- A pop culture icon
- How to meet the King of the Monsters
- The Godzilla experience
- Worth the price for true fans
A pop culture icon
Fast forward to today. While my appreciation for Japan goes far beyond pop-culture these days, there’s no denying that Godzilla, or Gojira as he is known here in his native land, remains a cultural icon and soft-power brand ambassador. An instantly recognizable theme song, unmistakable roar, and a sadly-still-relevant symbolism of mankind’s penchant for self-destruction ensure Godzilla’s place as an ever-present fixture in the global zeitgeist.
The mayor of Shinjuku, Kenichi Yoshizumi, is keenly aware of this. With the 2015 opening of the Toho Cinemas Shinjuku entertainment complex, he went the extra mile to make Godzilla an honorary Shinjuku citizen, an ambassador to fans all around the world.
This culminated in life-sized replicas of Godzilla’s head and forepaw perched on top of the cinema complex, which also includes a hotel with Godzilla-themed rooms. Fortunately, you don’t need to rent a 50,000 yen-per-night hotel room to get up close and personal with Godzilla. All it really takes is the price of a fancy drink or Godzilla-themed dessert.
How to meet the King of the Monsters
Casual Godzilla fans and curious onlookers can easily get their Godzilla fix by simply strolling through (or jogging past) Kabukicho. True fans, however, are going to want a closer look, and to accomplish that, you’ll need to buy a meal, snack, or beverage at Cafe Terrace Bonjour, located in the hotel lobby on the 8th floor of the complex. This will grant you access to the patio where Godzilla resides.
The Godzilla experience
Once you are out on the balcony, you can view several reliefs that depict famous moments from Godzilla history. Each relief is accompanied by a plaque that explains the scene in both Japanese and English. Additionally, you’ll have a front row seat to a display of Godzilla’s might. Periodically, the Godzilla theme song will start playing and the statue lights up and emits steam. The whole performance ends with that classic Godzilla bellow—truly an experience to behold. Considering the lighting, this is best viewed at night. In addition to all of this, it’s simply a joy to take in a Godzilla’s-eye view of the city.
Worth the price for true fans
Some may argue that it’s not worth paying for a somewhat pricey drink or dessert just to get close to a giant statue of Godzilla’s head and paw. Diehard fans, however, will disagree. Where else in the world can you experience being eye to eye (or eye to tooth) with the world’s most famous movie monster? Like visiting the life-sized Gundam in Odaiba, seeing Godzilla in Shinjuku is a true “only in Japan” experience.
For smartphone users, please click the link below to go to the Tadaima Japan website which includes additional location details:
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