Need to get your Star Wars fix? Looking to catch the movie before someone on your Facebook news feed spoils all the major plot points? We've got the details on where to go.
Unfortunately, there aren't any cinemas here in Niseko, but there are a handful of places that you can go to watch the movie while you are here in Hokkaido and we have put together a bit of a list with some of the more convenient ways to make it happen. The movie runs for 150 minutes and is selling out fast at many of the locations listed. It is always best to check online before you plan your trip to the cinema, you can even buy your tickets in advance (but it might be a bit confusing as most of the websites are all in Japanese).
New Chitose Airport Cinema
Possibly one of the most convenient ways to catch Star Wars is by watching it right after you arrive or just before you head home. As of today, there are 3 daily showings of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (1:00, 4:00 and 7:00 pm) at New-Chitose Airport's "Jaga Pokkuru Theater." If you are planning to work that into your schedule, please make sure you update our Concierge Team so that it doesn't overlap with your transfers to the resort!
The cinema is located in the Domestic Terminal Building on the 4th floor of the Oasis Park. Tickets are 1700 yen for adults, and 1400 yen for students (requires proper student ID) and 1000 yen for children and seniors. For more information, check out their website here.
Aeon Cinema Otaru (イオンシネマ小樽)
If you are thinking about doing a day trip to Otaru, you might be able to pair it up with catching The Force Awakens at the local cinema there. If you are going by train, the cinema is located right beside Otaruchikko Station (小樽築港駅 - Otaru chikko eki). Just be careful, there are two versions playing 2D is playing with Japanese subtitles and 3D is playing with Japanese dubbed. Unless you have been really brushing up on your Japanese, make sure you go for 2D or else you will be leaving halfway through in a huff.
The cinema is located in the Wing Bay Otaru Department Shopping Center, if you are going by taxi you can show them this ウイングベイ小樽 (Wing Bay Otaru) and they should be able to get you to the right location. Tickets are 1800 yen for adults, 1500 yen for students, 1000 yen for seniors and children between 3 and 14. For more information, check out their website here (please note, it's all Japanese!)
Sapporo Factory - United Cinemas
If you happen to be in Sapporo for a day or two you might check out Sapporo Factory's United Cinema. The easiest way to get there would be taxi, but it is also a short walk from the "Bus Center Mae Station" on the Tozai Line (Orange Line) of the Sapporo Subway. If you are eager to watch The Force Awakens in full Imax 3D than Cinema United is your best bet. They have Imax 3D with both a dubbed Japanese version and one with original English and Japanese subtitles (meaning you won't need to worry about your conversational Japanese). Just in case, the times for the Japanese subtitle version are 9:00, 12:00, 14:50, 17:40 and 20:30 (currently fixed, but might change later on). If you are really fixing to live in the moment, you may want to try out watching Star Wars in 4DX3D which is 3D with moving chairs and a variety of other added elements designed to heighten your viewing experience.
Tickets vary between 4DX3D, 3D, and 2D. For 4DX3D viewing, tickets are 3200 ten for adults, 2900 for students and 2400 for children. For 3D viewing, the prices are 2200 yen for adults, 1900 yen for students, and 1400 yen for children. For 2D viewing, the prices are 1800 yen, 1500 yen, and 1000 yen respectively. For more information, check out their viewing schedule here. (once again, all in Japanese, but it has pictures to make figuring out times easier).
Sapporo Station - Cinema Frontier
While this option is a little more convenient than Sapporo Factory's United Cinema, as it is located more conveniently in Sapporo Station, it doesn't have Imax 3D theaters (just regular 3D). Cinema Frontier screens all feature sony digital 4K picture and has four out of six screens showing Star Wars in English with Japanese subtitles.
Tickets again vary between 3D and 2D. Tickets are 1800 yen for adults, 1500 yen for students, and 1000 yen for children. For 3D it is an additional 300 yen for each ticket. For more information, check out their viewing schedule here. (All in Japanese and a little hard to navigate).
Final Notes and Recommendations
- Check online for availability and times (may change over the next few weeks)
- Find a good time that fits your schedule (if you can, plan it along your trip in or out of Niseko)
- Make sure you get tickets for an English version with Japanese subtitles
- If you are going for the full experience your best bet is Sapporo Factory - United Cinemas
- If you want convenience and an easier time getting tickets, you might try the theaters in Otaru or at New Chitose Airport
- Check out the cinema gift shop. Japanese cinema tend to have gift shops where you can buy merchandise and you can bet they will be bringing in all kinds of fan-favourites for Star Wars.