Do you know that there is a town called "Cinema Town"?
This article introduces what to see in Chofu city especially for those who like movies and are interested in sightseeing in Tokyo.
Where is Chofu ?
Chofu city is located in the central part of grand Tokyo, in the southeastern part of Tama district. It is outside of Tokyo's 23 wards(mid Tokyo) most popular for tourists, but it is good access from the mid of Tokyo, Shinjuku（新宿）,Shibuya（渋谷）.
It is about 15 - 20 minutes by train from Shinjuku station in central Tokyo. Very good access !!
It is possible to visit enough if there is half a day from central Tokyo!!
You can walk to Ajinomoto-Stadium, it takes 25-30 minites on foot from Chofu station to AJINOMOTO STADIUM(2.3km) . Very easy to reach.
The nearest train station from AJINOMOTO STADIUM is [TOBITAKYU（飛田給）] where is two stations away from Chofu station. Tobitakyu Train station tend to be crowded after event so Many of foreign tourists went back to Chofu station from Ajinomoto stadium on foot during the World-Cup Rugby in 2019 !
There are not so many accommodations near Chofu station. 4-5 hotels will be always fully booked during big events. But do not worry at all, most of the people prefer to stay and book in another big areas like Shinjuku , Shibuya where is very close to Chofu (15-20min by train).
There is no Ryokan(Japanese Traditional accommodation) near Chofu station.
Where to eat around Chofu Station ?
There are so many places to eat near Chofu station, it may be more about 100 including small Japanese traditional pub or Irish style pub. Most restaurants are not so expensive but commonplace and relatively cheaper. I think you do not have to book in advance if you don't you have a special request for food.
Please not that it would be difficult to find eating-in restaurant near AJINOMOTO Stadium(TOBITAKYU station). There are only several and they could be crowded !
Useful sight seeing map
"Chofu city sightseeing map" is very useful. It will help you when you are in Chofu city. Easy to see Chofu and the surroundings and theme-based visit course was introduced.
You can get it at Chofu Tourist Information Center (Open: only at 9 o'clock - 16 o'clock on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays) in the South square on the ground from Chofu Station.
You can also obtain it at Chofu City Hall (Open: Mon-Fri at 9 o'clock - 17 o'clock）where will take about 5 minutes on foot from Chofu station.
In addition, you can download the map in English, Chinese and Korean from the following website.
https://csa.gr.jp.e.adt.hp.transer.com/contents/1887 (source: Chofu Tourist Navi)
▲The new Chofu station front which was renewed in 2017.
What to do in Chofu "Movie Town" in TOKYO
Since the nature of the Tama River and Musashino area was well preserved, it was a favorable place for movie shooting. Its origins date back to 1933. A movie shooting station for the first time was established near the Tama River in Chofu.
Now, more than 40 movie and video companies are gathered in Chofu. For example, Kadokawa Daiei Studio, Nikkatsu Chofu film making Center, Takatsu Decorative Art, Toei Lab Tech, Tokyo Development Office etc.
Although Chofu lasted long as a gathering place of the movie industry, it is obliged to evolve as a new town with the era of digitalization. In the autumn of 2017, the redevelopment in front of the station ended, and the periphery of Chofu station was renewed. This picture is before and after.
▲In the 1950s around the Chofu station where the Japanese movie industry had reached its peak（Photo source : Local History museum ）
Compared to the era when movies were the greatest entertainment for the common people, it is said that the Japanese movie industry is declining. However, in the era when film production was at its best prospered, Chofu city has been a town crowded with film industry to be once called "Oriental Hollywood".
Although the number has been decreasing, a lot of video related enterprises gather in Chofu City, still making movies and raising movie culture importantly. They are engaged in making more evolved towns with the "Cinema town".
The 4 best spots related with Cinema
Ornaments at the Chofu Station
Getting off at the station, the first thing you can see is the interior of the station. As stated as "the city of the movie", decorations related to the movie are scattered a lot in the station.
▲ The design of the movie equipments are decorated for destination guide. In recent years, video shooting has been digitized from the use of film, and now most will be digital production. Chofu has been treasuring the history of "old-fashioned film shooting" had been long time popular in movie industry.
▲Interior decoration is arranged design with film such as pillar, guide board. For the young generation, these ornaments would not be familiar. They may think "What is this pattern? What is film?"
▲Here is also film ornament under the ticket vending machine. It is not just a film. These are arranged contemporaryly, feeling "evolution" with unique design.
▲Symbols of movies "DAIMAJIN" and "GAMERA" between advertisements. Although it is an old movie ( more than 50 years ago), there will be many people who were born in 1940-1970's.
These are the movie works produced by Kadokawa Daiei Studio (Kadokawa Daiei shooting center) located about 15 minutes on foot from Chofu Station.
Hand type monument with Japanese famous actors and actress. It was produced with cooperation of 60 actors and 4 famous film directors who made a great contribution at the Nikkatsu Chofu film making Center.
Chofu station area
▼ After leaving the ticket gate, there is a movie map that summarizes movie shooting stations and related facilities in Chofu city.
The place where movie town were originated
It is approximately 15 minutes on foot from Chofu Station. Or it's 3-minute walk from Keio Tamagawa station (Keio Sagamihara line).
It is a nostalgic feeling place that makes you feel the remnants of the Showa's Golden Age (1950's-1960's）.It is not widely known worldwide, but in Japan a lot of pretty famous works were born from here. many people born in the 1940s - 1960s knew about that age.
▲ In front of Kadokawa Daiei Studio. A monument built in commemoration of Chofu and movie relations in a small park. There are "Monument of movie actor" and "Monument of birth of Chofu movie" near Kadokawa Daiei Studio.
The former shooting center was quite large, and this park was a part of the site originally. Although it is an inconspicuous place, this is exactly the the place of birth for the cinema town Chofu. This monument was built by the Chofu-city festival executive committee in 1993.
In the signboard it is explained as follows.
Water and green and finished air, this is an indispensable condition for the movie industry. In January, 1933, this land very close to Tama River was chosen as the best place, a Japanese film company was established, the Tama River studio was completed. Since then, in the middle of 1950's, it had three photography stations, two photofinishers and an art decoration company. Chofu was declared as the movie city called "Oriental Hollywood".
However, with the change in the times, the film industry has been forced to retreat somewhat, but its originality and entertainment still has great expectations.
Kadokawa Daiei Studio
This is Kagawa Daiei Studio. What makes this place famous is the movie "DAIMAJIN".
Perhaps there is American people who know this name. Because Kasuhiro Sasaki was a pitcher who played with Ichiro at Seattle Mariners in MLB in the 2000s. His nickname was DAIMAJIN. (Because the face is on)
At the entrance of the studio, statues of "DAIMAJIN（Angry god）" and "BUJIN（Gentle god)" will welcome you.
Roughly speaking the story of "DAIMAJIN", long time ago, the ruler of the era acted wrongly to the good villagers. And even "BUJIN" who was worshiped as a GOD gave a terrible treatment, so he (BUJIN) changed his figure with strong anger to the ruler. He was fighted back.
In other words, the gentle appearance before transforming into a great devil is "BUJIN".
Originally, a mild appearance BUJIN was destroyed, as a result of the strong anger of God, appearing and changing appearance is DAIMAJIN. DAIMAJIN appeared to get rid of evil people with anger.
Therefore, the face of the great devil is full of anger.
▲ This is a picture from the outside of the fence inside the premises of the studio. Currently, they do not have an internal sightseeing tour for the general public.
"Gamera" was also taken here. Gamera may not be known unless it is in the Showa era.
▲ A studio antenna shop "MAJIN".Finally. A studio antenna shop "MAJIN". Stationary items related to movies, sweets, T - shirts etc are on sale.
Open from 10: 00 to 17: 00 on weekdays only (Mon-Fri). Please note that you can not enter on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
Access (Chofu Station - Daiei Studio)
|Kadokawa Daiei Studio
Tamagawa 6-1-1,Chofu City Tokyo
Car: Approximately 10 minutes from central high speed Chofu interchange (Shinjuku) direction exit.
Train: It is a 15 minute walk from Chofu station. It is a 2-minute walk from Keio Tama River Station Keio Sagamihara line.
Taxi: About 3 minutes from Chofu station on Keio Line.