When I first compiled the filming locations for ‘Lost In Translation‘ (2003) four years ago (and subsequently updated them in 2011) there was already much written about the Park Hyatt Hotel, Shibuya crossing and the karaoke room which Bob (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johanson) sang in. However, some of the other locations were pretty limited in detail such as the shabu shabu and sushi restaurants as well as the strip club scene place, the nightclub and the temple where Charlotte is seen walking around in the rain.
Jougan-ji is that very temple but as its not famous there’s still very little about it on the internet. It is actually quite a difficult place to find as its located on a highway (route 317) just inside Nakano-ku bordering Shinjuku-ku. The temple gets a massive 38 seconds of screen time!
The two screenshot match-ups above were taken four years apart and whilst my jacket is still the same old one there is a bit more hair on top now! As for the two match-upsbelow they were taken at the main hall which I’m sure you can enter but I tend not to go in such places as I don’t like to interfere with religion in any way!
So thats the movie locations out of the way and now for the rest of the temple which is quite an interesting little place. The actual address is Honcho 2-26, Nakano-ku and the closest station is Nakano-Sakaue on the Marunouchi and Oedo lines. It’s a seven minute walk from there and once you pass a fairly big 100 yen shop you’re nearly there. It’s on the right hand-side if you’re coming from that station. The photos below show what its like from the outside coming from the other side.
Once you’ve gone through the white arch there’s a big open area for parking and all around, the place is dotted with little statues and temple buildings. You can get a free pamphlet about the beginnings of Jougan-ji at the main temple and it even includes a whole page in perfect English featuring an interesting story from over 600 years ago.
A cemetry can be found behind the view below left which we first see in ‘Lost In Translation‘ after 11:58 minutes. Overall, its a nice place but not quite as tranquil and spiritual as in the film where the moment was further aided by the ‘Air‘ soundtrack.
You can see the complete ‘Lost In Translation’ filming locations here.