How to See Godzilla in Shinjuku and Live to Tell About It

Some of my earliest memories involve family trips to the local Fedco in the early 1980s. As a child, it’s an understatement to say that I wasn’t very excited about checking out the latest appliances or home furnishings. The real highlight of those shopping trips was excitedly browsing the VHS movie section. (And yes, I realize just how much this opening paragraph dates me.)
At that tender age, each movie on display was a gateway to another world. This is where I first got a hold of VHS copies of the original Star Wars Trilogy and, most importantly, this is where I picked up Godzilla vs. Megalon, the film that sparked my love for Kaiju (Japanese giant monster) films and was one of my first windows into Japanese pop culture. Little did I know that my enthusiasm for a movie starring a man in a rubber suit would be the first domino to fall in a series of events that led me to where I am today.

2018-09-26   Travel Tips, Visit: Modern Japan, Tokyo,


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

One of several reliefs on display. This one depicts a scene from the original Godzilla film (1954) in which he destroys the National Diet building (among many others).

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.

Peering beyond Godzilla’s claw toward Nishi-Shinjuku.

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:

How to See Godzilla in Shinjuku and Live to Tell About It

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AUTHOR

Anthony

Anthony

Writer / Translator

Originally from Riverside, California, I've been living, working, and writing in Japan since 2009. Japan has become my second home, and I'm especially fond of Shinjuku, Tokyo. That being said, I also love getting out into the countryside and exploring the entire country. Through Tadaima Japan, I hope to share the wonders of Japan with a wider, international audience. Check out my articles if you enjoy exploring on foot, convenient cafes, and affordable dining.

Information

Address 1-19-1 Kabukicho,
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Hours 6:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. (Cafe Terrace Bonjour)
Price 900 ~ 1,800 yen
Close None
Access Eight-minute walk from
JR Shinjuku Station (East Exit);
four-minute walk from
Seibu Shinjuku Station;
six-minute walk from
Higashi-Shinjuku Station (Exit A1);
10-minute walk from
Shinjuku-sanchome Station
Phone +81-(0)3-6457-6411
Language Japanese
English
Website https://gracery.com/shinjuku/restaurant/shop/4554ddb4e357ded.html (Cafe Terrace Bonjour)