Joanna Lumley's Japan

Joanna Lumley's Japan

Series 1 - Episode 3



There’s a visual cliché that Asian travelogues slip into of “temple-steps TV”, where every other scene shows the presenter scaling the approach to an ancient temple. The first part of tonight’s edition slips into that mode as Joanna Lumley traces a Buddhist pilgrimage route on the island of Shikoku.

Like much of the programme it’s meditatively pleasant, spiritually mellow viewing, with the odd nugget of edification – we learn the local belief that 33 is a problematic age but at 61 you are reborn. But even Lumley’s sang-froid can be tested and one underground memorial from the Second World War reduces her to gasping between tears: “God, what a ghastly place.”


The actress heads to the island of Shikoku hoping to gain a better understanding of Japanese Buddhism. She then takes a bullet train to another island - Kyushu - where she finds the Henn Na Hotel, the world's first robot hotel. At Nagasaki, she visits Shiroyama Elementary school, one of the only buildings to survive the atomic bomb dropped on the city in 1945. Joanna then travels to Sakurajima, one of the country's most active volcanoes, before heading to the islands of Okinawa where one of the bloodiest battles of the Second World War was fought. Last in the series.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Joanna Lumley
Director Ewen Thomson
Editor Guy Crossman
Executive Producer Joanna Lumley
Executive Producer Clive Tulloh
Producer Stephanie Fyfe
Producer Ewen Thomson
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