Tokyo Filming Locations #4 – Babel (2006)

This tale of three stories on three different continents intertwining with one another features Mexico, Morocco and Japan though it’s not till 19 minutes in that the latter features. It’s then that we see Chieko Wataya (Rinko Kikuchi) playing volleyball (below) on court in a school match. That was filmed at Ishioka City Centre Gymnasium 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! For your information, the address is 3-34-1 Minamidai Ishiokashi, Ibaragi-ken 315-0035.

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Perhaps the main Japan location used in ‘Babel‘ was J-Pop Cafe (22 minutes) 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 it’s 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.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 12.51.24  Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 12.52.02  babeljpop  IMG_4395

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

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Next, there’s an aerial shot of Kachidoki Bridge (below) which was ripped up and spat out by Godzilla in the 1954 original.

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Moments after that, Chieko is interviewed by two police officers in the lobby within the apartment block where she lives with her father, Yasujiro Wataya (Kōji Hashimoto a.k.a. Nobu from ‘Memoirs Of A Geisha‘) in Tsukuda. This sleepy little area is situated on reclaimed land, was formerly a small fisherman’s village over 300 years ago and today it lives very much in the shadows of its close neighbours Tsukiji and Tsukishima. The name of the building is The Crest Tower (below) and its address is 2-11-6 Tsukuda. It first appears on screen after 44 minutes and then again at the end of the film on 123 minutes.

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Many, many thanks to Tim and David in the comments section for their help with pinpointing the exact location of this place. It should be noted that this tower block (below) is private property so behave with respect and discretion. I asked the staff in the lobby about the film but they really had no idea about it. They did of course know who Rinko Kikuchi was though!

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The typical classic shot of Yasukuni dori in Shinjuku (below) is briefly seen on 62 minutes. It has featured in so many movies and TV programmes over the years such as ‘The Wolverine‘ (2013), ‘Godzilla‘ (2014), ‘Into The Sun‘ (2005) and many more. Why it’s shown I don’t really know as what follows is nowhere near this area!

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There is fairly lengthy scene filmed in a park 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 and walk through the tunnel entrance seen below. In this park the girls meet the boys and the film-makers make the place seem way more interesting than it ever was.

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

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They end up in ‘Womb’ nightclub (below) on 67 minutes 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.

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For other Japan filming locations click on the links below:

You Only Live Twice    Lost In Translation    Kill Bill    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

About tokyofox

A Leicester City fan teaching English in Japan
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23 Responses to Tokyo Filming Locations #4 – Babel (2006)

  1. Arnouba says:

    Great work, would you happen to know where Chieko’s flat was located? Thanks in advance!

    • tokyofox says:

      Hi there Arnouba. Thanks. I think it was in Ibaraki prefecture but could never find anything more than that so thought it best to leave it out. Sorry I can’t be of any real help!

    • David says:

      Few years back I too was searching for the location of the tokyo appartment! The location Tim points to is correct although google maps has several dated versions of the location. Infront of the building in question there was a rather large parking space which was visible in the movie when the japanese police officer looked over the balcony.

      Here is the google earth view of the building in question :

      The following picture is the google earth view where you can see some remnants of the old parking space. The little picture in picture is from the actual movie :

      This last picture is from another angle with the arrow pointing to the top corner appartment where the film sequence was shot :

      • tokyofox says:

        Great stuff David. Really need to pull my finger out and get on over to that area to see this place. Just need to find the time! Thanks for all your efforts. Much appreciated

  2. Tim says:

    Arnouba: I think this is the closest I could get on the search for the exact same question. It seems to be on Tsukishima, Tsukuda 2 with a view over Sumida River.

    • tokyofox says:

      Awesome stuff mate!

      • Hello ! Great work as usual. And following your footsteps I’m puting now my interest into that movie. For information the J-Pop Cafe seems to have closed his doors forever in march this year ! So it seems that no one will be able to go there anymore 😦
        Right now I’m a little bit confused about the “park” where the kids took drugs. You mentioned Nishi-Azabu as a location (near Roppongi) but nothing seems to match on the streetview. Imdb mentioned Azabu-Juban, which seems possible. Which one is correct ?

      • tokyofox says:

        Sadly that park was bulldozed many many years ago. I got in there just in time!
        Didn’t know J-Pop cafe had closed. Thanks for the info. I’m sure it was nishi-azabu but easy to mistake the two I guess

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  15. Ahmad Gul says:

    Hi, Great work !! I’m wondering whether the “park” with the fountains in nishi azabu is closed now or they turn on the fountains at a certain time of the year ? thanks for any information you have !

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