Tokyo Filming Locations #19 – Tokyo Pop (1988)

When director Fran Rubel Kuzui made ‘Tokyo Pop’ (1988) it was very much the height of the bubble era for the economy in Japan. It is a delightfully fluffy kitsch piece of ’80s nostalgia with a certain simple charm. Production took place at multiple locations around the capital city naturally beginning (on screen!) at Narita Airport as Wendy (Carrie Hamilton) arrives in Japan from New York.

There is the obligatory scene from Yasukuni Dori in Shinjuku as Wendy tries to get a taxi back to the Mickey House Hostel in Kami-Itabashi which has long gone. Having met Hiro (Yutaka Tadokoro a.k.a. Diamond Yukai) and his bandmates at an outdoor ramen stall, they end up in a love hotel but don’t actually sleep together.

N.B. The time codes given are approximate. 

The following morning starts (27 minutes in) with Kappabashi’s landmark; the large statue of a moustached, chef hat-wearing man on top of the Niimi Western Tableware Shop (1-1-1 Matsugaya, Taito-ku) between Ueno and Asakusa.


The scenes in Yoyogi Park on the half hour mark really are of their time as there’s a flea market, punk dancers, cosplayers and live musicians. Sure, such things can still be seen today but Continue reading

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Tokyo Daytripper: Top 10 Ibaraki Sights

After the three surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama, the next closest one to Tokyo is Ibaraki and at just 45 minutes away by train from Tokyo, it’s main city Tsukuba is actually much closer than many people think. This list contains both famous and some alternative “sights” you may not have heard of. The prefecture possesses a few of Japan’s biggest things. Here, in no particular order, are the TF Top 10……Ibaraki sights.

1. Ushiku Daibutsu – The world’s third tallest statue has no religious or historical meaning but was simply built to be in the Guinness Book of Records. It’s an impressive sight at 120 metres tall (including its 10 metre base). More details here

2. Hitachi Seaside Park – Splendid hillside of Continue reading

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Is That Another Castle In Chiba? All Is Not Quite What It Seems!

Whilst travelling through Chiba a few months ago on the Tsukuba Line I was looking at my maps app and checking out what places were nearby and by some miraculous chance I came across what looked like a picturesque castle. To have stumbled upon it was quite unlikely given how difficult it’s since been to locate it again, including for this post!

The only castle I’ve been to in Chiba (not including Cinderella’s Castle at Tokyo Disneyland which is actually located in Chiba Prefecture!) is Continue reading

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Interesting Japanese Playground Structures #25

Many of the parks and children’s playgrounds in Japan, particularly in Tokyo, are quite poor compared to other countries in terms of space, surroundings and a lack of grass. However, a handful of them do tend to possess extremely creative structures and they will be explored in this series.

Nickname: Dinosaur Slide

Location: 21-21 Continue reading

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The Lion, The Bridge & The Watergate – A Cycle Ride Up Into Saitama Prefecture

“What the hell was that?!” were my thoughts as the my train speeded its way up into Saitama last year as I went to watch Urawa Reds Ladies play a home game one Sunday. There was a giant statue of something that caught my eye very briefly before becoming lost amongst all the grey, concrete buildings. Earlier this year I noticed it again and made sure to make a note (using my maps) of where it was on my return journey.

It turned out that the statue was a Continue reading

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TF Top 10……Fox Shrines In Japan (On The Fox Trail Special)


The surprisingly successful ‘On The Fox Trail…’ series is pretty much on it’s last legs. Sad times indeed but there’s still a few more places I want to check out. However, they’re mostly in Kyushu so with travel restrictions at the moment it might be a while until that trip is realised. Luckily, there’s always time for a compilation post or two so here are the best fox-related shrines in Japan that I’ve been to thus far…

10. Anamori Inari Shrine @ Haneda, Continue reading

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Tokyo Modern Architecture #6

For all its good points, Tokyo ain’t half one ugly looking city with buildings pretty much erected (and pulled down) willy nilly without any thought to the environment around it. However, amid all the chaos of such a concrete jungle there are a fair few examples of modern architecture which I am ever keen to photograph. Now, I am certainly no expert on such a topic but have enjoyed going around capturing the interesting and weird designs of some of these buildings.

That’s the generic opener out of the way and it should be noted that all these photographs were taken over five years ago so who knows if these buildings are even around!! 50+ examples have already been covered in this series and here, in no particular order, is the next volume of interesting looking Japanese buildings including the addresses:

1. Cartier, 5-3-2 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku.

2. Prada Aoyama Building, Continue reading

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