Sunday, April 21

Shōgun Wasn’t Actually Filmed in Japan


ADAPTED FROM THE bestselling historical novel, FX’s new limited series Shōgun is fast becoming appointment television. The show focuses on the political ascent of daimyo regent Yoshii Toranaga (Hiroyuki Sanada) in feudal Japan amidst cultural and religious tension with Portuguese interlopers, as witnessed by stranded English navigator John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis). Both of these characters, as well as many other figures in the sprawling cast, are inspired by real-life figures from the 17th century, and the factually-based narrative unfolds in rich, often brutal detail.

In addition to the critically-praised central performances, the period setting and lavish scenery makes Shōgun a visually arresting watch—but you might be surprised to learn that much of the series was not filmed in Japan. The show was originally intended to be shot entirely in Japan, but lengthy delays caused by Covid led to production being relocated. However, some establishing shots of significant locations were captured there.


Shōgun was filmed in British Columbia, Canada.

A number of locations in the scenic, forest-filled Canadian province of British Columbia stood in for Japanese settings. For instance, a beach in Ucluelet on the western coast of Vancouver Island provides the backdrop for Shōgun‘s opening sequence, in which the Dutch trading ship Erasmus comes ashore in Japan.

“We wanted to open the show with the beautiful scenery of the Wya Point Beach in Ucluelet,” producer Erin Smith told CTV. “It’s a very beautiful place. We have a lot of cast and crew from Japan that were quite fascinated and blown away by the resemblance of that spot to Japan.”

Port Moody was also a primary filming location, with many sets for the show being built there, where its proximity to the ocean and green hills made it a perfect stand-in for the island nation of Japan.

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