Finding Godzilla

A trip to Odo Island


Traveling to Odo Island was the highlight of my 2023 trip to Japan. In anticipation of Godzilla’s 70th anniversary celebration and the release of the new film in November, my trip was all about finding Godzilla. And there was no more important place than the hill where Godzilla first appeared. After leaving Kata Shrine, a short walk from Toba Station, I headed deep into the forest en route to the port where Godzilla reared his head.

Google Maps directions to Kata Shrine and Ichika-cho

Finding Kata Shrine was easy but getting to Ijika-cho requires a 50-minute bus ride on the Kamome Bus from the Toba Bus Station. The bus makes 29 stops before arriving at Ijika-cho, the last stop. The bus remains at the port for about 20 minutes until the scheduled time to return back to the station. The bus winds through the city up into the mountains where the beauty of the port town is on full display.

Upon arrival, Godzilla’s hill is center stage. Ijiko-cho is the location of the hill of Godzilla’s first appearance. The alarm is sounded, the islanders begin to run. As they run up the mountain path, Godzilla’s head slowly rises above them.

Godzilla’s first appearance on Odo Island in Godzilla (1954)

Eiji Tsuburaya and his special effects team perfectly synthesized the hill’s ridge line and the monster they had created. A close inspection of the film scene reveals the Ijika port in the background. The townspeople were used as extras.1

Since 1954, the landscape has changed but the street working up the hill is reminiscent of the curving path in the film. As I was taking pictures, a local tour guide introduced herself. She said they call this location, “Godzilla Mountain.” Officially the mountain where Godzilla first appeared is called Mt. Hachiman or Hachiman-yama (八幡山) of Odo Island. The mountain is named after “a war god in the Shinto pantheon.”3

I visited Ijika-cho twice during my trip. The first day I exited the bus too soon and the bus schedule made travel to the right port time prohibitive. Although I got to the shrine, I was frustrated and felt my trip was incomplete without visiting the hill. But a day later, I adjusted my schedule and I returned to Ijika-cho before traveling to Osaka. Although it was a rainy day, the overcast sky and ominous atmosphere were perfect for imagining Godzilla’s arrival above the hill. High above the port is the Ishika Daiichi Hotel Kagura overlooking the beach of Godzilla’s disappearance. It is said from room 717, the beach (大木の浜) where Godzilla left his footprints and tail can be seen.1

I left the port with a deep satisfaction and joy. My mission to find Godzilla was accomplished and my trip was complete. I will return and stay overnight at the hotel in the near future. Every Godzilla fan who makes it to Japan should make the pilgrimage to Odo Island.


1. ゴジラ誕生の地: Godzilla’s birthplace

2. Source:

3. Growing Up with Godzilla: A Global History, “A KING IS BORN: Godzilla’s Multiple Origins”