Filming In Japan



Japan is perhaps best known for its high-rise, neon-drenched cities, with Tokyo, Osaka, and others making for vibrant filming locations. However, away from the urban chaos, you’ll find traditional Asian villages, untouched open countryside and interesting natural features from volcanoes to white sandy beaches, making it ideal for all sorts of productions.

Whether you want to create documentaries, feature films or corporate videos, Japan is an incredible location to make your film come to life. As an experienced production company, we offer a range of services – including talented directors, crew members, creative writers and special effects editors.

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Filming in Japan

Japan isn’t a difficult place to get permits, with most productions taking about a week to get approved.

However, certain areas of major cities will require additional permission for filming, so it’s a good idea to double-check the rules of the neighbourhood. Cast and crew from certain countries will need a visa, but most Westerners will find it easy to get one.

NEEDaFIXER JAPAN can sort out permits and visas, ensuring that everything is in place when you start filming in Japan.

We Can Help With Everything From Feature Films to Corporate Videos

Japan has a large number of crew members and creative people, and we have an extensive network of directors, producers, camera operators and other technicians around the country. It’s an easy place to source all the equipment you’ll require, and NEEDaFIXER JAPAN can ensure you have everything you need, whether it’s a full camera kit or a camera drone and pilot to get those spectacular aerial shots.

If you need a cast for your production, then we can put together showreels of local talent. Casting in Japan can be a challenge as there’s not much diversity, but we can look further afield if needed and find actors and presenters to suit your specific requirements.

Japan has had a thriving film industry that dates back to the silent era, although it wasn’t until the 1950s when the world really became aware of Japanese cinema. The monster movie Godzilla was released worldwide in 1954 and was mainly filmed in the Toho Studios lot in Tokyo, which was also used for the horror movie The Grudge and many Japanese language films.

The country has two major studios that have been around since the 1930s and are also known for the quality of its animated films, with the country producing international hits such as Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke.  

Popular Japanese Filming locations

Japan is one of the most diverse countries in the world, and it’s the perfect combination of traditional history and new-world technology. Imagine the neon signs of Tokyo lighting up the evening sky, and you’ll understand why so many productions use Japan for filmmaking.

Then, we have the impactive Kyoto, which many regards as the cultural capital of Japan. Its eclectic mix of contemporary culture and stunning gardens make it the perfect place to bring your film, show, documentary or advert to life.

The regional film commissions handle permits for public locations, but our local producer can help you to manage the process. Below you’ll find some of the most popular places production companies choose to film in Japan.

Shinjuku, Tokyo

This busy neighbourhood is a great backdrop for a colourful production, with busy roads and huge neon signs. It was used as a filming location for Kill Bill: Vol.1, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and recently for Godzilla Resurgence.

Mount Shinmoedake

Used as the bad guy’s volcano lair in James Bond – You Only Live Twice, this snow-topped, active volcano is surrounded by beautiful places to film.

Shoshazan Engyo-ji Temple

Spotted in big-name movies such as The Last Samurai and The Assassin, this temple dates back to the 10th century and has lots of ornate features that look great on film.

Fixers in Japan

Join Film Industry Giants

The country has been host to a huge number of international and domestic film crews that have filmed everything from Hollywood blockbusters to acclaimed independent movies. Some famous filming spots include Shibuya Crossing, a busy intersection surrounded by neon billboards, which was spotted in Lost in Translation and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.

One of the city’s famous bullet trains was used for scenes in Inception, and the packed streets of the Shinjuku neighbourhood made an excellent backdrop for the 2016 movie Godzilla Resurgence, as well as classics such as Kill Bill: Vol.1.

What can our fixers in Japan do for you?

NEEDaFIXER JAPAN can help you source the right filming locations across Japan, whether you need a busy, colourful street or spectacular mountain scenery. Filming in Japan is usually a pleasant experience with welcoming locals, but there can be challenges when filming in busy city areas.

We can help arrange for the right permits, hire cast and crew and arrange for things such as transport and accommodation when filming in remote locations. The language barrier can also be an issue, as English isn’t widely spoken, so our fixers in Japan will deal with local authorities and sort out these logistics makes your shoot so much easier.

If you’d like to find out more about filming in Japan, then contact us today at: [email protected].

Frequently Asked Questions

I want to shoot, but how easy is it to get permits?

Even if you decide to shoot last minute in Japan, you don’t have to panic. Permits for most locations usually take a week to be granted and even if you want to stop traffic, these shooting demands are not impossible albeit longer to process. Although, be sure to check though that the neighbourhood does not require additional permission.

Do I need a visa or work permit?

It’s completely dependent on your country of origin, but if in doubt feel free to get in touch with us.

Can I hire equipment once there?

Japan pioneers the most cutting edge technology and is a market leader, so it’s no surprise that you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to hiring equipment. Arri and Panavision are available as well as specialised resources.

What is the climate like?

Japan has a typical four-season climate, so expect long sunny days in July and frosty chills in Decembers. Their cherry blossoms in the spring are particularly iconic and make for a vibrant backdrop.


’You guys were amazing! You delivered perfectly at short notice in a foreign country, introduced us to lovely crew in both and really went the extra mile in making sure it was all taken care of and confirmed properly. I can’t thank you enough and look forward to working together again.’

Davo McConville

Free Lance Producer - Black Dog / RSA


’I have met NEEDaFIXER in Greece! It was LOVE from the first sight. Since then, I cannot imagine my production without them! They are like Family! Always helpful. Always happy. Always with loads of energy… & always with PASSION for what they do!’

Katarzyna Chmielarz

Producer / GPD

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