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Joanna Lumley's Japan
E1 of 3
Series 1 - Episode 1
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If you’ve travelled with her before (to Greece or Egypt, through Russia or to see the northern lights), you’ll know that Joanna Lumley doesn’t make incisive comments or offer political analysis during her trips. She’s more of a breathily cooed “Oh that’s wonderful… so beautiful” sort of guide. But while she’s not going to challenge your intellect, she has such a zest for life that it’s impossible not to be wafted along with her on a tidal wave of charm and enthusiasm.
She starts her journey in snowy northern Japan: “It’s like driving through Narnia!” she smiles despite fretting about breaking the speed limit. Then she marvels at towering ice sculptures, falls under the spell of cute macaque monkeys in Nagano’s hot springs, sips sake and dodges the sparks at a Shinto fire festival.
“It’s an immaculate country,” is how she describes the landscape, although a brief visit to what’s left of Fukushima, the town at the centre of a nuclear disaster in 2011, is anything but immaculate.
Joanna begins a 2,000-mile journey across Japan in Hokkaido, where she meets one of the most important animals in Japanese culture, the red-crowned crane. She arrives in Sapporo during the middle of the annual Snow Festival and meets members of the local indigenous community, before travelling into the Fukushima exclusion zone and taking a bullet train from Nagano to Tokyo.
Cast & Crew
Full Episode Guide
Joanna Lumley on Japan: "I wanted to try to get behind this most mysterious country"
When the actress came back from Japan, we asked her about the highlights - from dancing birds to a cathedral of ice
Absolutely Fabulous news! Joanna Lumley to receive BAFTA Fellowship
Joanna Lumley beats Michael Palin to be voted top travel companion for over 50s
National Television Awards: Joanna Lumley receives Special Recognition Award
Freeview film of the day: The Deer Hunter
Love Island’s Simon reveals his regrets over Montana after he is dumped from the show
Joanna Lumley on finding Elvis in Memphis - and meeting Priscilla Presley
Joanna Lumley on returning to Russia 50 years after vowing never to return