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Experience Japan like Wolverine

July 22, 2013

The Wolverine movie poster. The Wolverine is set in Japan. Hollywood summer blockbuster, The Wolverine will take movie lovers on a journey to Japan when the film opens at UK cinemas on 25 July, 2013. Here we give you a guide to experiencing the places and things in Japan that you will see in the film.

Based on the celebrated comic book arc, this epic action-adventure takes Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), the most iconic character of the X-Men universe, to modern day Japan.  Out of his depth in an unknown world he will face a host of unexpected and deadly opponents in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed.  Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality.

"This story takes The Wolverine into a world that is vastly different from any seen before in the X-Men series," says Hugh Jackman, who is also a producer on the film. "There are a lot of battles in this story, but the greatest battle of all is the one within Logan between being a monster and a becoming a human being."

Logan's conflicted character is also so perfectly mirrored by Tokyo's surreal atmosphere contrasted sharply with the serenity of rural Japan, Director James Mangold was committed to shooting there right from the start.

"Japan is like no other country in the world," says the director. "By shooting there, we were able to really get the vision of the landscapes, of the architecture. And we were also able to capture something not often seen in movies: rural Japan. We think of Japan mainly as Tokyo or Osaka, but there are some of the most beautiful wild lands and tropical islands in the hinterlands. Both the bustle of the city and the incredible Zen of these beautiful lush forests had a huge effect on us. The chance to be in these places really inspired the filmmaking for everyone."

See the Sights from The Wolverine in Japan

* Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum: The film opens with the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. Learn more about this tragic event at the Atomic Bomb Museum in Nagasaki.

The Wolverine fighting ninja in Japan* Tokyo neon: Scenes shot in Tokyo show the cities gleaming, bright neon streets. Take yourself on an evening walking tour of Shinjuku or Shibuya in Tokyo or Dotonbori in Osaka to experience Japan’s neon lights.

* Ninja: Wolverine battles stealthy ninja. See a ninja show and learn how to use ninja weapons at the Igaryu Ninja Museum

* Samurai: samurai swords and the samurai code and honour system are constant themes throughout the film.  Have a samurai, geisha or ninja make-over at Edo Wonderland in Nikko or see one of their exciting ninja and samurai shows. At Toei Movie Village in Kyoto you can have samurai and geisha make-overs by professional movie make-up artists and see actors performing samurai fight scenes.

The Wolverine at a pachinko palour in Japan * Pachinko: Like a cross between pinball and slot machines, pachinko parlours can be found all over Japan.

* Shinkansen: In one of the most spectacular train fight-scenes ever-filmed, Wolverine takes an unconventional ride on Japan’s super speedy shinkansen bullet trains. Get yourself a Japan Rail Pass and you can ride bullet trains throughout the country as much as you like for 7, 14 or 21 days.

 

 * Ryokan:Wolverine visits a range of Japanese homes – from a splendid, cliff-top mansion in Tokyo to a homely place by the seaside. To get a real feel for how Japanese live spend a night in a ryokan or minshuku. Ryokan are authentic old-style Japanese hotels and inns where long-held traditions are still observed. Minshuku are family-run businesses where guestrooms are rented out in family homes.  Staying in a ryokan or minshuku offers visitors to Japan a wonderful opportunity to taste the true flavour of traditional Japanese life, including Japanese-style bathing, traditional clothing, futon bedding and authentic cuisine.  

* Tokyo Tower: Tokyo Tower is now over-shadowed by Tokyo Skytree, but the gleaming red Tokyo Tower is what hovers over Tokyo’s skyline in The Wolverine. Visit the tower’s observation deck for views over Tokyo.

The Wolverine being shot at Zojoji Temple in Tokyo* Zojoji Temple: Wondering which temple features in the opening scenes in Japan? It’s the Buddhist Zojoji Temple. Located in its precincts are the tombs of six Tokugawa Shoguns, Imperial Princess Kazunomiya (wife of Shogun Iemochi), and wives and children of shoguns. The temple is free to visit.

* Love Hotels: Wolverine spends the night with a lady in a Love Hotel.  The cubic building shown as a Love Hotel in the film is actually not a Love Hotel, but Nakagin Capsule Tower, a mixed-use residential and office tower designed by architect Kisho Kurokawa. If you’d like to spend a night in a Love Hotel, head to Shibuya’s Love Hotel Hill.

* Yazkuza: The Wolverine gets in a number of dramatic scuffles with heavily tattooed Japanese yakuza mafia.  One of the best places to see yakuza with their tattoos proudly on display is at the annual Sanja Matsuri in Tokyo. Held every year over the third full weekend in May.

Wolverine Japan Holiday

InsideJapan Tours have together a 14-night Wolverine-themed Japan holiday package. The package includes 4 nights in Tokyo, 3 nights in Kyoto – with tickets to Toei Movie World, 3 nights in Nagasaki, 2 nights on Miyajima in a traditional ryokan and 1 night Osaka, where you will have a tate-do samurai sword fighting class. The package includes all accommodation, breakfast every day and 2 evening meals, all transport between destinations within Japan with a 14 day Rail Pass, meet and greet airport transfers, tate-do class and Toei Movie World entrance.  The package is priced from £1,700 per person (based on two people travelling and not including international flights. To book, or for further details, contact InsideJapan Tours on 0117 370 9751 or visit www.insidejapantours.com.

The Wolverine opens at UK cinemas on 25 July 2013. See the film’s official trailer and interviews with the director and stars at www.thewolverinemovie.co.uk.

JNTO Partners