A central area of Japan's Nagano Prefecture has raised its profile in recent years as a moviemaking hot spot, with major productions including the Oscar-winning "Godzilla Minus One" filming there and the local economy seeing tourism by movie lovers from Japan and overseas.

The Suwa area, comprising six municipalities on the shores of Lake Suwa and in the nearby mountains, has become popular not only for its scenic terrain, but also for its convenient proximity to Tokyo and its readiness to accommodate film projects.

A key scene in the latest Godzilla movie, which nabbed a U.S. Academy award earlier this month for best visual effects, was filmed in the region at a former government office building in Okaya. Director Takashi Yamazaki was drawn to the untouched, old-fashioned style of the location for the story set in the 1940s.