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Traditional, Geeky and Downright Awful Movies That Bring The Japan Vibes Before Your Next Trip

Updated: 1 day ago

Get the popcorn bucket and the truffle salt, because these films will bring you and your family around the TV for all the Japan vibes needed to get psyched for your next trip to the land of the rising sun.


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1) Memoirs of a Geisha



Synopsis

A girl and her sister are separated at a young age from each other after being sold by their father to some businessmen. The story follows one of the girls on her journey to becoming a geisha.


Who will enjoy this?

Mom and, begrudgingly, Dad. Your kids can watch it as there is nothing violent or too racy, but they'll be bored.


Japan Vibes

The scenes are shot in Japan, so you'll get a feel for all the edo era architecture, the way of the geisha, and some of the Japanese history. It's a beautiful story that should definitely inspire for your Japanese travel planning.


Where can I find it?

Vudu, YouTube, Google Play Movies and TV, Redbox, and Apple TV

Or, rent it now on Amazon


How long is the run time?

Strap in, this movie is 2.5 hrs + all the stops you'll need for more popcorn, more wine, and maybe some tissues.



2) My Neighbor Totoro


Synopsis

Two girls move to the Japanese countryside outside Tokyo with their father, because their mother is in the hospital. Imaginary creatures aid them in coping with the move from a large fluffy bunny-like figure, to little soot creatures in the attic, and even a catbus.


Who will enjoy this?

It's heartwarming and entertaining for the littlest of viewers and enjoyable for Mom and Dad too.


Japan Vibes

An older film from the '80s, its animation is not as cutting-edge as today, but the fantastical storyline will keep you plugged in. You'll get a feel for the way they lived on an old farm in Japan from the hearth fire in the middle of the house, to taking off shoes at the entry and the schools they went to. It's sure to inspire some countryside visits on your Japanese itinerary.



Where can I find it?

HBO Max, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play Movies and TV, Redbox, and Apple TV

Or, rent it now on Amazon


How long is the run time?

At an hour and a half, this is an easy after-dinner movie. Pair it with sushi takeout and you've got a pretty fun theme night!


3) Godzilla Franchise

Japanese city lights with Godzilla head towering over the buildings
Make sure to see Godzilla in Shinjuku at night!

Here's the thing about Godzilla - theres something around 35 or 40 movies dating back to the mid 1950's Showa era, so you could spend a lot of time here. My husband and I even printed out a list of Godzilla movies and attempted to start marking them off one by one in a marathon. This proved for some fun themed nights, but got really tiresome. I recommend a few of the following:


Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)

Full of camp and cheese.

Watch it here: https://amzn.to/3xNZewo


Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)

It's like watching Power Rangers.

Watch it here: https://amzn.to/3EACtA2


Godzilla (2014)

Elizabeth Olsen before her rise in Marvel, a hot military man, and Ken Watanabe, who ends up on more movies on this list than anyone else. Action packed fun.

Watch it here: https://amzn.to/41mhzhF


Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

There's nothing more badass than a dinosaur who eats radioactive materials. This is a fist in the air type of movie - you will love Godzilla and feel for him all at once. The dude just wants to sleep in the ocean depths, how come everyone has to get at him all the time?

Watch it here: https://amzn.to/3EAANGm


Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)

If you're rooting for King Kong at this point, you're just really not that into Godzilla. More badassery ensues. More fists in the air.

Watch it here: https://amzn.to/3ITUNGR


Who will enjoy this franchise?

Your teens and the adults will love these movies. The older films are probably safe for younger kids and not so intense, but save these for teenage movie nights.


Japan Vibes

Ya'll, it's Godzilla. Need I say more?


4) Pokémon: Detective Pikachu


Synopsis

This kid's dad dies (or so we think) and he goes to clean up his dad's apartment in the big city. He and his dad weren't close, and he doesn't want to be there. In comes cutesy yellow Pokemon Pikachu wearing a wool detective's hat. Annoying and loyal, together they set out on an adventure to find out the mystery behind his dad's death and uncover some dark city secrets while they are at it.


Who will enjoy this?

From the littlest toddlers to your teens and adults, this one will be a hit for the whole family.


Japan Vibes

Although not set in Japan, the modern day city it is based in has all sorts of Japan vibes from the street signs to the general "feel" of the Pokemon world they've built. Get excited for Pokemon stores and spots where your kids will surely want to buy souvenirs once they get to Tokyo.


Watch for adorable squeals of 'pika pika'. Stay for Ryan Reynolds.


Where can I find it?

Vudu, YouTube, Google Play Movies and TV, Redbox, and Apple TV

Or, rent it now on Amazon


How long is the run time?

Nearly two hours, this makes for a great Sunday night movie night. Start early and order pizza.


If these family films don't get you excited for planning your trip to Japan, here's some other great ideas to get you going!


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