Shogun filming locations: Where was the new FX series filmed?

Shogun is an amazing series set in feudal Japan but was it actually filmed in the nation? Find out here!
“SHOGUN” -- "Servants of Two Masters" -- Episode 2 (Airs February 27) Pictured (C): Tadanobu Asano as Kashigi Yabushige. CR: Katie Yu/FX
“SHOGUN” -- "Servants of Two Masters" -- Episode 2 (Airs February 27) Pictured (C): Tadanobu Asano as Kashigi Yabushige. CR: Katie Yu/FX /

Shogun just debuted on FX and Hulu, adapting the acclaimed novel set in Feudal Japan. But was it actually filmed in that nation? Find out here!

Published in 1975, Shogun was a hefty novel by James Clavell with his usual mix of fiction and historical fact, and the third book in Clavell’s “Asian Saga.” It focused on John Blackthorne, an English sailor who washes up on the shores of 16th century Japan. Blackthorne is taken into the house of Lord Toranaga, who’s intrigued by this foreigner. Before long, the pair are involved in a clash of clans that could lead to full-scale war. 

The book was a massive bestseller that became Clavell’s most famous novel. It was adapted into a hit 1980 mini-series with Richard Chamberlain as Blackthorne and Toshiro Mifune as Toranaga, which won the Emmy for Best Limited Series. 

Now, FX is producing a new version that plays closer to the original novel with better production values. The first two episodes have been shown and look great with the question of whether it was really filmed in Japan coming up for viewers.

Where was Shogun filmed?

Given the original 1980 mini-series was filmed entirely on location in Japan (still the only American production to do so), it’s logical to assume the new version was as well. As it happens, it was as far from Japan as one can get.

The plan was to begin filming the series in Japan in 2019, but FX held off at the last minute due to wanting to adjust the production. They did one day filming star Hiroyuki Sanada to retain the property rights. Then, before production could start in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

Due to the restrictions of filming in Japan under their stricter protocols, the producers instead moved the show to Canada. Per Tri-City News, much of the show was filmed in Vancouver, with Port Moody and Ucluelet utilized for the exteriors of forests and recreating the harbor of the era. Soundstages were used for most of the interior scenes, with forest areas standing in for Japan. 

So, as authentic as Shogun may be in capturing the daily life of Feudal Japan, it wasn’t filmed in that nation, which is a testament to just how good it looks.

Shogun streams new episodes Tuesdays on Hulu.

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