10 must-see movies before visiting Japan

Here’s a list of movies that one must watch before travelling to Japan for the first time. Being no specialists in Japanese cinema, we are probably exaggerating. In any case, these are some movies that we watched before our trip (after some serious online research) and found them to be well worth our time.
Begin with Departures, the only Japanese movie to win a Best Foreign Language Film statuette at the Academy Awards in the past 50 years.
Here's a list of movies that one must watch before travelling to Japan for the first time.

Here’s a list of movies that one must watch before travelling to Japan for the first time.

Then proceed with The Eel, which won acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival.

The Eel

The Eel

Confessions is a brilliant psychological thriller from 2010.

Japanese cinema is incomplete without animated movies. If you have the time, start with two classics: Akira and Ghost in the Shell. Then watch a movie directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Spirited Away is a good choice, with a coming-of-age theme and a subtle criticism of today’s Japanese society.
Spirited Away

Spirited Away

Grave of the Fireflies – yes, animated movies can be sad. This war-tragedy tells the story of two orphans trying to survive in war-ravaged Kobe in 1945.
Kikujiro is the story of a young boy who goes on a road-trip to find his mother accompanied by Kikujiro, a former yakuza. Along the way, they make some bizarre encounters. This movie, exploring the theme of alienation, will not be to everyone’s taste.
A Samurai movie is a must. Needless to say, these movies contain a fair dose of graphic violence.  13 Assassins is a good choice, unless you prefer THE reference Samurai movie, Seven Samurai, a black and white film from 1954.
13 Assassins

13 Assassins

The following 2 movies, although not Japanese, are also worth seeing before visiting Japan.

Lost in Translation is a good drama-comedy exploring loneliness and mid-life crisis filmed in Tokyo.
Hiroshima Mon Amour, a masterpiece by Alain Resnais. It features a series of conversations between two lovers on the theme of memory, with flashbacks and reference to the Hiroshima bombing.
Hiroshima Mon Amour

Hiroshima Mon Amour

Finally, foodies who have made reservations for some premium sushi should watch Jiro dreams of Sushi, a documentary on sushi chef Jiro. He is the owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a tiny sushi restaurant inside a metro station that is considered to be one of Japan’s top sushi restaurants.

What do you think? Did we skip any must-see Japanese movie ? Do leave a comment and let us know.

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