Always wanted to try a Japanese movie theater experience but never dared to because of the language barrier? Fear no more! Let me recommend this foreigners friendly movie theater – the Shinjuku Wald 9 Cinema!
Last week I had the great chance to be offered a tour around what is possibly one of the biggest movie theater I have ever seen in my entire life! Since last May, the Shinjuku Wald 9 launched a multilingual movie program called “YOKOSO!EIGAKAN!”which shows some popular Japanese films (such as the recent One Piece film) with English and Chinese subtitles, for our enjoyment!
Let me introduce you the most unique aspects of movie theaters in Japan, as well as demonstrate how to purchase tickets from an automatic movie tickets vending machine.
So… What makes Japanese movie theaters so different?
1. Themed Everything
When I first set foot in the lobby, I immediately knew that it was a completely different universe to the movie theaters back in my home country of Canada.
Japanese cinemas are famous for selling movie and character-inspired products and food for the period that a specific movie is showing. For example, Shinjuku Wald 9 made a One Piece-themed popcorn flavour when they were showing the One Piece movie earlier this year. It was a smoky barbecue flavour, to fit the spicy temper of pirates!
However this time, Shinjuku Wald 9 has many foods stands on different floors, selling limited edition drinks and food including warm chicken sandwiches, donuts and jellies.
2. Movie + Beer
Back in Canada, drinking alcohol into the movie theaters is not common practice. However, in Japan they casually sell liquour or popcorn and beer sets.
3. Japanese Hospitality
Even with its 1800 seats, the Shinjuku Wald 9 Cinema succeeds at mastering Japanese hospitality. Feeling a bit cold in the room? Just pick up a free blanket offered at the door! You came with a small child and worry about the height of other customers? Never mind! Free leather cushions are also available to adjust children’s seat’s height (also available for shorter people, you know the struggle).
4. Smoking Rooms
Need a smoking break mid-movie? Many Japanese cinemas have got you covered! As opposed to restaurant where indoor smoking is still a practice, at Shinjuku Wald 9, smoking rooms allow everyone to enjoy their movie with clean air.
5. You won’t find jumbo-sized popcorn buckets, but you will find awesome popcorn flavours
The biggest popcorn size available at Shinjuku Wald 9 is an L – for large. Back in Canada, the largest size you can get is probably three times as big as the largest in Japan! Whilst you can definitely order the classic butter popcorn in a massive bucket in Western cinemas, as most of Asia Japan’s favorite flavours are rather sweet such as caramel or even chocolate!
6. Chirashi Culture
Chirashi is the Japanese word for ‘leaflet’. In many Western cinemas, you won’t find any, but here in Japan it is not rare to find stands filled with leaflets, popular especially with high students who collect them and fill their bedroom walls with mosaic of their favourite actors.
Free souvenirs from the tour
After enjoying gourmet set, don’t forget to carefully sort out your trash
Now here is a small tutorial on how to use the automatic movie tickets vending machine!
1. Choose the purchase option to the right
2.Pick a date (The big red square is today’s date)
3.Choose your movie, time option and number of people attending (Max.5 people/purchase)
4.Find your favorite seat
5.Pay cash/credit card
DONE! You are all set for a fun experience in a Japanese movie theater! I hope that you will enjoy is as much as I did.