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Consisting of a chain of islands, Japan is a magnificent country with outstanding scenery, fascinating culture and modern cities. Many of the islands are volcanic with hot springs and the resulting spectacular scenery. The regions vary from sub-tropical in the south to sub-arctic in the north with alpine regions and natural parks. The architecture is a mixture of Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, gossamer-thin houses, elaborate castles and meticulous Japanese gardens.
In 2013 Morgan Spurlock's (Super Size Me) new concert movie on the popular boy band One Direction shot in Tokyo. The 3D documentary was shot using 4K cameras. In 2012 another concert documentary was filmed in Japan; the popular Don't Think, featuring a stunning concert of the Chemical Brothers at the iconic Fuji Rock Festival in Japan, was directed by Adam Smith.
But aside from documentaries Japan has been the set for much more. Justin Lin's 2006 The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift was shot in the country's capital and Brad Pitt visited the country while shooting Babel, Alejandro González Iñárritu's international drama. Other films shot in Japan are Kill Bill Volume 1&2, Memoirs of a Geisha and Enter the Void. The country's capital Tokyo is also one of the locations chosen for Fast & Furious 7 which was directed by James Wan and shot in 2013.
As Japan has a different taxation system from other countries, it does not have in place a tax incentive system for film crews from abroad. However, there are other systems and services offered by film commissions making it possible to reduce the production cost. For instance, each film commission has an extras registration system that volunteers participate in.
There are other incentive systems offered through film commissions, such as exemption of fees for shooting at public facilities and special discounts for accommodation or subsidies for production costs. A full list can be found here.
In the event that the film is judged as being effective in revitalizing the local community, it is also possible to receive grants from the local government or related organisations. Please check with the film commission in the region where the filming will take place to find out the conditions for getting film grants.
When entering Japan from another country for the purpose of producing films & videos, there are certain countries & regions for which visas are required depending on period of stay.
Japan has ten local film commissions which can help you find the perfect location for your shoot. For a map and contact details please click here.