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On the 10th Anniversary of Lost in Translation, a Guide to Tokyo

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Hard to believe, but the movie Lost in Translation was released exactly 10 years ago today. For many, it was the first in-depth look at filmmaker Sofia Coppola’s work – and at the city where it’s set: Tokyo. If you have a trip to Japan on your wish list – or the movie in your Netflix queue – here’s a quick look at some of the film’s famous locations.

Park Hyatt Tokyo, Shinjuku
Park Hyatt, TokyoIn the movie: This is the hotel where Charlotte and Bob stay, and much of the movie takes place.

What you can do there: Even if you don’t choose to stay in this luxury hotel (October rates start at $430 a night), make sure you hit up the 52nd-floor New York Bar for panoramic city views from the floor-to-ceiling windows ($23 cover charge after 8pm), or the New York Grill for Sunday morning jazz brunch ($70).

Movie location: Shibuya Crossing
Shibuya crossingIn the movie: In an early scene, Charlotte is walking through Shibuya in the rain as a dinosaur crosses a giant video screen.

What you can do there: Experience the famous “Shibuya Scramble” at this busy junction. All the traffic lights turn red at the same time in every direction; traffic stops completely, and huge crowds of pedestrians surge into the intersection from every angle in a totally calm, orderly fashion. Go to the second-story Starbucks in the Tsutaya media store to watch from above the crowds.

Air, Daikanyama
Air, Daikanyama, TokyoIn the movie: Where Charlotte and Bob party with friends.

What you can do there: Unlike several of Tokyo’s big nightclubs from the early aughts, Air is still going strong and attracting big-name international DJs every weekend. Cover charges are usually between $30 and $50 and include one drink.

Karaoke-kan, Shibuya
karaoke kan, shibuya, tokyo, japanIn the movie: Where Bob sings a mournful version of Roxy Music’s More than This.

What you can do there: The Shibuya branch of the Karaoke-kan chain is just off Centre Gai, Shibuya’s most famous street. Rooms 601 and 602, which offer good views, are the ones used in the film. ($10–15 per hour).

Rainbow Bridge across Tokyo Bay
Tokyo, Bay, Rainbow BridgeIn the movie: At the end of their night out, Bob and Charlotte ride back to Shinjuku in a taxi, passing Rainbow Bridge along the way – a route that actually makes no geographical sense.

What you can do there: When the pedestrian path is open, you can walk across the suspension bridge for excellent harbor views (free; takes around 30 minutes). Otherwise try to visit the Odaiba waterfront area (at the end of the bridge) after dark when the bridge and giant ferris wheel are lit up.

One Comment

  • jozef says:

    I laughed out loud at “passing Rainbow Bridge along the way – a route that actually makes no geographical sense.”

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