisha (Click here)

6. In Bruges (Click here)

7. Terminator (Click here)

8. The Last Samurai (Click here)

9. James Bond (Click herehereherehere and here)

10. The Karate Kid (Click here)

11. Indiana Jones (Click here)

Other 2011 locations for the films listed below can be found here

TF Film Review: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

I went to see this fourth installment in the film franchise the other night as it’s a rarity in that it was actually released in Japan before The UK. It comes out in the The UK on Boxing Day but usually these films are released in Japan months after the rest of the western world. Of course I also wanted to see it as I’m a fan of the movies.

One local reviewer here reckons that the action isn’t quite up to that of the recent Bond and Bourne films and though I’m a huge fan of those movies I disagree with that train of thought as Ghost Protocol was full of action that made my palms very sweaty. It’s no secret that it was filmed in part in Dubai and the worlds tallest building features in an enthralling scene followed by one of the films more comical moments thanks to Simon Pegg’s portrayal of the bumbling English computer nerd who has a far more important role in this movie than one was expecting.

Other locations include Budapest, Mumbai and Russia where someone blows up the Kremlin and frames the IMF thereby activating the Ghost Protocol and leaving it up to Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his three buddies to save the day without any support.


One of my main gripes with the previous trilogy of MI movies was the over-use and over-reliance on the use of latex face masks and I’m glad to report that this cop-out way of telling a story is kept to a minimum. Running in at over two hours I was gripped by this flick throughout which is a rarity for a guy like me who has poor concentration.

You can see the Mission Impossible filming locations here

Tokyo Filming Locations: Pt X- The Grudge

This American re-make of ‘Ju-On’ begins at Yanagibashi bridge (1 min) where the Kanda river runs into the much bigger Sumida-gawa river. Peter is on the 6th floor of his apartment at 1-2-2 Yanagibashi (below) with his wife/partner in bed when he looks at her fairly normally and then just purposely falls over his balcony plummeting to his death below. When I did my Kanda River bicycle ride back in April little did I know that the starting point was also where ‘The Grudge’ was filmed. It can be seen again on 65 mins when Karen (Sarah Michelle-Gellar) visits the suicide scene. I was standing on the wall next to the river taking a timed photo (below left) with my tripod (whilst holding it aloft to get the highest position possible) when a guy came out and asked if I wanted to go on his rooftop to get a shot. I thought I was in luck big time as his apartment was next to the actual one used in the film but sadly it was too far back to capture the angle I wanted.



Re-creating the lower left screenshot was one of the most nerdy things I’ve done in the name of filming locations and boy was it a long wait to capture the shot seen below left as this area is full of businessmen taking cigarette breaks from their nearby offices. Thankfully the first photo I took with me lying down was satisfactory enough.


The road supposedly leading to “The Grudge” house (built on a sound-stage at Toho Studios) is just outside Minami Shinjuku station on the Keio Line and the address of the fruit and vegetable shop, with a sign inside saying ‘Home Restaurant’, is 1-15-9 Yoyogi. At the start of the film we see Yoko cycling to the house (3 mins) down this street (below left) and a few scenes later (13 mins) Karen walks that way and stops a mother and young daughter (of whom the latter is scared of the foreigner!) to ask for directions. In reality theres pretty much nothing of interest at the top of the street (lower right) which they go up.


Also, in Yoyogi is the cemetry (below right) which Karen shows Doug on their way to University 10 mins into the film. This is located at 3-27-5 Yoyogi and still looks almost identical apart from the brick wall in the film which they peer over has been replaced with a metal one which is roped off for some reason. Before that Shinjuku (below left) and Nishi-Shinjuku 1-19-10 feature briefly as Karen and Doug cross the road and do a bit of walking as a few places are cut together to make it seem as they are all very close.



The photo above right is of the inside of the cemetry which features along with the big white building in the background as Karen and Doug peer over the fence (above left). Moments later the “University of Tokyo” appears (11 mins) but it is actually a medical school which can be found at 1-12-1 Takaido-nishi in Suginami. It was quite nice going here during one of my breaks as there was hardly anyone around which makes it a lot less embarrassing setting up a tripod to take a photo of oneself.


Fungo Dining is a restaurant in Nishi Shinjuku (below) which appears after 57 mins and is where Karen’s boyfriend Doug works part-time. Karen turns up there feeling scared and Doug asks his boss if he can leave earlier to be with her to which he agrees. Not sure if that would really happen though in such a work-obsessed country!


Many thanks to Takako & Rina who, despite never having seen the film, spent their own (work?) time searching for these locations on the net in the kind of Japanese which is way beyond my level.

Tokyo Filming Locations: Pt IX – Wasabi

Jean Reno of Mission Impossible fame is the French cop who goes to Tokyo in this 2001 French film directed by Luc Besson. Entering Japan at Narita Airport terminal 2 (18 mins) Reno’s character Hubert arrives in the electric town known as Akihabara after 23 mins (below left) when he gets out of a taxi on the main street and walks down one of the little side streets to the office where he has a meeting with the lawyer who reads out his ex girlfriends will and informs him that he has a daughter. Takashimaya department store (below right) at 2-4-1 Nihonbashi is where Hubert takes his annoying daughter (Ryoko Hirosue) on a shopping spree with some yakuza baddies trailing them which leads to some amusing (?) scenes of Hubert discretely fending them off whilst she is oblivious to it all.


Next up is the Imperial Hotel at 1-1-1 Chiyoda (below) which appears on 47 mins and is where Hubert books into ‘pretending’ that the young under-age Japanese girl is his daughter with the irony being that she actually is not that she knows it.


Fujisawa Golf Club in Kanagawa prefecture (66 mins) plays part to the driving range scene which sees Hubert do a trick shot that would make Tiger Woods proud which he calls “a hole in two” whereby he takes out two guys with an outrageous cartoon-like shot.

The film gets its title from a scene (72 mins) where Hubert eats a load of the green-coloured horse-radish mustard stuff without as much as a flinch. Its not just Tokyo which features though as moments later he takes the shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto where we see him on JR Kyoto station platform and soon after he and former intelligence colleague Momo are at Kiyomizudera temple (below) where they go and investigate Miko’s death.


Among the wooden placades is a special one which he finds quite quickly and inside it is a letter from the late mother of their child which he reads as he walks through the temple grounds to the main viewing platform (below) which offers spectacular views of the place although it wasn’t so good for us photographers when I was there as the sun was shining too brightly to capture it well.


Back in Tokyo, Wako department store (below left) at 4-5-11 Ginza in Chuo-ku (also seen in ‘Godzilla‘) pops up on screen after 76 mins. I’m reliably told that Harumi Passenger Ship Terminal (below right) was used as a location though I’m not too sure which scenes were filmed there. This is situated across Kachidoki Bridge coming from Tsukiji and if I was to guess I’d say that some of the interior airport shots such as the immigration and bag search scenes were captured there.


Tokyo Filming Locations: Pt XIII – Monster

Slagging off this film in my review nine months ago still didn’t stop me from hunting down some of the shots which appeared in perhaps the worst movie I’ve ever seen! Most of them were shown in a flash inbetween the cleavage shots of the girls but as a man who works in Shibuya twice a week it was quite easy to recognise the briefest glimpses of Tokyo scenery. On their arrival in Japan we see the girls walking down Centre Gai on 6 mins past Tenkappin Restaurant (below left) and if you turn right just a bit further down you see the view seen below right.


The girls film a short piece to camera at the place seen above left which is situated at Shibuya crossing just before Centre Gai street. Every three minutes this world famous crossing descends into chaos as hundreds and hundreds of people cross in all directions and has been seen in a countless number of films. This one is no exception as the shot above right is seen. The green train below left and the famous Hachiko dog statue below right are within spitting distance of each other outside Shibuya station and both these angled shots can be seen in the blink of an eye.


The girls go to the Ministry of Environment (below left) at Kasumigaseki 1-2-2 in Chiyoda-ku for a meeting with some guy about global warming when there’s a big shake which they at first think is an earthquake but later discover is a monster which gives the film its cr*p title. Despite this very little, if anything at all is seen of the deadly monster. They try to make their way to the supposed safety of the American Embassy (below right) though I’m not sure if it actually appears on screen due to the “recovered tape” style filming of the film which was damaged in part by the mysterious monster and these annoying “effects” are used far too often to cover up the many loop-holes.


The wooden torii gate at the entrance to Meiji Shrine (below) outside Harajuku station is seen on 37 mins even though the caption prior to it says that its Shinjuku-gyoen Gardens. Even though its supposed to be January the two American girls are wearing just vests as they walk along the path in fear of the monster whilst Japanese people in the background are just going about their own business oblivious to the fact that theres a monster on the loose. Truly an awful film and I’m mildly embarrassed to have even featured these locations on here. Almost worth watching though to see how bad it is!


Tokyo Filming Locations: Pt VII – Into The Sun

Steven Seagal delivers what he’s best at (?) in this 2005 film and by that I can only mean that he plays the one-man killing machine as he takes on Japanese yakuza. Japan Sword shop at 3-8-1 Toranomon (below) is the first location to feature on 11 mins and it is seen again after 24 and 37 mins. I’m not certain but I don’t think the Chinatown seen on 15 mins is the one in Yokohama or just one from some place in the USA.


Fusion nightclub (below left) can be seen on 23 & 69 mins but it isn’t actually a club for it is a restaurant at 13-7-8 Roppongi in Minato-ku. No doubting that its the one and only Tsukiji Fish Market (below right) which appears after 25, 51 and 71 mins.



The beautiful Hamarikyu Gardens (below) are within a stones throw of the fish market and play host to Seagal’s proposal to Nayako. Thats around the 41 min mark and isn’t exactly a moving scene as he speaks English and she speaks Japanese as happens throughout the movie when they appear on screen together. The gardens are shown once more in the films final moments (91 mins) with a reflective Seagal cutting a lonesome figure on one of the places bridges.


The young rookie FBI Agent Sean escapes from the grasp of the bad guys at Tsukiji Fish Market via taxi and then suddenly (55 mins) he’s being driven down Yasukuni Dori (below) whilst he talks on the phone to his mentor.



66 mins are on the clock when Zojoji temple (below left) in the foreground of Tokyo Tower makes its big screen (well, bargain bin dvd!) debut. There’s some meeting between the baddies though god knows why they chose to meet at such a public place!


On the other side of Tokyo Tower down a little side street (above right) is where Seagal’s fiance Nayako is brutally murdered after 71 mins having just left Fusion. Rainbow Bridge makes its usual appearance in any western film set in Japan shortly after that.

Tokyo Filming Locations: Pt VI – Walk Don’t Run

This film proved to be Cary Grant’s swansong and it was mostly set in and around Toranomon during the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. On his arrival in the Japanese capital on business he turns up at Hotel Okura (below) in the first minute which is located at 2-10-4 Toranomon. He is unable to get a room there so goes to the British Embassy at 1 Ichibancho in Chiyoda-ku which lies to the west of the Imperial Palace. It is here where he sees an advert for an apartment which he soon fast-talks his way into sharing with Samantha Eggar.


The first shot we see is of the impressive embassy building itself (above left) followed by a close up of the sign (above right) which I tried to replicate but its not so visible unlike my hand and camera which can be seen in the reflection!


A lot of the action takes place on the streets of Toranomon which all looks very different these days but thats not so surprising as it has been over 40 years since it was made! The embassy and hotel are the two main locations although Asakusa senso-ji temple (below left) does appear in the opening montage after just 12 seconds. The address for this bustling tourist attraction is 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku.


The three main stars take a boat to Mikawa, an old province of Japan, 11 minutes into the film where they visit a garden three minutes later. The next Tokyo location to appear on screen is not till the 91st minute when Yoyogi National Gymnasium (above right) is where the Olympic walking race begins and ends. Rather embarassingly it took me quite a while before I realised that its this event which gives the film its title!

Tokyo Filming Locations: Pt V – Godzilla

Godzilla is a legendary Japanese monster and as much as I like the icon I have to say that the actual films are not up to scratch…….but still the franchise limps on! Odo Island, where the radioactive creature first appears is completely fictitious but all the Tokyo places are real, well kind of! They were actually filmed at Toho Studios with miniature sets being used to replicate the capital whilst a man wore a rubber suit and stomped all over the three metre high set-pieces. Godzilla comes out of the water at Tokyo Bay and promptly destroys Shinagawa station (below left) on 43 mins before torching Matsuzakaya Department store at 6-10-1 Ginza (below right) after 59 mins.


After 59 mins he rips the clock from the Wako Department store (below left) at 4-5-11 Ginza and the National Diet Building (below right and lower left) at 1-7-1 Nagata-cho doesn’t fare much better three minutes later! Both featured in my original Tokyo Godzilla locations post a couple of years ago and in between those two places he crosses Sukiya Bridge (60 mins) before the New Marion Building (lower right) at 2-5-1 Yurakucho in Chiyoda-ku is smashed up on 61 mins.


The monster lizard finally destroys Kachidoki Bridge (63 mins) which stretches across Sumidagawa River and he then returns to the ocean and his 15 minutes of terror are over.


There is a tiny statue of Godzilla (above) at 1-2-2 Yurakucho in Ginza which I must have visited many times as it often becomes part of my cycling tours of Tokyo. I say tiny statue but its not as if it was ever gonna be a full-size one!! However, much further afield in Seijogakuenmae there is a much bigger statue on display outside Toho Studios at Seijo 1, 157-8561.


Tokyo Filming Locations: Pt IV – Babel

The first ‘Babel‘ scenes in Japan don’t start till 19 mins have passed and its then that we see Chieko (Rinko Kikuchi) playing volleyball on court in a school match. That was filmed at Ishioka City Centre Gymnasium (3-34-1 Minamidai Ishiokashi, Ibaragi-ken 315-0035) which is all the way up in Fukishima prefecture and as much as I enjoy hunting down these shooting locations there is no way I am going that far just for a photo!

Perhaps the main Japan location used in ‘Babel‘ was J-Pop Cafe (22 mins) in Shibuya at 31-2 Udagawacho on the seventh floor. I still haven’t been properly inside the place as I don’t want to pay so much money on an entrance fee. I’m not so sure but it seems from poking my head into the place that its not such a schoolkid hangout as portrayed in the film but is instead a bit more sophisticated. It appeared that way but what the hell do I really know when I only saw a bit of the place which is actually divided into three areas.


Tsuchiya Dental Surgery (below) is close to exit 1 of Kojimachi station and is where the confused schoolgirl has a dental appointment (43 mins) and even tries to kiss the dentist as he leans over her doing his job. This can be found at 1-4-12 Chiyoda-Ku.


There is fairly lengthy scene filmed in a park (62 mins) where Chieko and her deaf mates meet some guys and splash around having fun in the water fountains. That park is sadly no more not that it ever was what I call a park; not a blade of grass and just a small concrete area located beneath an overpass in Nishi-Azabu. The girls cross the road (lower left) and walk through the tunnel entrance seen below left and over my left shoulder in the photo below right. The tunnel can also be seen over the same shoulder of the actor talking to Chieko in the screenshot below right. In this park the girls meet the boys and the film-makers make the place seem way more interesting than it ever was.


Following the park they take a train to Shibuya and on 66 mins we see the inevitable appearance of the chaotic Shibuya Crossing (below) and Center Gai which stems off from it.


They end up in ‘Womb’ nightclub (below) on 67 mins which is situated in Shibuya in the middle of the love hotel area. The address is Maruyamacho 2-16 and its here that Chieko and friends dance to ‘September’ by Earth, Wind & Fire albeit the Shinichi Osawa remix.