Halfway through the middle of my course at Japanese language school, my teacher asked if anyone had gone to the movies since moving to Japan. No one raised their hand. She asked why, and most if not all of my classmates said they felt intimidated because they couldn’t understand enough Japanese to watch a movie without subtitles.
While the movie-going experience is pretty much universal, there are some things to look out for.
Looking back, I realized that one of the fastest ways to get a more native understanding of Japanese is to immerse yourself in pop culture. Immersion allows you to learn new vocabulary and grammar points you may not have come across in JLPT review guides. Try listening to J-Pop, watching Japanese Youtubers, or if you live in Japan taking a trip to the movies!
While the movie-going experience is pretty much universal, there are some things to look out for. In this Kanji guide, you’ll learn the how-tos of watching a movie at the theatre in Japan.
Going to the movies
Search for the movie theatre nearest you by placing 映画館 (eigakan) on Google maps. If you happen to live in Tokyo, there are tons of theatres around Shinjuku and Shibuya.
Once you enter the lobby, check for the screening schedule, or 上映スケジュール (joueisukejuru). When you see it be sure to double-check if the movie you want to watch is subtitled 字幕 (jimaku) or dubbed 吹き替え (fukikae). After deciding on which type of movie you’d like to see, now it’s time to buy your ticket.
Tickets types and pricing
In Japan, ticket prices vary depending on how old you are. General admission 一般 (ippan) is normally ¥1,900. For elementary, junior high, and high school students it only costs ¥1,000.
If you are a university student 大学生 (daigakusei), however, it’s about ¥1,500.
For senior citizens シニア (shinia) tickets are around ¥1,200.
|Elementary and junior high school students||小中学生||shouchuugakusei|
|High school student||高校生||koukousei|
If you think movie tickets in Japan are expensive, you’re not alone. In the Philippines where I’m from, regular movies are normally priced at around ¥400 and about ¥800 for 3D movies.
There are a few ways to save some cash, though. For women, watch out for “ladies day” レディースデイ 三?片日本三?片日本,18个禁止18个禁止(redisudei) which is typically Wednesday. On that day, women only have to pay ¥1,200.
If you’re married and one or both of you are over 50 years old then take advantage of the “couples discount” 夫婦割引 (fufuwaribiki) for only ¥2,400 per pair. Sounds pretty good, right?
|Couple discount (over 50 years old)||夫婦割引（５０歳以上）||fufuwaribiki (gojuusaiijou)|
In the end, while going to the movies in Japan might seem intimidating and a tad bit expensive, it’s an experience worth having and a great way to up your listening skills.