FILMING IN JAPAN

Transport of Equipment

When bringing equipment into Japan to film or accepting crews who bring equipment to film, a customs document known as an ATA carnet will need to be obtained in order to make it easier to temporarily import the equipment duty free and to avoid paying import taxes or other guarantee money. 

Equipment Rental

Most major cities will have rental companies for equipment available for rental. However, some do not rent out directly to foreign production for insurance purposes. We can help you get all of the equipment necessary for your shoot.

Film Permits

In Japan, filming permission in public places are obtained by the city and the police department. This might be different from other parts of the world where you would need to get filming permits from the local film office. In addition, filmmakers need to consider various factors when shooting in Japan. For example, we would need to get permission for products and displays. In some cases, passersby have portrait rights. Japan is a country with rules and manners. It is very important to be working with someone who is knowledgable in the processes of filming in Japan for a smooth shoot. We are familiar with both filming in Japan as well as outside Japan to navigate your production needs.

Purchasing Property and Casualty Insurance

All filmmakers are required to purchase property and casualty insurance before filming in Japan. The scope of this property and casualty insurance must include not only damage insurance against buildings and goods, but also damage caused to all persons participating in the production, including extras, cast, staff and others.

In many cases, obtaining permits, hiring local crew, renting equipment, arranging transportation, purchasing insurance, and other procedures require that the applicant is a Japanese citizen or a company based in Japan.

Is a visa required to film?

In cases where compensation is not obtained from a Japanese entity and the length of stay in Japan is short (90 days or less), a short-term visa is sufficient. In such a case, there are 68 countries and regions whose citizens can enter Japan without a visa, but there are also cases where the nature of employment or stay in Japan requires a different visa.

When is the best time to film?

Japan is well-known for it’s very contrasting four seasons. Depending on what you want to film, we would suggest different times of the year in different parts of Japan. However, one thing to keep in mind is that one month in the summer, typically June is rainy season which could work against your plan. Spring in Japan (March/April) is best known for the beautiful sakura (cherry blossoms), summer after the rains is green and lush, autumn (Oct/Nov) is characterised by the red and gold leaves on the trees and we have serene snowy scenery in winter with heavy snow in many areas (Jan/Feb).

What if we want to work with a Japanese director?

In Japan, most of the directors work as freelancers no matter their level. Directors are often signed to a management rather than a production company. This makes it simple for non-Japanese production to come and work with A-list Japanese directors.

Can we hire talent in Japan?

Yes. Tokyo is becoming more diverse over the years and increasing in foreign talent as well as English speakers. We can discuss your needs and budget and provide the optimal options for you.