On the outskirts of Saitama, this half-theater-half-museum is a chance to slip through time.
Fukaya Cinema may seem to be a bit of a misnomer when you actually go there. Sure, there’s a mini-theater where you can watch movies, but the building looks like it belongs in a period drama. Formerly the Nanatsu-Ume Sake Brewery, built in 1694, today Fukaya Cinema is a Jack of all trades – movie and performance theater, event space and occasional TV set.
The only brewery-turned-cinema in Japan, Fukaya’s exterior remains as it has always been. Inside, the place is delightfully cozy. The two or three movies on the monthly schedule are shown with 35-mm film in keeping with the retro atmosphere, while there’s only seating for 60 people.
The movies shown – often foreign – are ones that you won’t find in any other theater in the Kanto region and you can watch them for only 1100 yen, any day of the week. Make yourself right at home by borrowing a blanket if you’re feeling a little chilly.
After you watch your movie, you might want to relax for a bit before returning to the real world. Fortunately, the old brewery is perfect for a stroll back in time. There are shops selling handmade crafts, local sake and old books. Art-enthusiasts will enjoy the two small gallery spaces too. Even if you don’t step inside any of the shops, you can still enjoy the Showa-style buildings and catch a glimpse of the inner workings of an old Japanese sake brewery.