The novel of "You Only Live Twice" was the last Ian Fleming James Bond novel published during his lifetime. Released on 16 March 1964, it was the twelfth novel in the series. For the first time in the James Bond film series, the screen story bore little resemblance to the source novel. Some characters and the Japanese setting remain intact, as do several minor details (the oubliette, and the man wearing a face mask, etc.), but the two stories are radically different.

The original theme song, also composed by John Barry and Leslie Bricusse was recorded by Julie Rogers, lyricist Don Black's sister-in-law. It was released on a limited-edition CD in 1992.

The outside scenes at Osato Chemicals were taken at Hotel New Otani, Tokyo.

The primary reason for converting the Toyota 2000GT coupes into convertibles was Sean Connery's height; he was simply too tall to fit into the GT which was notoriously too small for anyone over 5'8". Connery's height was 6'2".

The rocket pistol, and cigarette rocket, were real-life weapons that were featured after the manufacturer paid for the product placement. It was hoped they would become standard military and intelligence equipment; however, they proved to be too expensive, clumsy, and unreliable, and ceased production a few years later.

The ship from which 007 was buried at sea was the Royal Navy ship H.M.S. Tenby (F65). The scene was filmed in the winter, which didn't go over too well with the crew, who had to wear tropical gear for the scene. It was shot several times as the "body" didn't sink the first time.

The title of "You Only Live Twice" comes from a haiku (or poem) included in the Ian Fleming novel on which the film is based. It goes: "You only live twice. Once when you are born. And once when you look death in the face." In the novel, the poem is written by James Bond for his friend Tiger Tanaka. Due to a badly-worded attribution at the front of the novel, the poem is sometimes incorrectly believed to have been written by a Japanese poet called Matsuo Basho (See: Bashô Matsuo.) It is clarified in the novel that it should not be considered a haiku at all i.e. it is a poor attempt at writing poetry by Bond after being taught how to do so. The novel and its epigraph explain that the haiku is "after Basho" i.e. written in the style of the famous 17th Century Japanese poet.

The Toyota 2000GT was a sports car produced between 1967 and 1970 in very limited numbers, (approximately 351) by Toyota in Japan. The only convertibles ever built were for You Only Live Twice. Toyota entered the 2000GT in competition at home, coming third in the 1966 Japanese Grand Prix and winning the Fuji 24-Hour Race in 1967. In addition, the car set several world records for speed and endurance in a 72-hour test. The few surviving examples are very expensive collectibles.

The Toyota 2000GTs used in this film were not convertibles. They had no roofs at all. As stated previously, Sean Connery would not have fitted into any putative 2000GT with the roof up, so the roofs were removed entirely and not replaced with soft tops.

This is the first film in the series where James Bond does not wear his trademark dinner jacket.

This was the only Sean Connery Bond movie never to receive any BBFC cuts.

Tiger Tanaka's voice was dubbed by series regular Robert Rietty, but one line remains in his own voice - he speaks Japanese to the girls bathing him and Bond.

Two 2000GTs were remodeled to convertibles and featured in the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice. One is displayed at Toyota's headquarters while the other is in a private collection of a Toyota executive. (When the Encore movie channel aired James Bond films in early 2005, a 2000GT which was located in South Africa was in the process of a restoration as a replica convertible at Cars of the Stars Motor Museum, featuring actual control panel used in the film.)

Vehicles featured included the Wallis WA-116 auto-gyro, affectionately known as the "Little Nellie" gyro-copter; Aki's white Toyota 2000 GT convertible with gadget control panel and Sony TV monitor; Tiger Tanaka's Japanese edition of the Boeing-Vertol Sea Knight; a twin-blade Boeing Kawasaki-Vertol KV-107 11 tandem-rotor helicopter fitted with a super electro-magnet; Tiger Tanaka's private underground train; a black Toyota Crown 2300, a Bond pursuing vehicle; the ship Ning-Po; a Toyota Crown S40; the US Jupiter 16 two-man spacecraft; a 1964 Dodge Polara; four black Kawasaki/Bell 47G-3 helicopters that attack Little Nellie; a Japanese taxi car; a single-engine Meyers 200A plane that Helga Brandt traps Bond in; a Brantley B2; the two-man spacecraft Bird 1 SPECTRE two-stage space rocket; an Aerospatiale Alouette 316B helicopter that takes 007 to the Ninja School; a monorail in Blofeld's Volcano lair; an inflatable round yellow lifeboat; and an M1 British diesel-electric submarine for both Bond's burial and rescue at sea.

Was promoted in America with an NBC-TV special entitled Welcome to Japan, Mr. Bond the title being taken from Tanaka's first line in the film. The line was also a tagline for the movie. The special featured clips from the film, behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with the cast.

While in Japan, Sean Connery and his wife Diane Cilento were hounded by the international press. During news conferences the press insisted on referring to Connery as James Bond. Local newsmen attempted to photograph him in a rest room. Thirty extra private security guards were hired to combat the excess noise and hindrance but even the guards started to take photos. Connery was allegedly photographed on a toilet and the picture published in a Tokyo newspaper. Halfway through filming, Connery announced he would not be returning as James Bond. To ease the tension the producers removed his contractual obligation to do one more 007 movie, despite being offered $1 million. After the film wrapped, Connery was reportedly asked whether he found Japanese women attractive to which he allegedly replied, "No," causing many Japanese to call him bad names. This faux pas turned out to be based on a mistranslation on a day when Connery was exhausted after an intensive day's filming. Connery didn't go out of his way to be too personable with the interviewer who was aghast that the actor showed up in a casual T-shirt with baggy trousers and sandals, and not wearing a toupee. "Is this how James Bond dresses?" he asked, to which Connery replied tersely "I'm not James Bond, I'm Sean Connery, a man who likes to dress comfo

While scouting for locations in Japan, the chief production team was nearly killed. On 5 March 1966, Producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, Director Lewis Gilbert, Cinematographer Freddie Young and Production Designer Ken Adam were booked to leave Japan on BOAC flight 911 departing Tokyo for Hong Kong and London. Two hours before their Boeing 707 flight departed, the team were invited to an unexpected ninja demonstration and so missed their plane. Their flight took off as scheduled and twenty five minutes after take-off the plane disintegrated over Mt Fuji, killing everybody on board. The incident brought with it an unsettling reality to the meaning of the title "You Only Live Twice".

Vic Armstrong:  The stuntman as First Ninja abseiling down the volcano lair.

Richard Graydon:  The stuntman as a Russian Cosmonaut.