G-TOUR II 2011
After a span of seven years since the first G-TOUR, a smaller group of thirty five G-fans made the journey to Japan for G-TOUR II, from August 2nd to August 12th. Many unique experiences were had, and new friendships forged by a group consisting of fresh newcomers, first G-TOUR alumni, and well seasoned travelers.
Many spectacular places were visited, including Tokyo, Mibu, Ikebukuro, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Otsu, Okayama, Fukuoka, and Nagoya. The defining moment had to be the entry and tour of Toho Studios, an unprecedented event for anyone, let alone foreign travelers. Orchestrated by actor Akira Takarada, G-fans got to visit sound stages, view a Godzilla movie in Toho’s screening theater, and have a Q and A session with an array of kaiju eiga actors and directors. The pinnacle of the event was reached when Mr. Takarada unveiled, and granted full access to the original Oxygen Destroyer and diving helmet props from 1954‘s Gojira! It was an astonishing, once in a lifetime moment. Later that evening, festivities continued at Shabu Zen restaurant hosted by Mr. Takarada. Much food and sake was consumed, stories were traded, and fond memories recalled of an unbelievable day.
This early part of G-TOUR II was a real treat for kaiju fans, but it didn’t let up there. Other spectacular events were visiting the Bandai Museum, and attending the 2011 Ultraman Festival, which included a live choreographed monster battle stage show. The museum and festival were both overwhelming, and a delight for fans of ALL ages! G-TOUR II wasn’t just about giant monsters though, many other magnificent locations of historical and cultural interest were also visited. These included tours of Osaka and Nagoya castles, Rokuon-ji and Mii-dera Onjo-ji Temples, Korakuen Garden, breathtaking views of Mount Aso, and a fantastic fireworks display over Lake Biwa in celebration of Japan’s Obon Festival.
G-TOUR II was a rare opportunity to experience the wonders and beauty of Japan with other G-fans. If you missed this unforgettable event, you can read J.D. Lees’s travel diary, a day by day account of G-TOUR II in G-FAN Magazine #97, which can be found on the back issues page.