SciFi Japan

    G-TOUR 3.5: “Kaiju full body immersion”

    Author: Stan Hyde Official Site:

    Although typically G-Tour’s have toured around several locations in Japan, this 3.5 Tour was conceived to celebrate SHIN GODZILLA, the first Japanese Godzilla movie since 2004’s GODZILLA FINAL WARS. With some indications that SHIN GODZILLA might not be playing in North America for some time, the tour seems even more timely now. Focused on Tokyo, this tour is a ‘full body immersion’ in kaiju culture. We stay at the Hotel Gracery in Shinjuku . . . Godzilla’s hotel, with a full sized-replica of Godzilla’s head and claw gracing the roof. We stay in the same hotel in Shinjuku for the entire time, so besides having the exciting environment of Shinjuku as our homebase, we also won’t have to carry luggage to multiple locations. On the first full day we visit Wonder Festival 2016, Summer, in Makuhari. Wonder Festival is an incredible experience. Sponsored by Kaiyodo the show does feature many large companies previewing their up-coming products, but the heart and soul of the show are the hundreds of sculptors and artists who are selling one-of-a-kind items, many for sale only on that day. Frankly, the experience of seeing so much creativity in one place and at one time is overwhelming and inspiring, and I’m sure anyone who is interested in kaiju models, toys, and figures will have a terrific time. Highlights include the X-Plus booth, kaiju sculptors like Yuji Sakai, T’s Facto, Shinzen, and much, much more.

    Of course, one of the highlights of G-Tour has always been sharing a Japan experience with a bus filled with kaiju fans. While in Tokyo, we’ll visit famous sites (and kaiju movie locations) like the Ginza, Yurakucho, Hibiya, Asakusa, Ueno, Skytree, and more. (We have been known to watch some Ultraman episodes or a kaiju movie on the television inside the bus . . . and to have some spirited sing-a-longs to the Ultraman theme and other kaiju music standards.) One July 25th we’ll visit Odaiba, the site of the life-sized Gundam statue and the home of the Gundam Front museum. (Also home to Venus Fort so that those who aren’t interested in mecha can do some non-kaiju shopping.) Like most of the places we visit, Odaiba has a kaiju-connection, in this case as a location of “Godzilla vs Megaguirus” in 2000. We’ll also see the Giant Majin statues at Chofu Daiei Studio . . . the home of the Gamera series in the 1990s. July 27th sees the tour visiting the Ghibli Museum. Designed by Hayao Miyazaki in a free form style that allows the visitor to wander wherever they like and still absorb the history and technology of animated film, it’s one of the most unique film museums on the planet and a showcase of the creative arts. As enchanting as the films from Studio Ghibli, the exhibits track the various production stages of an animated film in a visual format that really allows the visitor to learn by seeing. On July 29th, we visit the Ikebukuro 50th Anniversary Ultra-Festival. Celebrating Ultraman and the kaiju from the long-running series, the show includes model, suit and prop displays, as well as a live-action show and lots of opportunity for specialized Ultraman themed shopping. This has always been one of the highlights of previous G-Tours, and we’re hoping the show for the anniversary year is even more exciting than usual. That night - July 29th - we’ll attend the opening of SHIN GODZILLA, the highlight of the trip. On the next day, we’ll have a “Let’s talk about SHIN GODZILLA” meeting with Japanese speakers who attended the film, so that those of us who only speak english will have a little more insight into what we’ve seen. We’ll attend the film for a second time on the evening of July 30th, so hopefully with some extra understanding of the plot, the second viewing will be an even greater experience.

    As well, on the evening of July 30th we’ll be dining at the Kaiju-Sakaba in Kawasaki, the restaurant that is “run” by the Tsuburaya kaiju from Ultraman. We’re hoping that this will be a joint meeting with Monster Attack Team (and we’re also hoping that one of the viewings of Shin Godzilla will be a shared viewing with Monster Attack Team).

    It wouldn’t be a G-Tour without a kaiju shopping experience too. Besides opportunities to explore kaiju goods at Wonder Fest and Ultra Festival, we’ll visit Nakano Broadway on July 27th, home of one of the largest Mandarake stores in Japan. Mandarake is a popular store that deals in collectibles, both second hand and new, including kaiju toys and models, artwork, books and magazines, and cosplay items. The Nakano Broadway site also boasts multiple floors of other stores featuring models and toys, costumes, books, magazines, anime cel art, movie posters, and other otaku goods. We’ll also visit Akihabara on July 29th, a popular neighbourhood with fans which also has many favorite stores including another Mandarake store, a Volks model shop, the Kaiyodo Tokyo showroom, Yodobashi Camera, and many more. We have left some flexibility in the tour schedule in case any opportunities come up (currently we have a day which cites “Toei Studio and/or Ultraman Street,” and some of our full day Tokyo tours may be altered slightly if possibilities arise.) Often, we have managed to meet up with some very special guests in Tokyo, but we can’t promise if we will or who we might meet at this time. Certainly we will be meeting the newest incarnation of GODZILLA! For now, it’s enough to celebrate his return. All in all, the tour includes transportation to events, hotel fees, and admission to Wonder Festival, Tokyo Skytree Tour, two viewings of SHIN GODZILLA, the Ikebukuro Ultra Festival, the Ghibli Museum, and the Kaiju-Sakaba dining experience. There may be an optional event - a Tokyo River Cruise dinner, which will cost 15,000yen per person. (We’ll need a minimum of 10 participants for this to go forward.) Tour participants have to arrange their own flight to Tokyo. Although published application forms say that the G-Tour 3.5 application is due by April 15th, we have extended the deadline until at least April 30th (or until the tour is filled). If you are interested in a detailed itinerary and an application form, you can get them from the site at Please think about joining us for this celebration of kaiju culture and SHIN GODZILLA!

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