Hulu’s Shogun: All the Sites Where the Historical Show is Shot

Under the creative direction of Rachel Kondo and Justin Marks, ‘Shôgun’ is an enthralling adaptation of James Clavell’s novel of the same name. The miniseries is set amidst the tumultuous backdrop of Japan in the year 1600, a time marked by the brink of a century-defining civil war. Lord Yoshii Toranaga (Hiroyuki Sanada ) is embroiled in a struggle for survival as enemies within the Council of Regents conspire against him. The narrative unfurls with the discovery of a mysterious European vessel stranded in a nearby fishing village, heralding the arrival of its English pilot, John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis).

Blackthorne carries with him a cache of secrets that could potentially shift the balance of power, posing a threat to the formidable adversaries of Toranaga – the Jesuit priests and Portuguese merchants. As alliances form and loyalties are tested, the fate of Toranaga and Blackthorne becomes intricately intertwined with that of their enigmatic translator, Toda Mariko (Anna Sawai), the last scion of a disgraced lineage grappling with her faith, familial duty, and newfound companionship. Against the stunning vistas of feudal Japan, we are transported to a realm of breathtaking natural beauty and intricate architectural marvels. The show depicts spectacular settings, from the serene countryside to the bustling streets of Edo-period cities, possibly igniting curiosity regarding where it is filmed.

Shogun Filming Locations

‘Shogun’ is primarily filmed in British Columbia, with some scenes being lensed in England and Japan. Principal photography of the first season began on September 22, 2021, and was wrapped up by June 30, 2022. The inaugural season of the show was initially set to begin shooting in March 2019 but was postponed by the network to aim for higher production standards. The production faced further challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictions, causing further delays in filming. Allow us to take you through the destinations chosen by the showrunners to recreate the ancient Japan seen in ‘Shogun.’

Ucluelet, British Columbia

A portion of the filming of ‘Shogun’ takes place in the district municipality of Ucluelet on the western part of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The production team carried out the first leg of filming for season 1 in the region. With its dramatic coastline, pristine beaches, and lush rainforests, Ucluelet stands in for parts of the Edo-period Japanese landscape. In particular, sites near Tofino airport and the Wya Point Beach at the southern end of Willowbrae Road become shooting locations depicting serene Japanese landscapes in the show. “We wanted to open the show with the beautiful scenery of the Wya Point Beach in Ucluelet,” said producer Erin Smith.

Image Credit: FX Networks/YouTube

Erin added, “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.” The production team had to carry around an enormous load of costumes, wigs, and equipment, consuming significant preparation time for each actor to dress up before shooting and dress down after ending each day. A large number of trucks and trailers were required to transport the production resources along with 340 cast and crew members. Additionally, the team faced challenges in logistics with road closures and ferry reservations, which likely took them to Kvarno Island.

Metro Vancouver, British Columbia

Several sites and studios in Vancouver are used to recreate authentic Edo-period Japanese backdrops seen in the series. Most of the settings of the show are actually created using two massive backlots, soundstages, and a remote mountainside in the port city. Known as the Hollywood North alongside Toronto, Vancouver provides a range of state-of-the-art facilities and sound stages for ‘Shogun.’ These are utilized to emulate Japan in the year 1600 with astounding detail meticulously.

One of these sets is constructed in Port Moody. A quaint city nestled along the end of the Burrard Inlet, Port Moody boasts stunning waterfront views of the mountains rimming Fraser Valley, offering an awe-inspiring likeness to the intended coastal Japanese landscape. The old Flavelle sawmill on 2400 Murray Street saw the construction of a feudal Japanese village in July of 2021, with wooden huts and a larger wooden framed structure. Further shooting for the series is carried out on Esplanade Ave leading up to the pier.


In the very initial stages, filming for the series was set to begin in Japan, but with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the bulk of production was moved to Vancouver over the course of a year and a half. Yet, many shots of the irreplaceable Japanese landscapes and monuments find their way into the show’s episodes. Locals across Japan hold well-preserved historical districts, traditional wooden buildings, and picturesque temples and shrines, perfect for the recreation of the world of ‘Shogun.’

London, England

The charming city of London in England also serves as a shooting site for ‘Shogun.’ In particular, the cast and crew visited the city to lens a minor portion of the first season. In 2019, with the film’s production inching along at a snail’s pace, the studio was at risk of losing rights to the ‘Shôgun’ property. Therefore, a scene was shot in London, with actor Hiroyuki Sanada on horseback in front of a fire.

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