Missed Godzilla Places


Last week I was documenting my trips to Japan. Before the pandemic I had gone to Japan for 12 years straight from 2008 to 2019. From 2011 to 2018 I went to Japan twice each year. Most of those years I was not actively collecting, nor was I active in the Godzilla fandom. Godzilla was way back in the recesses of my mind. As I have been going through old trip photos, I was unaware of some of Godzilla movie places I visited. So I’m going to take a trip down memory lane and celebrate those Godzilla places. Here are my old photos and those forgotten places. First, it was December in 1994 and I was in Japan for the first time.

Tokyo Tower and Aqua City Odaiba on the horizon

My first trip was to Tokyo only. I resided at the in Ikebukuro, a very short walk from the theater where I saw Godzilla vs Space Godzilla released just several days before I arrived. My trip included a half-day tour to Tokyo Tower (東京タワー). Mothra made Tokyo Tower her temporary home where she transformed into her adult form in Mothra (1962). From the tower can be seen the Aqua City Odaiba (アクアシテイ台場破壊). Little did I know that it would be the future battle location in Godzilla vs Megaguirus (2000).

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and Shinjuku Sumitomo Building

During my next three trips, I stayed at the Keio Plaza Hotel directly across the street from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (東京都庁舎), the battle ground of Godzilla and Mecha King Ghidorah (1991). Back in 2002, little did I know that I was snapping a photo of the Shinjuku Sumitomo Building (新宿住友ビルディング) made famous by the napping Godzilla in 1984.

Tokyo Station and World Business Garden Atrium

During my first trip the bus toured across the city where I snapped this picture of Tokyo Station (東京駅). Shin Godzilla’s destruction of the famous station was more than three decades. But Godzilla destroyed the station in the 1994 theme park attraction Monster Planet of Godzilla (怪獣プラネット ゴジラ). In 2016, days before the Shin Godzilla released, I attended Wonder Festival held at World Business Garden Atrium (ワールド・ビジネス・ガーデン アトリウム) in Chiba, the location of the last battle in Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla (1993). Little did I know that ZOZO Marine Stadium (ZOZOマリンスタジアム), trampled by the two titans, was a short walk from the event site.

Yokosuka City

In 2019, on a special trip with a great friend to Yokosuka (横須賀市, Yokosuka-shi), a city in Kanagawa, I saw what is thought to be the street MechaGodzilla exploded in The Terror of MechaGodzilla (1975). During a special tour a special crane with a special name was pointed out to me.

Mt Fuji and Lake Ashi

Mt Fuji (富士山) is a big tourist attraction but it cannot be seen everyday. It is a treat to see it. I was fortunate to get an up close and personal in 2002. My photo is eerily similar to the short shot of Mt Fuji in Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla (1974). While in the area, Lake Ashi ((芦ノ湖 Ashinoko Lake) was included. There is a wonderful lift up a mountain and boat ride across the lake. But it is best known for its biggest resident, Biollante in Godzilla vs Biollante (1989).

Kyoto Tower and my postcard of Kiyomizu Temple

Kyoto (京都) was the second big city I visited in Japan. It was Japan’s capital before Tokyo. Kyoto has a rich history and is known for its many temples. In 1999, my hotel was down the street from the city’s iconic tower. During my visit, I visited the famous Buddhist Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺), but I did not realize that Godzilla strolled through just a year before in Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla (1993).

Matsumoto Castle and Kobe Port Tower

In 2002, my Japanese friend from Kyoto took me on a-day-trip to his hometown Kobe (神戸市). We enjoyed the day walking through the city and sailing in the harbor beside the Kobe Port Tower (神戸ポートタワー). Little did I realize that Space Godzilla flew over head in 1994. In 2013, I was asked to help lead the students for the last two months of the school term. Each term there is always a school trip. These trips have been hikes up active volcanoes and walks around sulfur lakes to tours of temples. One trip was a five-hour drive across Japan. During these trips, I have had the pleasure of driving. This term, we chose Matsumoto Castle (松本城). Matsumoto is one of Japan’s premier historic castles, also known as the “Crow Castle” due to its black exterior. I had been there on a previous trip. But little did I know that King Ghidorah flew over many years before in Ghidorah The Three-Headed Monster (1964).