If you’ve booked onto our Japan Family Adventure, you might be looking for something to get you and your family in the mood for all things Japanese. With that in mind, we’ve put together this list of five incredible family films that are perfect for you to watch together as the excitement begins to build.
Spirited Away, Dir: Hayao Miyazaki, 2001 Certificate PG
Perhaps the most internationally famous of legendary animator Miyazaki’s films, Oscar-winning Spirited Away is a fantasy adventure steeped in Japanese tradition and mythology. It tells the story of a feisty young girl named Chihiro, who finds herself trapped in the spirit world. The film contains a few unsettling scenes that may not be suitable for very young children.
My Neighbour Totoro, Dir: Hayao Miyazaki, 1988, Certificate U
Another film by Miyazaki, this equally captivating and imaginative animation follows sisters Mei and Satsuki as they encounter a number of lovable forest spirits. Most notable among them is the gigantic Totoro, who is a kind of cat/bear hybrid. Beyond the cute characters, this film has a poignant family drama at its heart.
Seven Samurai, Dir: Akira Kurosawa, 1954, Certificate PG
An undisputed classic of Japanese cinema, this rip-roaring tale of seven ronin (itinerant samurai) employed by villagers to protect them is a must-see for anyone interested in Japanese culture. One of the most influential films of all time, it was adapted into classic western The Magnificent Seven in 1960 and was a major source of inspiration for George Lucas while he was making the original Star Wars series.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Dir: Mamoru Hosoda, 2006, Certificate 12
In this teenage sci-fi drama, klutzy schoolgirl Makoto discovers that she has the ability to go back in time. At first, she uses her new-found powers to eat more food, avoid being late for school and to re-live a particularly fun evening of karaoke. It isn’t long however, before she starts running into some obstacles. This is a fun and engaging film and is beautifully animated.
Our Little Sister, Dir: Hirokazu Koreeda, 2015, Certificate PG
This heart-warming film is about three adult sisters who meet their teenage half-sister for the first time. It is set in the pretty coastal city of Kamakura and gives a vivid picture of family life in Japan. The numerous scenes involving mouth-watering food are sure to get you excited for your trip!
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