Rebecca Siggers

5 Movies to Watch Before You Make Your Trip to Japan

apan travel, Japan adventure, Japanese culture, must-watch movies, trip preparation

Japan is a nation with contrasting features and may appear bizarre to any outsider naturally. One of the ways to understand a different country is to learn about its culture. In this day and age, films are the best outlet for learning about a different culture such as Japan, from stories of the post-war era to contemporary tales.

If you dream of visiting and learning about Japan, its country, and its culture, we have listed 5 movies that you need to watch. By the end of it, you’ll be motivated to start your planning to visit Japan!

One thing you do need before you start streaming these 5 movies is a reliable internet that offers uninterrupted streaming of these movies. On that note, dial the CenturyLink customer service number to sign up for an internet connection with super-fast speeds and unlimited data. 

Moving on, check out the following movies to learn about Japanese heritage and its culture. 

Lost in Translation (2003)

This movie is one of the best rom-com you’ll ever see, and the best part is that it was shot in Japan. 

You can see the neon streets of Tokyo on full display in the opening scene of Lost in Translation. But this is not the only side of Tokyo you see in this movie because the major parts of the city are not defined by bright lights. There are plenty of inner-city parks where one can go to find quiet spots, even amidst the dense sprawl of urban population.

The rest of the country, characters, and its culture are played as background extras, but you do get glimpses of Japan in the movie. See the rest for yourself, as Lost in Translation is streaming on Netflix.

Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)

In the earlier days in Japan, geishas were trained to entertain men with conversation, songs, and dances. Memoirs of a Geisha is the story of one such young woman who is sold by her family to spend her life as geisha, a female Japanese performer. 

However, this movie was shot in California, so it technically makes it an American movie set in Japan. But it doesn’t make this movie any less impactful. What you see in the Memoirs of a Geisha gives an insight into the life of a Japanese geisha and her dealings throughout her profession. 

Although it’s a heavily emotional film, the movie features beautiful sceneries of the Japanese countryside and its culture. Memoirs of a Geisha is currently streaming on Amazon Video, Apple TV, and Google Play Movies.

Spirited Away (2001)

We all know that anime is synonymous with Japan. A popular animation studio in Japan called Studio Ghibli produced one of the most phenomenal animated films, that’s still liked by many.

Spirited Away takes place in a magical realm of spirits that hardly looks similar to the streets of Japan, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch it if you plan on visiting Japan. The film opens with the female protagonist’s family driving to a new town and somehow ending up in a magical realm where she darts through to search for her lost parents.

The film is a masterpiece that showcases contradictory themes in the world of Japanese religion and spirituality. The majestic temples and shrines that you spot in Spirited Away are also going to show up everywhere on your trip to Japan.

Don’t miss out on Spirited Away and start streaming it on Netflix!

Seven Samurai (1954)

When you are learning about a culture, its classic movies shouldn’t be missed. Seven Samurai is one of the most acclaimed films not only in Japan but around the world. 

The movie was released in 1954 but is set at the end of the Warring States Period in Japan. Peasants were being robbed by warriors-turned-thieves and children were getting kidnapped. One of the villagers namely Rikichi asks a samurai for help in rescuing a child which he succeeded at. 

The villager was so impressed with the samurai’s skill of dealing with a sword that he asks the samurai to be the village guard. The samurai didn’t agree at first, but then Rikichi’s enthusiasm won him over.  

Seven Samurai is a gem of a movie that shows the great spirit of righteousness and humanity among the Japanese. You can stream this movie on HBO Max, Amazon Instant Video, or Google Play. Although Seven Samurai is available in the Japanese language, you can turn on the English subtitles on your screen.

47 Ronin (2013)

Another Japanese historical film released in 2013, 47 Ronin turned out to be a flop and earned negative reviews from the critics.

However, despite its failure, this movie is still interesting for those who want to learn about Japanese history. 47 Ronin was inspired by a real Japanese story about 47 “leaderless samurai” who used to serve a feudal lord. However, for some reason, their master killed himself because of which the samurais were left without a master. The story then moves to these warriors performing some actions that helped them achieve the honor of their master. 

47 Ronin symbolizes the loyalty and honor that the Japanese people strived for. Even the real-life 47 Ronin in their history were used in modern-day Japan to retain pride in their culture and identity. It’s an action yet emotional movie with a message that still endures to this day. 

You can watch 47 Ronin on Amazon Video, Apple TV, and Google Play Movies. 

Final Thoughts

There you go, 5 movies you need to watch before you make your trip to Japan. Whether it’s action, classic, or animation, there’s something new to learn about culture and life in Japan. Watching these movies will inspire you to visit Japan and make it a memorable experience of a lifetime.

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