Top 5 Locations | Video Production in Tokyo 2018
Highly recommended hot spots for shooting quality video content in Tokyo.
If you are planning to make a film, shoot your TV program or do a video shoot in for your clients commercial or music video, then it is obvious by Tokyo is such a hot destination.
It’s 2018 and Tokyo is an epicenter for some of the most amazing sites, culture and food, not to mention all the hype with the Tokyo Olympics 2020 being right around the corner. Many companies and freelance videographers have Tokyo in their crosshairs to get the content they need to reach the audiences and markets they are targeting so it makes complete sense why you would want to shoot a video here and it’s probably a great idea if you have the budget to do so.
There are so many amazing locations to discover for shooting in Tokyo, but location scouting can be almost impossible without extensive research, scouting in person, or hiring a local company like TOFU Media that handles location scouting to assist you.
Finding and then getting locations approved to video shoot in Japan can be a complicated process, but lets go over some recommended locations our clients were very satisfied with from previous video shoots we have done here at TOFU Media.
Any client or production company who is planning to come to Tokyo for video production or content creation should always consider making some time for Shibuya if you are planning to get that “busy Tokyo shot” or are looking for the lit up neon experience that many day dream about.
Located in downtown Tokyo, Shibuya is one of the most busiest areas and offers a chance to see Tokyo in live action and in true form. It’s also home to the famous Shibuya crossing where you can get shots of hundreds (even thousands) of people scrambling across the street. We do not recommend ever shooting here without permits and permissions, but apparently there are hours starting from 4:00am where you can shoot without proper paperwork, but you may be out of luck if you are expecting to get the busy rush hour shot.
Shinjuku has changed a lot over the years and these days it is a a hot area for all tourists, but Shinjuku still is and will continue to remain one of the biggest hubs for all types of activity in Tokyo making this a must stop by place if you are looking to film content in Tokyo. If you or you client needs the in-your-face neon light experience for your shoot, this is the place and shooting permits are not that difficult to obtain.
Again, although TOFU Media never recommends shooting without help from a local company or getting the necessary permits and permissions, this is an area that is more lenient when it comes to people shooting in the streets because of so many tourists and vloggers who take up the space.
Therefore, we recommend Shinjuku as a place for getting great b-roll and city shots that you can incorporate into your finished video project.
Nakameguro makes a great location for video shooting in Tokyo for many reasons. This area is one of the much more developed areas and has a more upscale look. It’s filled with beautiful cafes and restaurants that are also amazing for potential filming locations and all around has a very “local” vibe.
Nakameguro is also home to the famous 目黒川 Meguro-gawa river which is truly an enchanting romantic site to witness during the cherry blossom season (late march). Depending on your project, some of your greatest content can be captured here with proper location scouting. If you are planning to get some shots of the cherry blossoms in your video during your trip to Tokyo then we strongly recommend going between the hours of 11:00am and 3:00pm this way you can avoid the busy rush hour of school students and salarymen rushing here after work to snap endless selfies.
Shimokitazawa is what some call the “Williamsburg of Tokyo”. It’s cool, it’s hip and has a very “chill” vibe. It’s a great location for shooting a video in Tokyo and has a long history of video shoots in Japan.
This area is a very close train ride from both Shinjuku and Shibuya making it very convenient for most camera crews and talent to access and can be a strategic location for getting the shots you need.
Shimokitazawa has a much more old and run down, yet very artsy look compared to new developed areas like Nakameguro. Depending on what the concept of your video project is, this could make a very interesting spot for some shots. In our experience, many bar and restaurant owners in Shimokitazawa seem to be very used to receiving video permission requests as well as dealing with foreigners making business owners of private locations much more approachable when seeking approval for shooting locations in Tokyo.
(BONUS) 5. Yokocho Bars (drunk alleys that are narrow, unique and stacked with small restaurants and bars.)
These are often very vibrant areas with rows of narrow alleys filled up with tiny bars and restaurants stacked on top of each other. The unique layout of these areas shed light on the true vibes of Tokyo making these places excellent areas to shoot a video in Japan. However, we do not recommend shooting in these areas without proper permits and permissions in regards to road usage.
If you are planning or interested in getting some shots inside these restaurants then of course you will have to reach out the the owner or management of the store which in this case we recommend getting help from a local team or a fluent Japanese speaker to make this process as smooth as possible. Although these streets tend to be very narrow, with proper permissions, getting your crew down there with all the necessary equipment and lights is more than possible, but make sure to start the application process long in advance as application processes for video shooting approval can take a long time in Japan.
These are some of TOFU Media’s favorite spots that are great for filming a video in Tokyo:
Total distance: 210m, 3mins （on foot）
Starting Point : JR Shinjuku Station, West Entrance
Triangle Corner (Sangenjaya)
Total distance: 180m, 2 mins （on foot）
Starting Point : Sangenjaya Station
Sanchoku Inshokugai (産直飲食街)
Total distance: 20m, 1 mins （on foot）
Starting Point : JR Ryogoku Station, East Entrance
Good luck with your video projects in Tokyo and please never hesitate to reach out to us about any questions you may have about filming video in Japan!