Kyoto Filming Locations – The Challenge (1982)

In my review of this film last year I said that the grounds of the Shokoku-ji buddhist temple in Northern Kyoto were used throughout and that they have supposedly remained unchanged since it was founded in 1382. That may be so but sadly the part that was used in the film is the one branch (there are a few dotted around the area) that is pretty much closed and only open once or twice a year for special events.

This movie, first released as a TV movie called ‘The Sword of the Ninja‘, was shot entirely in Kyoto with principle shooting taking place at the aforementioned Shokoku-ji Temple which is just across from one of the exits of Imadegawa Station on the Subway Karasuma Line, just north of Kyoto Station. The entrance (below) is about the only part I could really capture as it’s seen on film.


It is located besides a branch of Continue reading

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The Alternative Tour Of Kyoto


An article recently appeared in The Japan Times saying that Kyoto was really feeling the burden of increased tourism in recent years with locals complaining that they can’t even board buses when they need to as they’re packed full of tourists. That was certainly true on the bus to Arashiyama (where thousands and thousands of people visit the bamboo forest) but not the case for the rest of the places I visited in Kyoto which I had pretty much to myself. The fact that I was in Kyoto by Continue reading

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Otagi Nenbutsu Temple And The Bamboo Forest In Arashiyama


In recent years the bamboo forest in Arashiyama has grown and grown in popularity among foreign visitors and even ranked as their number one Continue reading

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Kyoto Filming Locations: The Yakuza (1974)

Most people know that ‘Memoirs Of A Geisha‘ (2005) and ‘The Last Samurai‘ (2003) were filmed in Kyoto. It was briefly in ‘Lost In Translation‘ (2003) and also featured in the likes of ‘Wasabi‘ (2000), ‘The Challenge‘ (1982), ‘Mastermind‘ (1976) and ‘Fear And Trembling‘ (2003) but one of the first internationally-produced movies to be filmed in Kyoto was ‘The Yakuza‘ (1974).

This film starred Robert Mitchum and Ken Takakura, who later went on to appear in ‘Black Rain‘ (1988) and ‘Mr Baseball‘ (1992) as well as countless Japanese films. ‘The Yakuza‘ was directed by Sidney Pollack, and written by Paul Schrader of ‘Taxi Driver‘ (1976) fame. As mentioned in the Tokyo Fox review of the film, the Kyoto International Conference Center on Lake Takaraga-ike was the most notable of all the locations and it’s front exterior (below) is first seen 43 minutes in.


This futuristic-looking building was designed by architect Sachio Otani and it is where the Kyoto Protocol was signed. To get there, Continue reading

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Black Ice Cream, Modern Architecture, Neon Lights & The Red Light District!

When it comes to sights in Osaka, many people really struggle to come up with anything much beyond Osaka-jo Castle, Universal Studios Japan (USJ) and Dōtonbori shopping street but there are of course many, many things to see and do. As has become customary in recent times, Tokyo Fox has compiled a few lesser known “sights” which are worthy of more attention.


Thanks to Facebook targeting me with adverts for Red Duck Post videos, I became aware of Happy Labo (11am – 7pm) which specialises in frozen popcorn (that results in smoke coming out of your mouth!) and black ice cream. It is located at Continue reading

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The Station Platform In Osaka With A Tree Growing Through It

The previous post on Tokyo Fox was about a road going through a building and by pure chance it’s quite a unique situation in the east of Osaka city whereby a large camphor tree is growing in the middle of a train station platform!


Just ten minutes away (by semi-express train on the Keihan Main Line) from Kyobashi station in central Osaka is  Continue reading

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The Building In Osaka With A Road Going Through It

Once I was done at Bentencho Station I had some time to kill before going over to the east of Osaka to visit my friend Oki so was taking the the JR Osaka Loop Line round to Kyobashi station when I noticed something interesting between Fukushima and Osaka stations. I thought my eyes were deceiving me at first but it seemed like there was a highway going right through it.

With time on my side, I got off at Osaka station and rode back one stop to investigate this building. Less than ten minutes away on foot is the 16 floor  Continue reading

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