Joanna Lumley's Japan

Joanna Lumley's Japan

Series 1 - Episode 1



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

Presenter Joanna Lumley
Director Neil Ferguson
Editor Doug Bryson
Executive Producer Clive Tulloh
Executive Producer Joanna Lumley
Producer Erica Jenkin
Producer Neil Ferguson
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