Actor and comedian Bill Murray loves Japan, and since starring as himself in the cult classic Lost in Translation, he’s inspired many to follow in his footsteps to the Land of the Rising Sun.
Directed by Sofia Coppola and released in 2003, Lost in Translation was awarded three Golden Globes (including best comedy/musical) and nominated for four Oscars (including best picture).
The critically acclaimed film, which was shot entirely in Japan, gives viewers a fascinating glimpse into Tokyo through the eyes of a Hollywood superstar.
If you dream of having your own Lost in Translation experience in Tokyo – the capital of Japan and the biggest city in the world – read on. Here’s Bill Murray’s guide to dynamic Tokyo on where to stay, what to drink, and where to play.
Read until the end, and you’ll also find out how you can WIN a spot on one of two awesome famils to Japan hosted by JNTO.
Where to stay: The Park Hyatt, Tokyo
When in Tokyo, Mr. Murray likes to stay in the heart of all the action, and that’s why he chooses to stay at the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku, Tokyo’s entertainment hub – just like in the movie.
Occupying the top 14 floors of a 52-storey skyscraper, the 5-star Park Hyatt Tokyo offers 177 spacious rooms with modern furnishings – including a 15-inch television in the bathroom – and is undoubtedly one of the city’s best (and most expensive) hotels.
All rooms offer spectacular views of the sprawling urban playground that is Tokyo, and some even offer unparalleled views of Mount Fuji – if you’re lucky (Japan’s iconic mountain has a reputation for being shy, often hidden behind cloud cover).
Mr. Murray also loves staying at the Park Hyatt Tokyo for its excellent indoor swimming pool (he likes to swim), the fully-equipped gym (he likes to run), and the breath-taking views of Tokyo’s skyline at the 52nd floor New York Grill & Bar. In Lost in Translation, Bill spends most of his nights up here, and you’ll probably want to do the same, purely for the views and the cool jazz.
Just be prepared for the 2,000 yen (approx. A$25) cover charge after 8pm (7pm on Sundays).
What to drink: Suntory whiskey (of course!)
You don’t think Mr. Murray would ever endorse a whiskey he didn’t drink himself, do you?
Established in 1899, Suntory is one of Japan’s oldest beverage companies and has been producing the country’s premier whiskey since 1923.
Apart from whiskey, Japan is also famous for its beer (Sapporo and Kirin are the most popular brands), its sake (traditional rice wine that can be served either cold or warm) and the national spirit, shochu, commonly made from rice, sweet potatoes, wheat and/or sugar cane.
Most karaoke establishments in Japan offer private rooms, so you can sing your heart out with friends without fear of being judged by others.
To relive a scene from the movie, head to rooms 601 and 602 at Karaoke-kan (the Shibuya branch of a popular karaoke establishment chain) which was where Bill Murray sang ‘More than this’ by Roxy Music, accompanied by his co-star Scarlett Johansson.
Where to play: Shinjuku & Shibuya
Lost in Translation was almost entirely shot in Shinjuku and Shibuya, two colourful and busy districts famous for its plethora of dining, drinking and entertainment options, and we know this is where Mr. Murray likes to play when he’s in town.
Shinjuku is where you’ll find Japan’s busiest train station, Shinjuku JR train station – on Tokyo’s circular Yamanote Line – with an estimated 1 million passengers passing through its gate every single day. It’s only a short walk away from the Park Hyatt, too.
Apart from the restaurants, bars and shopping options in the area, you can also check out the Jugan-ji Temple in Shinjuku, which was visited by Charlotte (played by Scarlett Johansson) in Lost in Translation.
Three stations south of Shinjuku in Shibuya is the world’s busiest crossing: Shibuya Crossing. Also featured in the movie, the crossing epitomes modern Tokyo with its neon lit building facades, dynamic energy, and unrelenting traffic!