5 Japanese films you should watch

07 Apr 2017 in Have Fun

What’s the best samurai film? The most popular anime? Or the kaiju monster movie everyone should see? Discover our list of 5 essential Japanese films.


A country’s movies can say a lot about its culture. So, what better way to discover Japan than through its films? At HOSHINOYA Kyoto, you can rent a projector to watch movies on a big screen. Just remember to pack your favourite DVDs!

To inspire you, here is our list of 5 must-see Japanese movies.

Seven Samurai (1954)

Seven samourai

Akira Kurosawa is the master of the samurai film and this three-and-a-half-hour epic is probably his best. Combining rip-roaring action with powerful storytelling, it follows a group of seven samurai in the 16th century as they help a farming village fight off bandits. Hollywood famously remade it as The Magnificent Seven.

Godzilla (1954)

Godzilla 1954 version

Even if you’ve never seen the film, you’ll know the monster. This is the original movie, the most famous in Japan’s kaiju (monster) genre, and a cult classic. A movie of its time, it features the lizard-like creature going on the rampage in Tokyo.

Tampopo (1985)


Comedy and gastronomy make for winning ingredients in this tale of one woman’s search for the perfect ramen noodle recipe. The film intertwines offbeat vignettes about food with the main story, making for some mouthwatering viewing. A great choice for comedy fans and foodies.

Zatoichi (2003)


Another samurai film, this time from director-actor Takeshi Kitano – a huge star in Japan and a familiar name to art-house fans worldwide. The plot focuses on a blind samurai defending a village.

It’s classic Kitano, with exhilarating fight scenes and plenty of humour. But, be warned, it’s not for the faint-hearted.

Your Name (2016)

Your Name movie

While Hayao Miyazaki is generally regarded as the master of Japanese anime, director Makoto Shinkai is widely seen as his successor. Just a year after its release, Your Name is the fourth highest grossing film of all time in Japan.

It tells the poignant tale of a Tokyo high-schooler and a rural high-school girl who swap bodies on a regular basis.



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