Hypnosis on the grandest scale. Toho Cinemas Roppongi Hills with nine screens and 2,100 seats | Photo by Mine Serizawa

The cost of seeing releases on the big screen can be daunting–or colloquially, a total rip-off. General admission-slash-extortion at any of the Toho Cinemas locations is 1,800yen, and the college student rates of 1,500yen aren’t much better. The additional 650yen expenditure for a large popcorn and drink often drove me to guilt and distraction during outings to the palatial Roppongi Hills megaplex; I felt, distinctly, like an imposter in the culture of leisure to which movie-going inevitably belongs.

Suggested Activity
Challenge Sumo Wrestlers and Enjoy Lunch
Eat, train, and fight like a real Japanese sumo wrestler during this sumo demonstration and authentic 'Chanko Nabe' (hotpot) meal.

Thankfully, the fascination of the movies (what Roland Barthes calls “the body’s freedom” in “the urban dark”) would not be withheld from those of us with cheapskate inclinations. The 10am Film Festival is now running for the third year consecutively at the Toho Cinemas Miyukiza theater in Ginza, in walking distance of the Imperial Hotel, Hibiya Park, and the restaurants crammed into the arches beneath the Yamanote Line.

Tickets cost only 1,000yen for adults and 500yen for students. The morning-only premise having been ditched, films run all day–so 10am attendance is optional but non-compulsory. Check out the festival’s website (in Japanese only) for more information about the films and venues.

The festival is also running, with a different line-up, at Tachikawa Cinema City. Films to be shown at the two theaters for the rest of the summer include classics from the ’30s through to the ’80s, with a scanty nod to international film at summer’s end:

DatesToho Cinemas MiyukizaTachikawa Cinema City
June 30-July 6The Deer HunterCarrie
July 7-13The Longest YardThe Magnificent Seven
July 14-20The HustlerA Fistful of Dollars
July 21-27The Bad News BearsShane
July 28-August 3Breaking AwayThe Big Country
August 4-10E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: The 20th Anniversary (1982)Gone with the Wind
August 11-17Edward ScissorhandsDr. Zhivago
August 18-24Back to the FutureSundays and Cybele (Fr. Les Dimanches de ville d’Avray)
August 25-31American GraffitiMiracle of Marcelino (Sp. Marcelino pan y vino)

When the festival ends on February 15, 2013, some advice that may already be common knowledge will remain relevant and infinitely handy.

– Toho Cinemas offer 500yen discounts (i.e., from 1,800 to 1,300yen) if you make ticket reservations online. Bypass the ticket line and enter your reservation code at the ticket machines to print your ticket.

– On “First day” and “Toho Cinemas Day”—the first and fourteenth day of the month, respectively—tickets are available for only 1,000yen. An added advantage for female film-goers is the 1000-yen tickets on “Ladies’ Service Day” every Wednesday. Taking advantage of these discounts requires some planning ahead, but strikes me as well worth the inconvenience. And there is something especially lovely about telling your responsibilities to shove off midweek–and going to the body’s freedom at the movies.

Tip: Concession stand rates will always be outrageous. Bring your own supplies from a convenience or 100-yen store; or grab a copy of the Toho Cinemas information magazine, available for free immediately on the left through the main entrance, and clip the popcorn discount coupon.


Toho Cinemas Roppongi Hills

View Larger Map

Suggested Activity
Get Tickets To the Samurai Restaurant in Shinjuku [11% OFF]
Experience one of the craziest, most colorful places in Tokyo — the all-new Samurai Restaurant, from the creators of the Robot Restaurant. Get your tickets and sit back for a wild show of lasers, lights, samurai, dancers and other uniquely Japanese weirdness. ...

Toho Cinemas Miyukiza

View Larger Map

Name:Toho Cinemas Roppongi HillsToho Cinemas Miyukiza
Location:6-10-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo1-1-3 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Closest Station:Roppongi Station, three-minute walk from exit 1C (Hibiya) or six-minute walk from exit 3 (Oedo)Hibiya Station, exit A5 (Toei Mita) or exit A13 (Chiyoda); Yurakucho Station, exit A5 (Yurakucho) or Hibiya exit (JR); Ginza Station, exit C1 (Ginza, Marunouchi)
Business hours:Showtimes vary; open to calls 10am-9pmShowtimes vary
Ask our local experts about Tokyo

Get our Tokyo Cheapo Hacks direct to your inbox

Watch this next