You might be wondering:
“I’m in Japan and I want to watch anime movies and OVAs in theaters, but is there anything I should know beforehand?”
If you’re unsure, you’re in the right place.
I’ll tell you everything that you need to know about how to watch anime in Japanese cinemas, what to expect, and more.
What’s it like going to a movie theater in Tokyo?
Going to the theater in Japan is like going to one in any other country. Nothing really unique to it.
But, there is something that sets it apart.
You can watch all the new anime movies & OVAs on the big screen!
You may have heard that international films take millions years to be shown in Japan
But, this is not the case for anime content (obviously). You can watch anime movies here in Japan before any of your friends living overseas.
Something else that shocked me, is that some theaters are open at 4 am!!!
What can I expect?
- Pop up stores
In most movies, when you enter the theater lobby you get a freebie on your way in. Usually it’s a postcard, light novel or manga.
Inside the theater, there is an anime themed cafe of the movie that’s showing.
A pop up store as well, where you can buy exclusive t-shirts, keychains, etc.
And of course, sometimes the theater has anime-themed decorations.
Also, unique drinks and food.
Is etiquette different in Japanese theaters?
Mostly the same as any other country. The only thing that surprised me a bit is that it’s common to go alone to the theater (in my country people usually don’t).
People also tend to stay seated through the end of the credits. Not because Japanese people REALLY like after-credits scenes, but to respect the people who made the movie.
Are there Japanese theaters that’ll screen anime movies with English subtitles?
I get this question a lot!
And the answer is:
Japanese theaters usually do not screen anime movies with English subtitles.
But, there are some special film events where some anime or live action movies have subtitles. For example, the Tokyo International Film Festival where Weathering With You and other anime films had English subtitles.
Note: You can also watch non-anime films with English subtitles in Japan. My friend Matt wrote an article where he explains how to watch Japanese films in English in Tokyo.
Are anime movies in 4D in Japan?
Some of them. Like Weathering With You (Tenki No Ko) or Girls und Panzer.
With everything from seat rumbling to fluids, it’s less about how much turbulence it can put you through and more about how much variation and nuance it can have.
Feel a small mist gathering in Weathering With You or the specific engine rumbling of an FT-17 tank in Girls und Panzer, that kind of thing.
How to buy a ticket? How much does it cost?
You can buy them online or on site. It gets crowded sometimes, so I strongly recommend you to buy in advance.
The ticket is around 1,900 yen (17 USD), but it depends on the theater and your status. For example, if you’re student and you show your ID you can get a discount. This also applies if you’re in a Japanese school.
On the 1st of each month, tickets are discounted for everyone.
Also, tickets are on sale 3 days before the day that you want to watch the movie. Meaning that if you’re planning to go on Saturday to the cinema, you can buy the ticket starting from Thursday (3 days before).
How much will I spend?
It depends on you. You can spend money on just your ticket or get crazy and buy all the souvenirs and have a feature length feast. As a side note, L size popcorn is around 500 yen ( 4 USD).
What’s the best theater in Tokyo for watching anime?
Definitely Wald 9 (Kinezo) in Shinjuku, because most of the anime movies that are being screened have their own pop up store and there’s an anime cafe on the second floor.
The above is something that I was able to find only in Wald9.
Address: Japan, 〒160-0022 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Shinjuku, 3 Chome−1−26 新宿三丁目ビル 9階
Which movies are coming to theaters?
We have an article for that, check it out:
Is there a theater that only screens Japanese animated movies?
Yes, owned by Kadokawa Corp, the EJ Anime Theater is a theater specializing in anime.
The place is located in Shinjuku and it’s one of the big anime spots in the area.
I’m planning to write an in depth article very soon all about this location. Subscribe to our newsletter to get a notification when it’s ready.
Access: 〒160-0022 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Shinjuku, 3 Chome−13−３ 新宿文化ビル 4・5階
Now, I want to hear from you:
Have you ever been in a Japanese cinema? What’s the anime movie, live action movie or OVA that you’re looking forward to the most?