Stopping By Toho Studios

Above, standing at the main entrance to Toho Studios, is a man-sized statue of Godzilla.

Text and photos by Armand Vaquer

While I was in Tokyo this month, I headed over to the Setagaya ward to see the new (about three years old new) Godzilla statue and the Seven Samurai mural at the entrance to Toho Studios.

The last time I visited Toho Studios was in November 2001. At the time, Toho was still producing Godzilla movies. Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) premiered the next day after my studio visit at the Tokyo International Film Festival.

When I was at Toho Studios back then, older sound stages, the giant pool and facilities still existed. After the release of Godzilla Final Wars in 2004, many of those facilities, giant pool and sound stages were torn down and replaced with new sound stages and facilities, which included a new main gate area.

I did not step foot inside the studio on this trip, but I was able to see from the outside some of the changes made within the studio. I took some pictures during this visit. Click on the images to see them larger.

Above, a mural honoring one of Toho's most revered movies, "Seven Samurai."

Above, here I am with the Godzilla statue.

Above, studio workers walk past a mural of Mothra. The mural is located down the driveway from the main gate to the studio.

Above, this is a flood control canal that is alongside of the studio property.

Above, this is a side entrance into the studio. To reach the gate, one has to cross a bridge over the flood control canal.

Above, the Toho Sound Studio is located just outside the side entrance into the main studio lot.

Above, this view through the trees is of the Toho main lot. On the left is an older sound stage. To the right of it is a new soundstage facility, which stands roughly on the former site of the giant pool. The side entrance bridge is to the right.

Above, another view of the Toho Sound Studio, this time from the flood control canal. Note the beer vending machine in front.

Above, another shot with the Godzilla statue with a copy of "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan." Fans can also use the guide to get them to the studios.

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