American reporter Steve Martin, on his way to Cairo for an assignment, has a stop over in Tokyo. During the layover, he decides to visit his old friend Dr. Daisuke Serizawa. However, the night before he lands, his plane passes over an area where a ship suddenly exploded and caught fire killing all hands.
Martin is then questioned by the authorities and he tells them he saw nothing. After seven more ships suddenly disappear, Martin decides to stay in Japan to see what is going on. He and policeman Tomo Iwanaga then go to Odo Island, which is close to where many of the ships were destroyed. While there, they are caught in a typhoon and during the storm something comes ashore and kills several of the inhabitants and destroys several buildings.
A few days later a scientific expedition led by paleontologist Dr. Kyohei Yemane arrives on the island and they are horrified to find a giant monster the natives call Godzilla. Now Japan and the world wait to see what horrors this monster will bring.