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Filming in Japan

Coronavirus Update: The Japan Film Commission has published guidelines and a checklist for working under COVID-19 which states that productions requesting support from one of Japan's many regional film commissions are required to submit the completed checklist

With a history and style that is entirely its own, Japan is one of the most unique countries in the world. Tokyo alone should be enough of a reason to visit but talented local crew and a film-friendly atmosphere will keep you coming back. Never underestimate the allure of Japan to an international audience.

While it’s true that as a filmmaking hub, Japan isn’t the most affordable option when compared to some Asian countries, if you have the right budget at hand, there are so many ways that you can use the Land of the Rising Sun to your advantage.

There are a great variety of urban and rural locations, from ancient temples to modernist glass towers. For a science fiction script, Tokyo needs little dressing to convey an other-worldly atmosphere. Some of the biggest blockbusters of recent years including Avengers: Endgame have chosen to shoot there.

Rural Japan would also suit a range of shoots as well as nature and cultural documentaries. Recently, US Karate Kid sequel Cobra Kai shot in Okinawa, a subtropical island region with over a 150 islands surrounded by crystal blue sea.

The buzz of Japan's major cities, especially Tokyo, is hard to recreate on a set. The 2019 BBC/Netflix series Giri/Haji (Duty/Shame) from Sister Pictures spent eight weeks shooting on location in Japan. Looking for authentic settings, rather than postcard locations, shooting took place in locations such as the Nemoto Shipyard on the outskirts of Tokyo and Ueno Sky Bridge in the country.

Using a trusted production service company can help filmmakers gain access to locations and navigate the cultural protocols that come with on location filming. And the regional film offices across the country are always on hand to assist incoming productions.


checklist

We were told that we had to avoid Yakuza controlled areas for the shoot as getting permits would be much harder. Originally the script featured the Harajuku district proper, but because it fell under a Yakuza-controlled area we had to move the shoot location to Shinjuku instead.”

Michelle Fung, Producer

Climate

Japan’s island climate is influenced by both the sea and the mainland. The climate is generally temperate and divided into four seasons. The exceptions are the colder northerly island of Hokkaido and the subtropical Okinawa region where temperatures during during the mild winter rarely falls below 15C.

The hottest months - June, July and August - are also very humid. It gets particularly hot in the south. Winters in the south are sunny and mild. It is much colder in the north and snow is common.

 

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