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BlogTravel buzzWhere was “Shōgun” filmed? Discover the real locations in Japan & beyond that inspired the show’s filming locations
Travel buzz

Where was “Shōgun” filmed? Discover the real locations in Japan & beyond that inspired the show’s filming locations

Jun 14, 2024 by The Go Ahead Tours Team

Shōgun, a fictional TV show about life in 17th-century Japan, has us dreaming of our next trip to Japan. But did you know that most of Shōgun’s filming locations are actually in British Columbia—with a sprinkling of UK shots, too? That means we’re also craving immersive Canada tours and London tours! If the Shōgun series has inspired you to plan your next trip, read on to find out which tours can bring you closer to the places you might have only seen on your TV screens.

What’s the 2024 show Shōgun about?

This beautifully shot historical drama based on the 1975 novel by James Clavell has been compared to Game of Thrones. That’s because the story is a fictional take on 17th-century Japan and the political dynamics that led to the founding of the Tokugawa Shōgunate, the military government that led Japan until 1868. Both the intrigue and gorgeous scenery have captivated audiences since the series debuted in early 2024. It’s also become one of the TV shows that has inspired travel enthusiasts as they plan future trips. It’s yet another example of how set jetting is influencing the way we travel.

What’s set jetting?

During today’s golden age of television, a great series doesn’t just transport us through impeccable storytelling, it also inspires our wanderlust. You may have heard of one of the latest trends in travel called set jetting, where you travel to the stunning destinations featured in your favorite shows, movies, and books. Whether you explore the historic Old Town of Dubrovnik featured in Game of Thrones or walk through the expansive Scottish moors seen in Outlander, some of the most sought-after travel experiences are tied to the scenes we’re seeing on our screens. Next on our list are the atmospheric and dramatic places that Shōgun filming locations can take us to. Here are some itineraries—including Japanese tours, London tours, and Canada tours—that will bring your Shōgun fantasy to life.

Shōgun filming locations in Canada

Most of Shōgun’s filming locations are actually in Port Moody, located just 30 minutes east of Vancouver and Ucluelet on the western edge of Vancouver Island. Most of the filming took place in British Columbia because of pandemic-related restrictions, but it turns out western Canada was the perfect stand-in for Japan.

Our Canadian Rockies by Train: Banff, Lake Louise & Vancouver tour spends two nights in Vancouver, and you could spend a free afternoon popping over to Port Moody to check out Rocky Point Public Boat Launch. This is where a lot of the scenes meant to depict the port of Osaka, Japan, were filmed. However, this Canada tour offers a lot more than that. In addition to visiting gorgeous Rocky Mountain towns like Banff and its nearby lakes, as well as the Athabasca Glacier in the Icefields Parkway, you’ll also get to board the vintage Rocky Mountaineer train and experience its Old-World charms while seeing more of western Canada’s untamed natural beauty. As the train makes its way west, you’ll get to marvel at towering peaks, glacial lakes, and rushing rivers.

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Places in Japan that inspired Shōgun filming locations

Shōgun as a series may not have been filmed much in Japan (there some exterior shots filmed there), but there are countless scenes in it that harken to the grandeur of Osaka Castle. If you want to see it for yourself, sign up for an Osaka tour. Our Japan: Kyoto, the Japanese Alps & Tokyo tour starts with a couple of days in Osaka, which include a guided visit to the enormous grounds of Osaka Castle. You’ll be impressed with how fortified it is from the outside and how opulent it is from the inside. There’s also a museum there dedicated to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the 16th-century samurai and daimyō who built the castle. In the Shōgun series, Osaka Castle is where a lot of the political power plays take place.

The rest of this Japan tour will take you to Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and the Japanese Alps. You’ll have a plethora of cultural experiences, like shrine visits, a meditation class, and a tour of Kenroku-en, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. Let’s not forget the meals—Japan is known for its incredible food, and you’ll get to sample that, too. One night you’ll be treated to a traditional Kaiseki dinner paired with a sake tasting.

The Shōgun series is meant to depict the Sengoku period, which is when the presence of Portuguese explorers in Japan was mostly centered around the city of Nagasaki in Kyushu. While this was portrayed as taking place in Osaka in the Shōgun series, you can try to seek out real history on our South Korea & Japan: Seoul to Tokyo tour, which includes a day of sightseeing in Nagasaki. On this Japan tour, you’ll learn how the city became Japan’s gateway for western relations, including a visit to Dejima, a 17th-century, man-made island that segregated Portuguese residents from the Japanese population.

The Battle of Sekigahara was only briefly hinted at in the final episode of the series, but it’s an important moment in Japanese history. If you’re interested in learning more about that battle, you can visit the town of Sekigahara during free time in Kyoto, which is less than two hours away. On our Japan for Solo Travelers: Tokyo, Mt. Fuji & Kyoto tour, the final day of the itinerary in Kyoto is yours for the taking, and it could be spent on an immersive adventure seeking out a fantastic Shōgun moment.

Shōgun filming locations in London

London is actually a bonus destination because the Shōgun cast filmed there only briefly. Remember the scene when Lord Yoshii Toranaga was riding a horse by a fire? That was filmed in the UK. There won’t be fire-adjacent horseback riding on our London tours like there was in the Shōgun series, but a trip to the British capital is always full of cultural and historical intrigue. Our London: The City Experience tour combines fascinating sightseeing to Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Trafalgar Square with plenty of free time for you to independently explore one of the world’s greatest cities. You could visit world-class museums, indulge in a glorious afternoon tea experience, or go shopping. London has actually been the star of so many Hollywood classics, from Notting Hill, Love, Actually, and Bridget Jones’ Diary. See how many iconic scenes from those films you could spot on your next trip to London.

Ready to see the stunning places that made Shōgun a major hit? Shop our Japan tours, Canada trips, and London tours now.

About the author | The Go Ahead Tours Team
We’re a team of passionate travel experts, dedicated to helping people explore the world. From inspiring stories to tips for an amazing trip, the topics we cover are all about getting you out there and making discoveries.

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