Tokyo Filming Locations #20 – The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

In anticipation of ‘Fast 9‘, the ninth film in the ‘Fast & the Furious‘ saga (or the tenth if you include the ‘Hobbs & Shaw‘ spin-off from last year!) I decided to re-watch them all as I really couldn’t remember much from the first four in particular. No sooner had I begun my mission and Coronavirus came along to put the release date back another year. Despite the postponement I decided to continue watching them all anyway.

The third instalment, known as ‘The Fast & the Furious: Tokyo Drift‘ (2006), was quite possibly the first film I saw in this franchise as I watched it in 2011 for the long running films ‘set’ in Japan feature on this site. It may be the one I rank the lowest but re-watching it earlier last year did renew my interest in trying to track down some of it’s fairly limited “real” Tokyo filming locations. Now it should be stressed that the majority of this movie was shot in the USA with heavy use of studio sets and CGI.

Japan is seen for the first time on 12 minutes as Sean (Lucas Black) arrives at the airport and is then in a taxi going through Scramble Crossing (below) in Shibuya.

    

Chuo-dori Avenue in Ginza (below) is then seen a split second later as the two places are blended seamlessly using movie magic.

Sean then gets out of the taxi at his dad’s apartment (below) which is on a quiet backstreet of the Azaba-juban district. The whole area has been transformed since filming took place so it’s not really recognisable at all. It is later seen in daylight on 45 and 81 minutes respectively but I left empty handed after wandering around block 10 of Mita 1-chome. 15 years is a long time so it`s no surprise that the area has changed so much.

   

When Sean wakes up on 15 minutes, this bridge view in Azabujuban 4-5-1 (below) can be briefly seen.

  

Many international productions tend to shoot a scene or two at Shibuya`s Scramble Crossing and this film is no exception as Sean makes his way to school in a way which makes no sense geographically given where he resides.

  

The garage which Sean and Bow Wow`s character are outside on 19 minutes looks to me like one of the backstreets towards the end of Center Gai but it`s America again!

The `Wadakura High School` entrance seen on 16 and 33 minutes appears to be a studio shot. Han (Sung Kang) picks Sean up here in his flash car on the second occasion.

 

The sento (bathhouse) which Sean goes in to on 34 minutes whilst Han waits outside appears to be somewhere in Kyojima according to the green sign above the latter`s shoulder in one of the screengrabs below. I went to this area last year and walked around for a bit but found nothing that remotely resembled what I saw on screen.

     

The bright pink Botan Pachinko parlour with the phone box outside it, which first appears on 36 minutes, is not a real Japan location but was just filmed at Universal Studios in California.

 

The rooftop aerial shots around the 48 minute mark are Adidas Futsal Park Shibuya.

 

That is next to Tokyu Plaza Shibuya (1-2-3 Shibuya-ku) at Hachiko Square but the buildings don`t quite match up. It`s been said that this is actually Hawthorne Plaza (12124 Hawthorne Blvd, Hawthorne) in California.

 

The overly crowded Takeshita Dori shopping street in Harajuku appears on 52 minutes.

 

It seems like those shots have been mixed with some taken at either Kabukicho in Shinjuku or Center Gai in Shibuya. What do you think?

 

Sean and Neela appear to have a date at a vending machine service station on 56 minutes. They use chopsticks to eat meat spaghetti but I have no idea where this is. My guess would be the studios back in the States but as with many of these locales, I`m not confident!

 

It’s the classic shot of Yasukuni dori in Shinjuku (below) on 69 minutes which has featured in so many movies and TV programmes over the years and I guess it’s become the classic shot (alongside Shibuya crossing) of the neon lights of Tokyo really hitting the foreigner visiting these shores. In reality though these scenes were faked.

     

It`s on to Shibuya in no time at all (70 minutes) for the finale which is blatantly CGI. The intersection is really Wilshire Boulevard between Grand Avenue and Flower Street, in the heart of Downtown LA.

 

The Metro station scene on 72 minutes was done back in the States. The guide board is very similar to real ones, and it`s difficult to make out the station names in kanji, but it does seem like it`s non-sensical and doesn`t match reality.

Despite the neon dressing, much of this movie was shot back in the U.S. and I`d guess that only the Azabu-juban and Harajuku ones are real. Please let me know in the comments if you know any better or tweet me. @tokyofox

Click here to read ‘London Filming Locations: Fast & Furious 6 (2013)’

Click here to read ‘London Filming Locations: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)’

Click here to read `TF Top 10……Films To Feature “Japan” Very Briefly!`

Click here to read ‘Review: Films Set In Japan – ‘The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift’ (2006)’

About tokyofox

A Leicester City fan teaching English in Japan
This entry was posted in Japan Filming Locations and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Tokyo Filming Locations #20 – The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

  1. Polwath says:

    The bathhouse one, I can confirmed it was a real place but since whole area was redeveloped so it not recoginzable. But Google street map in 2010 has captured this place before it was gone.

    Here: https://goo.gl/maps/94WQ5ZhZEgZAvfDV6

  2. Polwath says:

    Another spots in Japan I found the location:

    – Botan Pachinko – It was a real place before it was redeveloped. Also appeared in behind the scene video when this movie still filming (included in digital version on iTunes).
    Unfortunately, no Street map available (the oldest one is 2009 but no sign of that place anymore). Only picture I can found is on another side but the same place here (in Japanese): https://pachinkoplaylog.blogspot.com/2018/01/blog-post_9.html

    Location: https://goo.gl/maps/gumYVP1FTLSF1Czd8.

    – Wadakura High School – Also a real place as I can find from Japanese blog with google translate for help. Appeared to use already closed school to film this movie. Only few pictures I can find are here (sadly, all pictures are small and low detail from early 2000): http://alphaness.blog6.fc2.com/blog-entry-212.html, http://www.matilda.net/misc/blog.cgi/permalink/20061009104034
    It looks like this area also redeveloped long before street map can capture the area but I can pin nearby area as some building in the background appeared to be the same as in the movie.

    Location: https://goo.gl/maps/uqhC4J6J9UiPiHKz5.

  3. Polwath says:

    Another spots in Japan I found the location:

    – Botan Pachinko – It was a real place before it was redeveloped. Also appeared in behind the scene video when this movie still filming.
    Unfortunately, no Street map available here.
    Only picture I can find is on another side but the same place here (in Japanese): https://pachinkoplaylog.blogspot.com/2018/01/blog-post_9.html
    I pin nearby location on what appeared on behind the scene videos.
    Location: https://goo.gl/maps/gumYVP1FTLSF1Czd8

    – Wadakura High School – Also a real place as I can find from Japanese blogs.
    Appeared to use already closed school to film this movie.
    Only few pictures I can find are here (sadly, all pictures are small and low detail from early 2000, also in Japanese):
    http://alphaness.blog6.fc2.com/blog-entry-212.html
    http://www.matilda.net/misc/blog.cgi/permalink/20061009104034

    It looks like this area also redeveloped long before street map can capture the area but I can pin nearby area as some building in the background appeared to be the same as in the movie.

    Location: https://goo.gl/maps/uqhC4J6J9UiPiHKz5

    Note: Sorry, I repost this again as my reply was unapproved. And fix some words too. Please check.

    • tokyofox says:

      Great insight and knowledge Polwath. I`ll have to edit the post and add in the extra information you`ve provided (as well as crediting you too) when I have a bit more time. Thanks so much once again, and of course please feel free to let me know anything else of interest relating to this subject.

  4. Jared says:

    Hi!

    I live in Azabujuban and use the laundry place on block 11 of Mita 1-chome… I’ve been searching the shoot location for 6 months… Do you think they actually used this area?

  5. Jagra says:

    The vending machine place they eat at on their date is Daikokufuto, a service station/rest stop on a small island in the Yokohama bay. It’s a popular rest and meetup area for drifters (because of the loops) and other car people on weekends (although over the years there was progressively more police pressure that can shut races and meets down – the last time I went was maybe 7-8 years ago). The rest stop looks exactly like the picture, and there really are a lot of food vending machines inside – I don’t think there was anything like a lobster one though…

    By the way, you definitely need a car to get there – confused and pissed off a taxi driver the first time me and a friend went from Motomachi station, and you can’t get a taxi from the rest stop because there’s a toll to get on the highway and no one will come out, lol.

  6. Pingback: The Complete A-Z Of Filming Locations On Tokyo Fox | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.