‘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.
* Nanzen-ji temple and Heian-jingu shrine are the two places Charlotte visits on her little trip to Kyoto. 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
Great:) I will visit some of those locations too:)
Your photo shows the Karaoke Kan at Dogenzaka 2-25 next to Citibank on Tokyu Honten dori. There is another one just a block or two away in Udagawacho, which most sources on the internet pinpoint as the location. Based on the building that you see through the booth window it is the Udagawacho location, so you go the right address but wrong photo.
thanks for letting me know. I was never totally sure about this but a few resources said it was karaoke-kan in shibuya and to be honest when I did these shots a few years ago I didn’t really pay exact attention to the address. I will correct it this week when I’m in Shibuya. thanks again for the feedback. Much appreciated
Thanks again FLR for notifying me of my mistake re karaoke kan. that has now been rectified
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It’s really interesting, great job, in my next visit to Japan i will include it in my list a of places to visit.
Running theme of standing outside the cool places but not going in..
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where is the Rainbow Bridge?
it connects the mainland of Tokyo to Odaiba
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Hello, great little write-up. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Tokyo with work a few times recently and immediately loved the city. I only got around to watching Lost In Translation at the weekend and although I recognised many of the locations, this post has been very helpful. What I did want to ask is do you know where the last scene in the film is set? To me it looks like the are to the west of Shinjuku station where all of the electronic retailers are, but I can’t be too sure. Could you please clarify for me.
Hi there! Thanks for your comment. I can remember looking at that scene and thinking the same actually but have never really looked into it. Will check the dvd again later
First thank you for your work that helped me a lot when I tried myself to find the locations of that movie during my last Japanese trip ! So because you (and other blogs) helped me, maybe I can return the favor with the location of the final scene… http://parisavantapres.blogspot.com/2016/08/sur-les-traces-de-lost-in-translation.html
Fantastic stuff Patrick. Love it! Maybe I need to update some of my locations now having seen you go far more into detail than I ever did. Nice one
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thanks a lot for a great job! we ve been visiting some of the locations you posted but we are missing the one with the zebra pattern walls after the karaoke scenes. min 46 of the movie.
any clues on how to get there?
thank u again!
I just assumed that was in the hallway outside the karaoke rooms! Was filmed a long time ago though mind so maybe the place has been refurbished a few times since then!!
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I was living in Japan at the time the movie came out and I didn’t get it at the time. My mistake was thinking the movie had anything to do with Tokyo and for me, seeing Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) be bored in Tokyo seemed so stupid to me. But, I watched it again 15 years later and totally got it. It’s got nothing to do with Tokyo and everything to do with 2 people feeling completely lost in their lives. Maybe because I’m lost too I finally got it. Neither of them have any idea what to do any more. Their lives seem meaningless to themselves. Charlotte has been married just 2 years but she’s already disillusioned in her marriage. She calls her mom very early in the movie crying because she’s in Tokyo, seeing new things, knowing it should be excited but feeling nothing. And further, her husband is seeming like a different person than the person she thought she married. Her mom doesn’t listen and doesn’t have time for her (same as my mom haha). Bob Harris (Murray) is similarly lost. He wants to do some acting project he’s passionate about but instead his manager has him making commercials in Japan. His relationship with his wife is clearly not going well (listen to their conversation on the phone about a hour in) and so he’s lost too realising his marriage is basically over and they’re just two people who happen to be living together. If you ever get in to a point in your life where you’re feeling lost, watch it again and I think you might find it far more relatable than the first time you saw it.
Some great points Gregg and I kind of agree with everything you said! Can’t remember what I said in my posts about this film but maybe more negative than I really think! I know many people can relate to it well and I know I can at times but I do think it is a bit overrated. Thanks so much for your fantastic comment. Maybe the longest comment anyone has ever posted on here so thank you for that
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Great blog and thank you for the great information but can you give me the location of the last scene of lost in translation