Tokyo Holds Bathtub Cinema Event Amid Record Heatwave

Tokyo Bathtub Cinema - H 2018
Courtesy of Shibuya 109 Entertainment

The rooftop film party in Japan's capital city will offer moviegoers a respite from the record-breaking temperatures that have sent more than 70,000 people to hospitals for heatstroke.

Japan's first "bathtub cinema" event will be held for three nights next weekend on the roof of a building overlooking Tokyo's neon-lit Shibuya district. Cinemagoers desperate to escape the blistering heatwave that has enveloped the country since July have already snapped up all of the tickets, despite a $162 (18,000 yen) price tag for a four-person tub.

The event will feature 12 large bathtubs arranged in front of a 220-inch movie screen set up on the roof of the newly reopened Magnet Shibuya 109 building, known for its youth fashion boutiques. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle will play Friday, Aug. 17, followed by Baby Driver on Saturday and Spider-Man: Homecoming on Sunday. 

Food and drink will be served tub-side, and the screenings will be followed by an afterparty with DJs. Organizers warn that the tubs are safe up to a combined weight of 694.5 pounds (315 kg), an average allowance of 174 pounds (78.75 kg) per person.

Japan has been experiencing its hottest summer since record-keeping began in the late 19th century. On July 23 temperatures hit an all-time high of 106°F (41.1°C). The heat has caused more than 115 deaths across the country and sent more than 70,000 to hospitals with heatstroke since July. Nearly 6,000 people have been taken to hospitals in Tokyo alone.

With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to be held from July 24 to Aug. 9, concerns are mounting about the risk from extreme heat and humidity to athletes, particularly in long-distance events. The planned marathon start time has been brought forward to 7 a.m. and the 50 km walk to 6 a.m.

Japan doesn't implement a summer daylight savings time system, but is considering introducing it before the Olympics. The last time Tokyo hosted the Games, in 1964, they were held in October.