"The shooting location of the soon to be released movie "Jin Jin," Kenbuchi Town" - Part One of the 'Hokkaido Local Treasures' series.
Now that the long Hokkaido cold season is coming to an end, tourism is finally picking back up! If you plan on visiting Hokkaido you should certainly visit the famous landmarks, but for those interested in exploring a bit off the regular path allow me to introduce you to some new places!
In this series I plan on introducing you to unique spots in Hokkaido used as the shooting location in movies!
Hokkaido locations have been used in over 400 movies and I'll be introducing the real world spot as well as the movies they helped create!
For this first article, I'll be introducing the town used to shoot the upcoming film "Jin Jin" which comes out on May 18th.
The movie is about the bond between parents and their children and focuses on the actor Daichi Yasuo's character.
The main shooting location for this movie was Kenbuchi town, which can be found about 45 kilometers north of Asahikawa.
This small town has a population of only 3,500, but there are some well known features that attract many visitors.
One of these is the fascinating history of "Picture Books" in the town.
Starting 25 years ago the community began to work on developing the image of a "Picture Book Town" and this is actually what led to the creation of the movie "Jin Jin."
The building pictured above is the unique "Picture Book Museum" which helped the town get its nickname.
Traditional Japanese storytelling events have been held here for many years by local residents. Mr. Diachi was deeply moved by this event when he visited the town and four years later he began to make the movie "Jin Jin."
"Picture books are a magical thing, which require the imagination of the reader to really work. They teach that there is a powerful force that helps us grow through our lives." explained Mr. Daichi.
Of course, this unique "Picture Book Museum" is featured in one of the movie's more important scenes.
One of the main themes of the film is the "Power of the Picture Book" and how it brings people closer together. Also featured on screen is the expansive wilderness of the Hokkaido summer.
The rural landscape with majestic blue skies and lush hills.
The open atmosphere of Kenbuchi town helps give a homely feeling to the film's story.
There was another unusual tourist spot featured in the film as well.
The "Viva Alpaca Ranch" raises the South American animal right here in Hokkaido! This is the first place in Hokkaido to breed alpaca, with their large eyes and fluffy fur.
The actors fell in love with them quite quickly.
The farm is open year round, but I suggest you visit during the end of May or early June to catch a peek of them getting sheared!
If you want to take a break and enjoy a delicious snack, why not stop by the "Mori no Toki" cake shop at the edge of town.
In the furniture showroom there is a space set aside as a cafe, where you can enjoy some delicious coffee and cake.
The atmosphere in the shop is quite modern and was used in several scenes in the movie.
Nearly 2,000 Kenbuchi residents were used as extras in the film.
They gave the movie an authentic feel, and their kindness and generosity is quite evident in the film.
After you see the film be sure to visit Kenbuchi Town, where it was filmed!
You're sure to have a great time, whether enjoying a picture book, watching the alpaca, or just soaking in the beautiful nature of the area.
"Jin Jin" the movie.
Releasing on May 18th at Sapporo Cinema Frontier, Kino theater, and the Asahikawa Cineplex.
Official Site: http://www.jinjin-movie.com/
Picture Book Museum: http://ehon-yakata.com/
※Our previous article on the museum:
Viva Alpaca Ranch: http://www.viva-alpaca.jp/
Mori no Toki: http://www.morinotoki.jp/
(Hokkaido Likers Writer - Nanae Aratame)
・Northern Video Museum: http://kitanoeizou.net/
・Hokkaido Magazine "Kai": http://www.kai-hokkaido.com/