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Shogun filming locations | Where was Shogun filmed?

The historical drama series Shogun filming locations is set in feudal Japan. But most of the filming did not actually take place in Asia. While some establishing landscape shots were filmed on location in Japan, the bulk of production happened elsewhere due to delays and practical challenges.

Originally, producers hoped to film entirely in Japan and began pre-production there in 2019. However, various delays in early planning stages led the network FX to halt filming temporarily. Then the COVID-19 pandemic further stalled production.

With tight deadlines, the creators decided relocating was necessary. As a result, principal photography moved out of Japan almost entirely.

Shogun filming locations

Shogun filming locations

Only a single scene with the lead actor riding a horse ended up being filmed on location in London, England. This helped retain rights to the project during early delays.

Otherwise, the vast majority of the 10-episode limited series shot interiors and other scenes in North America instead. Rescheduling and moving filming out of Japan was crucial for completing the long-awaited onscreen adaptation of James Clavell’s novel Shogun. Audiences will finally get to see the final product when the show premieres on FX sometime in 2023.

Where was Shogun filmed?

Although set in medieval Japan, the TV miniseries Shogun was actually filmed mostly in Canada. Specifically, the production team shot in several spots around British Columbia.

As the show's producer Erin Smith explained, the creators searched globally but chose Canada for its resemblance to Japanese landscapes. The opening sequence on a beach was filmed on Wya Point Beach in Ucluelet on Vancouver Island. With its coastal views and forests, many members of the Japanese crew felt Ucluelet captured the essence of their homeland.

Of course, being on an island did make accessing equipment trickier during filming. So the team also used Port Moody near Vancouver for constructing sets and the bulk of shooting. Port Moody offered flexible studio space to mimic Japanese castle interiors and other environments.

Vancouver and surroundings have become a popular filming destination thanks to exceptional studios and picturesque outdoor sites. With world-class production infrastructure in nearby cities, filming crews don't actually have to travel all the way to Asia to portray a Japanese setting convincingly. This allowed the creators of Shogun to craft an immersive, historically authentic viewing experience for audiences right here on the Canadian west coast.


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