Tokyos unique movie theatres

Find your favourite theatre to immerse yourself in film

Tokyo’s unique movie theatres

Shinjuku Piccadilly, Platinum room

Shibuya’s first 3D movie theatre opened in 2008 when Shibuya Cine Palace, next to Shibuya Loft, refurbished and installed a Digital Cinema system. ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth 3D’ was one of only about three 3D films to be released in Japan that year, but with fourteen releases so far – ‘Bolt’, ‘Monsters vs. Aliens’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ among others – 2009 looks to be the year 3D cinema gains its third wave of popularity.

Disney’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ hit the screens November 14 – and is now set to be one of the biggest releases of the year-end and New Year period. With ‘Up’ and ‘Avatar’ soon to be released, 3D films are jostling for public attention. Growth may be slow, but the number of theatres screening 3D films is definitely on the increase.

In response to such trends, Tokyo’s cinemas are putting a lot more emphasis on the development of unique and interesting theatres. For example, when Shinjuku’s Piccadilly theatres refurbished and reopened in July 2008, they introduced Platinum Seat and Platinum Room services whereby a balcony level was created to offer the best viewing positions possible. Platinum Seats were placed in the centre with Platinum Rooms on either side. A sofa-style seat specially designed for movie theatres by Cassina ixc., Platinum Seats offer the luxurious comfort of being able to stretch out your legs out while enjoying a film. The Platinum Rooms offer a private space with seating just for two, giving the viewers exclusive possession of the large screen in front of them.

There are many other unique theatres in Tokyo designed to satisfy a multitude of personal preferences and wishes when seeing a movie. With ticket prices creeping higher and higher, finding a movie theatre you really like will make the movie-going experience even more enjoyable.

Shinjuku Piccadilly

Despite its status as a ten-screen multiplex, Shinjuku Piccadilly takes theatre luxury to a whole new level - literally when considering the aforementioned large screen balcony level Platinum Seat and Platinum Room options. For ¥5,500 per person, Platinum Seat customers can make use of an exclusive lounge prior to cinema screenings in a sofa-style seat for two. Platinum Room patrons are spoiled with their very own relaxation rooms to indulge themselves with Dom Pérignon Rosé and caviar to the tune of ¥30,000 per room (maximum two people per room).

Address: 3-15-15 Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)5367 1144

Virgin Toho Cinemas Roppongi Hills

Despite housing nine screens, it’s the attention to detail and Premier Screen concept that distinguishes this theatre as a first-class cinema. At ¥3,000 per person it’s much more affordable than any other kind of first-class seating option and includes fully reclining seats and side tables. There are also seats for two— suitable not only for lovebirds, but also sumo wrestlers.

Address: 6-10-2 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo
Telephone: 03-5775-6090

Cinema Mediage

Located along the water in Odaiba, this multiplex boasts an impressive thirteen screens. Consider booking the super-premium seats (¥6,000 for two people) if possible. You’ll not only gain access to an exclusive lounge, but the bench seats for two; they’re perfect for canoodling couples and allow a more intimate movie experience.

Address: Mediage, Aqua City 1F/2F, 1-7-1 Daiba, Minato, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)5531 7878

Shinagawa Prince Cinema

Located in the Shinagawa Prince Hotel, this theatre offers a wide array of deals, including accommodation and theatre packages. Foodie film buffs are welcome to take food from the neighbouring Café du Cinéma, where a range of foods prepared by the hotel chef is available for purchase, into movie screenings. Women with small children are also kept in mind: the extremely popular ‘Movie Break for Mothers’ takes place every Wednesday and includes a film, dessert, one drink and child care costs for ¥5,500(limited to five groups).

Address: Shinagawa Prince Hotel, Executive Tower 3F, 4-10-30 Takanawa, Minato, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3440 1111

Shibuya Cine Palace

Newly refurbished with the latest in digital cinema systems, this double-screen 299-seater reopened less than a month ago. Most theatres in Tokyo offer various discounts such as ‘Movie Discount Day,’ ‘Ladies’ Day’ and ‘Couples Day’, but Cine Palace also runs a ‘Men’s Day’ promotion where tickets to all shows on Thursdays are just 1,000.

Address: Shibuya Mitsuba Bldg 7F, 20-11 Udagawa, Shibuya, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3461 3534

Shinjuku Wald 9

Shinjuku Wald 9 was the first cinema complex to install digital cinema projectors in all of its nine theatres, allowing movie watchers to enjoy the brilliant colours that only a digital screening can provide. Of course the sound system is also of the highest standard. Selected films are shown for only 1,200 between 3:30 and 6pm on weekdays.

Address: Shinjuku San-chome East Bldg 9F, 3-1-26 Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)5369 4955


Billed by its owner as ‘the smallest theatre in Japan’, Uplink X has a mere 40 seats. Yet these seats are what make this theatre incredibly unique. Laid out on a completely flat floor, each chair has a different design and is the kind of piece more likely to be seen in an upscale furniture store; choose your seat based on comfort or design. Moreover, the seating can be moved around, as Uplink X is also used as a multipurpose space for workshops and other arty activities.

Address: Totsune Bldg 2F, 37-18 Udagawa, Shibuya, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)6825 5503

Shibuya Theatre TSUTAYA

This two-screen theatrette seats 436. A popular venue for independent film screenings and product launch parties, Shibuya Theatre TSUTAYA is also available for private bookings. A private party of two? No problem. With theatre rental for 50,000 between 11pm and 12midnight, some have used this service to show homemade DVDs to their partner and propose.

Address: Q-AX Bldg, 1-5 Maruyama, Shibuya, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3464 6277

Ginrei Hall

A blast from the Showa past, Ginrei Hall first opened in 1974 and screens double features of classic Japanese and international films no longer showing at regular cinemas. Films are screened in their original language with Japanese subtitles when appropriate.

Address: 2-19 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3269 3852

Mama’s Club Theatre

This is a customised service enabling mothers to bring their young children to the cinema without worrying about potential disruptions to other moviegoers. During screenings, film sound is quietened so as not to alarm the babies; lighting is also brighter than usual so that children feel safe and mothers can walk freely around the cinema. Fifteen theatres in the Kanto area provide this service, and six of them are in Tokyo. There are no regular schedules or times, and because different films are screened, be sure to check individual listings.

Virgin Toho Cinemas Roppongi Hills
Address: 6-10-2 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)5775 6090

Cinema Mediage
Address: Mediage, Aqua City 1F/2F, 1-7-1 Daiba, Minato, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)5531 7878

TOHO Cinemas Nishiarai
Address: Ario Nishiarai 4F, 1-20-1 Nishiarai-Sakae, Adachi, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)5888 1040

TOHO Cinemas Minami-Osawa
Address: Fab Minami-Osawa 4F, 2-3 Minami-Osawa, Hachioji-shi, Tokyo
Telephone: (042)679 6180

TOHO Cinemas Fuchu
Address: Kururu 5F, 1-50 Miya, Fuchu-shi, Tokyo
Telephone: (042)358 5001

TOHO Cinemas Kinshicho
Address: Olinas Mall 4F, 4-1-2 Taihei, Sumida, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)5637 1040

by Kyoko Kitamura
Translated by Virginia Okno
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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