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    $16.50 $16.40 list($25.00)
    1. Japan (Eyewitness Travel Guides)
    $18.47 $17.33 list($27.99)
    2. Lonely Planet Japan (Lonely Planet
    $9.71 $4.98 list($12.95)
    3. The Japanese Way : Aspects of
    $18.87 list($29.95)
    4. Fruits
    $10.46 $1.90 list($13.95)
    5. Learning to Bow : Inside the Heart
    $12.89 $12.68 list($18.95)
    6. Japan by Rail: Includes Rail Route
    $16.80 $15.53 list($24.00)
    7. Gateway to Japan (Kodansha Guide)
    $12.91 $12.49 list($18.99)
    8. Lonely Planet Tokyo (Lonely Planet
    $18.47 $17.99 list($27.99)
    9. The Rough Guide to Japan, Third
    $29.70 $29.64 list($45.00)
    10. The Hidden Gardens of Kyoto
    $9.71 $8.00 list($12.95)
    11. Little Adventures in Tokyo: 39
    $44.25 list($23.95)
    12. Being A Broad in Japan: Everything
    $8.06 $4.88 list($8.95)
    13. Japanese at a Glance: Phrase Book
    $12.21 list($17.95)
    14. Wrong About Japan : A Father's
    $14.96 $14.48 list($22.00)
    15. Old Kyoto: A Guide To Traditional
    $16.47 $15.26 list($24.95)
    16. In the Wake of the Jomon
    $14.28 $7.95 list($21.00)
    17. Looking for the Lost: Journeys
    $15.64 $14.39 list($23.00)
    18. Fodor's Japan, 16th Edition :
    $13.59 $13.20 list($19.99)
    19. Hiking in Japan (Lonely Planet
    $8.96 $6.18 list($9.95)
    20. Fodor's Pocket Kyoto, 1st Edition

    1. Japan (Eyewitness Travel Guides)
    by John Benson
    list price: $25.00
    our price: $16.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0789497190
    Catlog: Book (2003-09)
    Publisher: DK Publishing Inc
    Sales Rank: 12129
    Average Customer Review: 4.18 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    Includes: Tokyo, Central Honshu, Kyoto City, Western Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, Okinawa, Northern Honshu, and Hokkaido. ... Read more

    Reviews (11)

    5-0 out of 5 stars These are Fabulous Books
    Japan is a place one does not visit every day and it is expensive. Also I like to go well armed with maps and books because unlike the USA or Canada some areas have no english signs so the more information the better. I would recommend this book, and at least one book on Japan's society - see plus a good map book.

    I first discovered these books (a series Eyewitness Travel) by accident. The photos and desicriptions and cutaway drawings are excellent. Plus they throw in some history and details on the art and many other things of interest including places to eat. A solid effort - lots of stuff to see and absorb. What is attractive about this book is that it pulls a lot of things together such as history and culture and urban areas. But the book brings it all to life with just magnificent photos and maps.

    Jack in Toronto

    5-0 out of 5 stars Eyewitness is the gold standard in travel guides!
    I do hope DK will publish individual Eyewitness guides to Kyoto and Tokyo. To fit all of Japan into one guide is an unreasonable task, so I considered this book to be an overview at best. Even so they managed to include a great deal of detail and I found it extermely useful throughout my recent trip to Japan. There were many instances where Eyewitness Japan gave more detailed information on a particular sight than the Lonely Planet city guides for Kyoto and Tokyo.

    I love the way the Eyewitness guides organise the information in a way that is similar to how you will actually tackle it when traveling; first by region than neighborhood. It is all very visual and user friendly, but also quite meaty when you dig into the information. One word about the maps, which I found excellent; very few streets in Japan are labeled, only the major ones, and many streets don't have names at all, so street names are not really relevant. I often found myself orienting myself by the last shrine I passed.

    Like many people I find the Eyewitness guides to be an excellent resource in planning and navigating my travels, as well as a nice keepsake for my bookshelf when I return. I find their strength to be in guiding you around and explaining the major sights, I look elsewhere for information on dining, lodging and the off-beat. No single guide is good for everything. In fact if it were up to me I would eliminate the hotel and restaurant sections of the Eyewitness guides all together because they are so weak. I loved this guide for what it is, an excellent overall view of Japan.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Eye-catching guide is a worthy investment
    This is sort of a "Japan! Wow!" type of guide, full of eye-popping graphics and catchy factoids. It is a very fun guide, and does a great job of engaging enthusiasm for Japan and its wonders. The makers definitely know their audience, and all of the weird and wild parts of the country and its culture are captured.

    Nothing off the beaten path here, only the major attractions of each city/region are represented. It is wide but not deep. Pricing information and such is well done, and gives an accurate picture of what to expect. Tidbits of culture and history help explain what you will be seeing and make for interesting overall reading.

    Even as someone living in Japan, I find this guide to be valuable and fun. It has sparked my interests in several sites and is a great reminder of places that I have been.

    For a deeper travel guide, I recommend "Gateway to Japan." That combined with "Exploring Japan" should be all you need to plan a snazzy and enjoyable trip.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Not perfect, yet still the best
    I agree that this Eyewitness guide is perhaps best for shorter trips to Japan - depth is lacking for more extended journeys. It is perfect for main stops - Tokyo and Kyoto are covered really well, and there is a good section on more rarely visited Okinawa (you get the sense that the authors really love that most southerly of all Japan's prefectures). The coverage of other places is perfectly adequate for a one-day stop over there.

    I can nit-pick on small things: maps could be more detailed, more subjective focus could be given to sightseeing in order to prioritize more meaningfully (Frommer is the best for this at the moment) and there is the old problem of being too sparing on useful websites. However, it is still head and shoulders above the competition, and if you want to lug around just one book, this is it.

    The section on accommodation and restaurants is superb, I have not seen more inspired (and inspiring) descriptions and depictions of Japanese food anywhere else. True, graphic representation of communal bathing facilities in ryokan guesthouses made me firmly make a choice of a Western-style hotel; but at least I am glad that the guide was honest with me.

    Transport section (buying railway tickets, finding your way) could have been more helpful and give some handy tips instead of noting that findining an address is pain in the neck. Language section is perfectly adequate for the scope of this book.

    Unless you intend to spend more than three days in Tokyo or Kyoto, you really do not need separate guides for these cities.

    The best thing? Guiding you towards reasonable prices and not selling the usual story of price doom and scare travellers off with proverbial $10.00 cups of coffee. Yes, you can spend this kind of money in Ginza - so what? You don't need to. Of course if you eat Kobe steaks and fugu fish every day, meals will be pricy. But who says you need to do that? What's wrong with noodle bars and bento boxes? Thanks Eyewitness for not trying to bang the old drum of scaremongering and gently leading the reader through the maze of a totally different culture.

    If you are going to Japan for, say, a week or ten days, this will be money well spent. Highly recommended.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book...
    Having travelled to Japan on two occassions (once as an exchange student and once travelling throughout the country alone), I was have mixed feelings about this book.

    Although the book is very well designed and has beautiful pictures (it is nice to show to guests who don't know about Japan), some of the most interesting things are skimmed over (for example Arashiyama in Kyoto has only a short description). I was also very disappointed when I visited Osaka-Castle, as the inside was very much like a museum, and I had expected the reconstruction to have replicas of the original interior decoration. The travel guide did not explain that the interior is completely modernized.

    The other problem is that some of the rural areas - Toyama and Akita for example weren't really covered.

    Nonetheless, there is no better travel guide of Japan on the market (at least designed for English speakers.) There is also coverage of the Ken-rokuen and the various temples.

    Although I think the book is well worth the money, I would also recommend that anyone with Japanese language skills check out the area specific guidebooks designed for Japanese travellers to supplement the information in the book (there are many excellent magazine style ones on large cities such as Kyoto), and ask friends and acquantiances before travelling to spots far from where you are staying. ... Read more

    2. Lonely Planet Japan (Lonely Planet Japan)
    by Chris Rowthorne, Andrew Bender, John Ashburne, Sara Benson, David Atkinson, Craig McLachlan
    list price: $27.99
    our price: $18.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1740591623
    Catlog: Book (2003-10-01)
    Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
    Sales Rank: 13648
    Average Customer Review: 3.77 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    The electric chaos of Tokyo or the tranquil wilderness of Hokkaido?Osaka's street culture or Kyoto's shrines and Zen gardens?From Ginza's bright lights to the 88 Temples of Shikoku, with this guide and a bullet train you can see it all.

    • Japanese script throughout • extensive menu glossary covering all styles of Japanese cuisine • wide range of sleeping options from opulent ryokan to capsule hotels • over 150 maps, most with Japanese script to aid navigation • illustrated special section on art and architecture • language chapter to help you tell your setto from your sento ... Read more

    Reviews (39)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best tour guide in Japan could use this book
    I was lucky when I went to Japan because my sister had already been living there for almost two years, just the same, I wanted to do all the research. In looking at all the information on the web and reading several tour guides, LONELY PLANET really stood out. By using this book, I found things that my sister had never heard of -- some of which were right in front of her face. By the time we had spent my 10 days there, we had seen the real world of Japan as well as the tourist sites. The book was so helpful that my sister requested it stay with her. She used it extensively as did I for return trips. As another review pointed out, LP does a great job of describing individual locations (and giving you good landmarks to make the trip low stress) both in the big cities and small towns. The things which stand out for me were the hints on the public baths and hot springs, staying at Buddhist temples, tips on the crowds of school kids that hit in May, cultural events like the bunraku, etc. We've bought the updated version since that first trip and each time find some thing new and exciting. This publisher is the first one I turn to for all my travel.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best one out there for do-it-yourself travelers.
    I've been using travel books on Japan for 23 years, attempting to discover new & interesting places. None has completely fulfilled this quest. However, the LP book has set the standard for the others: It covers more places, has more maps, and has more information than any other. "Rough Guide" comes in second in this regard, and I find very few places in RG that aren't covered in LP. It's like the RG author's traveled around using the LP. The omissions are the same on top of that. A few examples: neither covers Fukushima, or Koriyama, both major cities that you may end up in traveling northward, and in the same area, both overlook nice areas such as Miharu town (3 Spring Town, so named for its 3 flowering trees in the spring) and Soma City (famous pottery and samurai horsemen festivals), and neither checks out Rikuchu Kaigan National Park along the Pacific Coast in Iwate. On the other hand, both LP and RG cover the small town of Tono, both not reaching the park. They both also cover the Iya Valley in central Shikoku while overlooking the most isolated Heike refuge in central Kyushu, Gokanosho. There are too many parallels between the two.

    I agree there is not a consistent style throughout LP. It was written by 4 authors whose work was based on original work by Ian McQueen who burned out after 3 editions, so there is much original style mixed in with subsequent updates by the various authors through the next 4 editions. This does make some areas better than others, though, especially when it comes to locations of bus stops and "getting there" sections.

    But overall, I don't see much problem with some sections having transportation and other sections not as no matter what book you get, you need to get JNTOs Railway Timetable or updated ferry or bus schedules because the train-bus-ferry schedules change from year to year, making everything obsolete quickly.

    This book is also aimed at those who are traveling around using the main train routes, who want to see the big sights and maybe a few of the smaller ones. If you have a car or motorcycle, you're going to end up in places that aren't covered in any book almost every night. A smattering of Japanese is the only thing that will help this kind of traveler. It also only contains brief history and background on some areas. At times it seems to assume that you have a separate book for this information. If you want a history book, get a history book. This is a practical guide for travelers to get you to a place and into some lodging. At that it excels.

    I do get annoyed with the phone number area codes only being given at the beginning of a section. With a large section, it make take a while searching for the correct page with the area code so you can dial a number. This always seems to happen in an unlit phone booth on a rainy night.

    Lastly, this 7th edition is now old. I read as part of an article in the NY Times that said that Japan was getting ready to promote domestic tourism to help its economy, that someone was back in Japan trying for an update . This would help immensely as LP quotes exact prices on hotels and admissions. Anyone who has used this book recently knows that prices have gone up on most things, and down in a couple of other cases. I like the exact quote on hotel prices better than RG's range quotes, as I can get a better idea when planning a budget than just a Y5000 to Y10,000 range.

    When the next edition comes out, I'll be first in line to get it, again looking for anything I've missed (and I know there's a lot as I discover every year). If you're looking for a tool to help you travel through and around a very interesting country on your own, this book is for you. If your hotels and transportation are already covered in your tour, a Frommer's guide with photos and history would work better for you.


    2-0 out of 5 stars Badly flawed, but the best option for budget travel
    Initially frustrated with this guidebook's (I bought the "red kimono" edition in spring 2004) limp recommendations and surly tone, I also bought the new "Let's Go Japan" book. While more useful than the "Let's Go" book, the LP version has some very flawed contents. The directions to the top recommended ryokan / guesthouses in Hiroshima and Tokyo were poor or nonexistant. Landmarks and restaurants shown on the maps no longer existed in Ginza, Ikebukuro and Kyoto. The photos and history are nice, but in my opinion a wasteful padding. I'd much rather have a $20 book without the fluff, or at least a $27 book that's accurate. Cities change and mistakes are made, but when LP's writers place a ryokan at the top of the list (incidentally, the "best budget option" in Tokyo proved to be extremely overrated by this book), there should be a premium placed on the traveller being able to find the place. I gave LP 2 stars instead of 1 for the very valuable advice to purchase a 7-day rail pass before visiting Japan (but did not distinguish between a "green car" ride and an ordinary ride; in my experience, the ordinary non-smoking cars were spacious enough). If and when Fodor's/Frommer's comes out with a new edition, it will almost certainly be a better value than LP.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Reader beware.
    While Lonely Planet produces many fine travel books, this one is disturbing and rather invidious. I get the distinct impression that the authors do not like or respect Japanese culture and some of the statements made are frankly, quite racist. For example- "Foreign travellers should be warned that medical services in Japan may not be on par with those of other developed nations." "Condoms are widely available in Japan, but generally only locally produced varieties, which tend to be on the small side." "Ainu traditions are re-enacted by sometimes listless performers and these tourist circuses can be pretty depressing- they are often combined with caged bears in a debased imitation of the Ainu's sacred Iyomante (Bear Festival)." While a few subtle implications are excusable, the entire book is rife with them. Despite these flaws, the book does give a good overview of places to stay and visit.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensiive, Well Balanced, Good Photographs and Maps
    My preference is the Eyewitness Travel DK - Japan - which has excellent graphics but is just 400 pages long. But now I have to reconsider because of this new guide from Lonely Planet. This book is just a tremendous effort 800 pages long, very well balanced with photos, maps, history, etc. It is clearly a 5 star guide.

    I would rate it (and DK Eyewitness Travel) head and shoulders ahead of Frommers, or Rough Guide or similar books that are less well balanced.

    Japan is a place one does not visit every day and it is expensive. Also I like to go well armed with maps and books because unlike the USA or Canada some areas have no English signs so the more information the better. It is unnerving to be on trains and subways where there is just Japanese signs. I would recommend this book, and at least one book on Japan's society - see plus a good map book.

    This book is well balanced and like the DK guide is that it pulls a lot of things together such as history and culture and urban areas. The book brings it all to life with just magnificent photos and maps.

    Personally I would buy more than one guide and definitely a guide on just Tokyo, so I would buy this book or the lighter 400 page DK guide and one book on Tokyo.

    Either case this is an excellent buy. 5 stars.

    Jack in Toronto ... Read more

    3. The Japanese Way : Aspects of Behavior, Attitudes, and Customs of the Japanese
    by Noriko Takada, RitaLampkin
    list price: $12.95
    our price: $9.71
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0844283770
    Catlog: Book (1996-11-11)
    Publisher: McGraw-Hill
    Sales Rank: 16870
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    For All Students Ideal for a variety of courses, this valuable handbook helps students understand how people of today's Japan think, do business, and act in their daily lives. ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A thorough guide and a must...
    As many seasoned travellers are acutely aware, visiting foreign countries without adequate research into the language and culture can turn a business trip or holiday into a nightmare. Since WW2, most European countries use English as a second language and therefore are accommodating to the ignorant visitor. In other terms, one can 'get by' without too much confusion or fuss. A few years ago, on my way to the U.S. to visit friends and family, I made a two-day stop over in Japan. Because of my limited stay and time constraints, I chose not to do any research on the language and culture. This was a big mistake. The reason being is that Japan's culture - behaviour, customs and attitudes are so different to Western modes of living. My two-day stop over was a personal disaster for many reasons. If only I had done at least a little research, my short time in Japan would have been much more meaningful. ~The Japanese Way~ is a gem of a text that covers the essentials for any one to successfully 'get by' while visiting this fascinating country.

    This text is a crucial reference to the most common aspects of the culture to the more specific traits in Japan's social framework. In the contents page is a list of 89 subjects ranging from body language and gestures to gender roles and business cards. For example, taking a taxi in Tokyo can be expensive and sometimes frustrating because the address system, house numbers, are not assigned according to grid location or position on a specific street. The buildings are grouped in blocks and are numbered according to the time in which they were built! Requesting a specific residential home, in other words, is an exasperating exercise and most of the time the driver will not be able to find it. (The lesson learned here is to purchase a map and use public transport.) This text also provides the basics in language - Hellos and Goodbyes and some basic rules on politeness and rudeness. These basic phrases and suggested approach to social situations are invaluable, even if you're only planning a short visit.

    If you're planning to travel to Japan sometime in the future, I highly recommend this invaluable book, because it literally covers just about everything you will need to know to ensure your stay is fulfilling, memorable and problem free.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Shagadelic!
    Joyous day! A very informative and helpful book . . ... Read more

    4. Fruits
    by Shoichi Aoki
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $18.87
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0714840831
    Catlog: Book (2001-01-06)
    Publisher: Phaidon Press
    Sales Rank: 3534
    Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan's Best of 2001

    If you ever wondered where the catwalk got its claws, then the portraits gathered in photographer Shoichi Aoki's book Fruits, from the streets of Harajuku in Tokyo, point the way to an extraordinarily imaginative and invariably stunning glut of mongrel fashion heists. A best-of collection from the fanzine of the same name, and published for the first time outside Japan, Fruits keeps its style clean: front-on, razor-sharp images, ranging from the deadpan to the manic, of the sharpest collages of sartorial influence that, usually, little money can buy. From off the peg to off the wall, kitsch to bitch, each person bears a combination and philosophy as distinctive as DNA. All shades of aesthetic are raided, with exquisite, scrupulous attention to detail. Punk is a favorite, as is, appropriately, Vivienne Westwood, alongside Milk and Jean-Paul Gaultier, and the occasional Comme des Garçons. Many of the outfits, though, are second-hand or self-assembly, such as a skirt drooping petals of men's silk ties, Wa-mono, when tradition Japanese clothes are topped with, say, an authentic bowler hat, EGL (elegant gothic Lolita), and a swathe of tartans, pinks, and turquoises. The most malleable feature, unsurprisingly, is hair, with dreadlocks, mohicans, back-combing, and crops dyed an irradiated spectrum. While the eye is drawn, obediently, to the mannequins, the background is often worth a look, either for the vending machines against which a number are shot, or the ubiquitous Gap store and bags, a constant reminder of the global mass market.

    One enterprising man wears a genuine British paperboy's delivery bag, and, to pick but one profile, Princess, 18, is trying to be a doll and is currently preoccupied with body organs. Mmm. All the subjects are asked the source of their clothes, as well as their "point of fashion" and "current obsession." The scope for sociopsychological discussion is vast, particularly with the preponderance of infantilization, through dolls, bonnets, pop socks, and Barbie, but this is a joyous documentation of the innovative, celebrating the inspirational polytheism of street fashion, captured with provocative, political zeal. Best let the street cats prowl. --David Vincent ... Read more

    Reviews (48)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Truly captures how young Japanese Teens dress
    After visiting Japan last year and having spent most of my time in Harajuku (where most of these pix were taken)--all i can say is this book truly captures how young Japanese teens dress. Hypercolored clothing, crazy extreme mismatching, a gaggle of plastic accessories, technotoys and unnatural hair color is standard-- it's anime character meets candyraver meets barbie in Super Mario land.

    You may think these teens are the few "extreme" dressers in their society, but you're wrong. I would estimate that 80% of teens in Japan's metro areas dress this way, if not more extreme.

    In fact, the teens in Fruits are a bit *subtle* compared to what is going on in Japanese fashion today. It's not uncommon to see girls in elaborate french maid outfits with metallic makeup walking out of the train station. Walking everywhere you see these hello kitty psycho sweethearts, riddled with fake blonde hair, white lipstick, and mile-high op-art platforms. I've turned a corner and seen gangs of japanese guys and girls looking like Bob Marley and Lauryn Hill, replete with fake black tan, dreads, ghetto fabulous hip hop gear and all. Scrupulous attention is paid to every part of the body. Only about 5% of Japanese girls i observed did NOT wear some kinda of intricate rainbow patterned/bejeweled nail art. And the best part is seeing all these vividly dressed youths swarming all around you in hordes.

    Fruits, although on target for year 2001, is almost out of style now, given that Japanese fashion trends change every minute. If you can't get enough of Fruits, then you really need to take a trip to Japan (Tokyo) which I stress is vital for anyone in the fashion, arts, or other trend industry. It's like living in the future--talking toilets, automatic servamatrons, futurism galore, towns called Sunshine City, bridges named Rainbow Bridge--it's pop-culture infantilism crossbred with sophisticated technology, the most fascinating hybrid found only in Japan. I guarantee you will be visually stimulated and inspired to no end at the hallucinatory flourescence that is Japanese youth culture. Now go book that ticket.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Eye popping fashion passion (with a healthy does of humor)
    From the highly worshipped pages of Japan's premiere street fashion bible comes FRUITS, from the magazine of the same name, created and photographed by Shoichi Aoki. From its beginning in 1994, FRUITS magazine covered the wide world of street fashions sported by young Japanese crowd of the Tokyo suburbs. This edition of FRUITS, from Phaidon publishing, is a collection of full page portraits from the magazine. It's the first time many of these images have been published in the western world.

    Be prepared to enter the wild and wacky world of Japanese street style; a mixture of thrift store chic, designer handbags and accessories, anime and manga color, traditional Japanese clothing and home created "couture", sure to grab your attention, if not to make you laugh out loud. Creativity and ideas abound (notice I didn't say they were all "good" ideas.) Witness fever pitched fashion passion, eye popping cartoon creations worn with complete self confidence. Getting your picture in FRUITS magazine is your fashion street cred badge of honor, and these kids pursue it with all the style muscle they can muster.

    Rasta cowboys, EGL (elegant gothic Lolita) baby dolls, anime space cadets, rockabilly punks, designer samurais; these are but a few of the style hybrids on display. Mixing vintage finds, designer labels (like W<, Jean Paul Gaultier and the prolific influence of Vivienne Westwood), and their own customized experiments, these Japanese teens create a world where the only limit to style is their own imagination.

    You need this book. It's that good.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Fruits is a Fraud
    Fruits purports to be photos of people picked at random from the streets based on their unusual outfits. In my opinion, all the subjects are models, dressed by a designer. Maybe they thought that westerners would not notice that all or most of the women and men subjects are photographed more than once. Some show up again and again. In my opinion, the photographs are staged and the outfits are not the creations of the people who are photographed. Notice too, how all the outfits are top notch from head to toe. You would expect to see a few ugly or poor decisions if the photos were of real people. Take a look if you are interested in how to try and dupe the public.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Selling Japanese Fruit to the World
    I love the work by my fellow photographer Shoichi Aoki. Like me, he shoots the cool trendsetters on the streets of Tokyo. Since he started his magazine FRUITS in the mid-90s he has taken countless of photographs of the coolest street fashion that the world has seen sofar. The best of these shots are compiled in this book.

    Aoki first started documenting street fashion in London in the mid 80's. He has told me that he taught himself how to take photographs from books. At the time Japanese fashion wasn't free at all. Inspired by the free street fashion of London the young Aoki decided he wanted to do something about Japanese staleness.

    In the early to mid 90's things were beginning to change in Japan. The Harajuku area in Tokyo had its main thoroughfare closed off on Sundays and this was attracting more and more bands and show offs. The 'pedestrian heaven' (hokoten) as it was called became a laboratory and incubation center for new trends in music and fashion.

    "In Japan," Aoki told me recently, "everybody had always dressed the same. Whatever was popular was worn by everyone. Everybody would wear Comme des Garçons or Ivy or whatever brand was 'in'. But suddenly Harajuku became free. People started to feel that it was cool to coordinate your own clothes. Harajuku fashion became really interesting and fun." He recalls: "You had this small group of trendsetters, perhaps 10 to 20 people. Whenever they came up with something new, others would soon imitate them. But these imitators weren't as cool as the original trendsetters so the trendsetters didn't want to be identified with them."

    "To differentiate themselves again they came up with new things. It just escalated. They kept on trying to escape from their imitators right into "decora" (fashion style sporting lots of decorative stuff and strong bright colors). They figured nobody would follow them into wearing clothes that crazy."

    FRUITS shows these 'crazy' trends in all their details. The book has virtually no text, just page after page of exquisitely printed color photographs. Aoki's photographs are unique in that he shows the full body, from head to toe, in actual street situations. This is much better than shots done in the studio. It is like photographing animals in the wild opposed to photographing them in the zoo.

    Full body shots makes it possible to not only see the pants, skirts, dresses, coats and sweaters, but also the shoes, socks, stockings, hats and wild hairdos in all their glory.

    Short descriptions explain what each person is wearing, their age and their 'obsession'.

    If you want to put to rest the myth that Japanese people are not creative and original, you just have got to read this book. You'll find it a great inspiration.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fruits
    This book rocks the crazy street styles. Great source for design for anime or comic book characters. ... Read more

    5. Learning to Bow : Inside the Heart of Japan
    by Bruce Feiler
    list price: $13.95
    our price: $10.46
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060577207
    Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
    Publisher: Perennial
    Sales Rank: 37409
    Average Customer Review: 3.77 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    Learning to Bow has been heralded as one of the funniest, liveliest, and most insightful books ever written about the clash of cultures between America and Japan. With warmth and candor, Bruce Feiler recounts the year he spent as a teacher in a small rural town. Beginning with a ritual outdoor bath and culminating in an all-night trek to the top of Mt. Fuji, Feiler teaches his students about American culture, while they teach him everything from how to properly address an envelope to how to date a Japanese girl.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (22)

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is how it really is
    Bruce Feiler was one of the first participants on the JET program, a program sponsored by the Japanese government to bring foreign young people to Japan for the purposes of education and "internationalization." While Feiler's experiences are a little unusual, in that he can already speak Japanese when he arrives and the events at his school are rather dramatic, overall his story reflects the life of a typical JET program participant. The culture shock, the unbending bureaucracy, the complex and often disaffected attitudes of students, the instant celebrity and lack of privacy that goes with it, are all symptoms that JETs experience. I read the book and often found myself nodding in agreement, having experience the same events and feelings myself. If you want to have an intimate look at the world of education in Japan today, Feiler's book is an excellent place to start. If you are thinking about joining the JET program, this book is a must, along with Importing Diversity.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Learning to Bow
    Although Feiler paints a detailed, and often humorous picture of life in a Japanese public school, his picture is far too clean. He strikes me as being a bit like the foreign talents that work in Japan who have been neutured by Japanese society to make them more palletable to their xenophbic audience. I felt like the Ministry of Education had come through and ereased the negative comments before I could read them. So, in short: it is a well-written book, but should not be the final word on an outsider's perspective on the Japanese educational system.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Useful Information For Any Gaijin in Japan
    This book is useful for anyone moving to Japan, either as part of the JET Programme or any other reason. After living in Japan for a few years (not on the JET Programme) I recognized a lot of truth to what Feiler had to say. This book also provided me with an inside look at and the pros and cons of the Japanese school system. Through my own experience, I honestly am amazed at the amount of pressure placed on students to do well in school in Japan. For the most part, the students' effort pays off when they are accepted into a great high school or college, regardless of the two-hour-one-way commute some of them endure. At the same time, however, I wish the school system in Japan encouraged students to be more creative and that the environment allowed them to learn more about the world around them. Despite that, though, the Japanese people make great students and are some of the nicest people you'll meet in your life. This book, through the author's experiences in Tochigi Prefecture, show this and more, all in an entertaining, well-written way. And if for that reason alone, this book is worth reading once for anyone interested in Japan.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Cultural lessons disquised by an American sensei in Japan
    Bruce Fielder pens the story of his experience as an English Teacher in Japan. Similar to "You Gotta Have Wa", this book is more about the experiences of an outsider fitting in to Japan than the occupational hazards of teaching English. To use his own words, Fielder really does cut into the heart of Japan. Interspersed between stories of the challenges of the educational system are many deeper lessons. Included are an explanation of the importance of group harmony and identity, how co-workers balance formal working relationships with personal bonds, and how personal development differs between Japan and the West.

    Perhaps my only struggle was hearing how hard it was for the author to find a date in Japan. Japan is legendary for English teachers "punching above their weight" and finding girlfriend's well out of their league in the US. But perhaps the book would have lost it's tone and cultural insights if it degenerated into a story of how many girls the author picked up.

    The book has held up remarkably over the past 10 years. Despite the bursting of the Japanese bubble, the cultural lessons ring true today. I recommend the book to anyone interested in Japan, independent of occupation.

    2-0 out of 5 stars rather offensive to a fellow American
    I am an easy audience and for the first twenty pages or so, I was really set to enjoy this book.

    Then I found myself gradually more and more frustrated when Mr. Feiler would stop to explain how some event or peculiar classroom trend he experienced was obviously due to blah blah blah historical or cultural Japanese dynamic...for pages upon pages. If I wanted to study social complexities, I think I could read Reischauer or someone with ample expertise.

    He also maintains quite an attitude of American superiority over the absurd Japanese way of doing things. He seems to think himself immune to this, though, because he has learned Japanese. He even goes so far in one chapter to discuss his anxieties about the feasibility of engaging in intimate acts with a Japanese woman due to his highly developed gringo genitalia. He also seemed obsessed with the fact that he was taller than almost all Japanese people. If there is one thing you will learn in this book, it is that Bruce Feiler is 6'4". His light humility is hardly bevievable.

    Despite the vast network of superiority complexes seen in this specimen, this book is periodically entertaining. However,I think it is not worth your time, ... Read more

    6. Japan by Rail: Includes Rail Route Guide and 29 City Guides
    by Ramsey Zarifeh
    list price: $18.95
    our price: $12.89
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1873756232
    Catlog: Book (2002-02-12)
    Publisher: Trailblazer Publications
    Sales Rank: 60749
    Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    Japan is steeped in legend and myth, perhaps the greatest of which is the popular misconception that the country is simply too expensive to visit. The truth is that flights to Japan are cheaper than they've ever been, accommodation can be great value, while the warm hospitality which awaits every visitor costs nothing at all. The real secret to travelling around the country on a budget, however, is the Japan Rail Pass. With this pass you can travel on some of the fastest trains in the world as often as you like for as long as you please - and all for one bargain price. Use this comprehensive guide in conjunction with a rail pass to get the most out of your trip to Japan.* Practical information - planning your trip; what to take; getting to Japan from Europe, North America and Australasia* City guides and maps - where to stay (all budgets), where to eat, what to see in 29 towns and cities; historical and cultural background * Kilometre-by-kilometre route guides - covering train journeys from the coast into the mountains, from temple retreat to sprawling metropolis and from sulphurous volcano to windswept desert; 34 route maps* Railway timetables - Bullet trains and all routes in this guidebook* Plus - Customs, etiquette, Japanese phrases and 28 colour photos
    ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Nice but limited guide to Japan
    Another in a rather extensive list of rail-oriented books from UK's Trailblazer Guides series, this one centers around Japan, and budget travelers who use the Japan Rail Pass. While fairly complete, it has some obvious structural drawbacks that require supplementing with a more extensive guide. I'd give it 4 stars, with 1 star knocked off for the following deficits.

    * It's pretty much exclusively centered on Japan Rail lines. Considering that Japan is criss-crossed with the so-called "private lines" (Japan Rail was once a government railroad), this leads to some obvious gaps in coverage.

    * Very little food & dining information. Tokyo, for example, gets only a few paragraphs.

    * NO kanji (Chinese characters) or kana (Japanese syllabary) versions of destination signs. This is perhaps its biggest sin, since English-language platform signs and maps are the exception rather than the rule outside of the Tokyo metropolitan area. Unless you can already read kana or kanji, you WILL be confused trying to work out the signs.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Worth it
    This book explains the ins and outs of travel by rail in Japan. It not only manages that but provides a good source of information for seeing the important sites. It gives the quick and easy way to get to the towns and how to get to the places you will want to see. It may need to be fleshed out with a more comprehensive guidebook but this should be a place to start.

    5-0 out of 5 stars If You Buy a Japan Rail Pass, Buy This Book! I Wish I Had!
    I was planning for my month in Japan - mainly in Tokyo but I knew I'd be doing some traveling so I bought a JR pass for 21 days. I went to every bookstore I could find and spent hours looking through the various guides - frommers, lonely planet, rough guide, insight guides, national geographic, and more.

    Oh, how I wish those bookstores had stocked this book! I ended up buying a few of those books, but when I got to Japan, I found this in a bookstore and bought it immediately - for about 3 times the cost as what you'd pay in the States. The other guidebooks were retired and now this is the book I use. It helps me figure out where I should go to enjoy my time in Japan, given that I am travelling by rail. It gives hotel, attraction, and meal information, plus great itineraries and a sense of the best places to go on the rail lines. Just because there's a stop doesn't mean it worth going to, in terms of your precious travel days. This book helps you figure out where to go and why.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very comprehensive
    This book is a must if you intend to make long-distance travelling using trains in Japan. Very comprehensive and practically written.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide book !
    The best way to travel around Japan is by rail and this book has detail information about it.
    This book include not only train information, but also accommodation, eating place and etc (these are quite useful).
    If you are planning to travel Japan, I definitely recommend this one. ... Read more

    7. Gateway to Japan (Kodansha Guide)
    by June Kinoshita, Nicholas Palevsky
    list price: $24.00
    our price: $16.80
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 477002018X
    Catlog: Book (1998-04-01)
    Publisher: Kodansha International (JPN)
    Sales Rank: 39452
    Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    Guide to the Guide [from the book]

    When friends want to know where to go in Japan, I always ask, "What are you interested in?" One friend spent every day at the Kabuki theater in Tokyo. Another ventured north to savor the culinary traditions of Tohoku. We know people who adore Tokyo, exulting in the energy of the world's most futuristic megapolis. Others loath it and flee to tranquil Kyoto, the former imperial city that epitomizes the refinement of traditional culture. Still others visit both cities and marvel at the extremes represented by these opposing poles of the Japanese experience. The diversity of cultural and geographic offerings can be intimidating. The two sections of this hook, History and Culture and Japan by Region, are designed to make them more manageable. History and Culture focuses on specific topics and recommends where to go. Japan by Region gives the practical information you need to make the trip.

    History and Culture

    "A Brief History" introduces the major historical periods and includes a list of the most important figures in Japanese history and culture; their names appear in uppercase letters throughout the book. The chapters that follow provide both an overview and a practical reference on various subjects. For example, "Cuisine" contains bilingual "menus" from which you can order food in restaurants. Most of the chapters conclude with a list of recommendations. Any place that is mentioned in both the main text and the list appears in uppercase.

    Japan by Region

    The ten regional chapters appear in geographic order, from north to south (see map on p. vi). The largest of Japan's four main islands, Honshu, and the smallest, Shikoku, together make up seven chapters. The remaining three chapters are devoted to Hokkaido, Kyushu, and the Okinawan archipelago. Each chapter begins with a brief introduction and lists the best attractions, special interests, and seasonal events.

    Transit Diagrams. The transit diagram at the beginning of each regional chapter shows the main trunk line (usually the bullet train) traversing the region, together with other train and bus lines that branch off. The main junctions on the trunk line are assigned roman numerals and treated as jumping-off points from which to explore side routes; the stations along the side routes are assigned arabic numerals. The text describes in numerical order each main junction, followed by the side routes; their direction is denoted by the letters "N" for north, "E" for east, and so forth. For example, suppose you want to visit Dewa Sanzan (transit key number IV:W3) in Tohoku. To see how to get there, turn to the Tohoku transit diagram (p.152); go down the trunk line to the fourth city, Sendai ,then go west three notches. The text follows the same organization and is, in effect, a series of mini-itineraries.

    Dining, Lodgings, and Local Maps. Dining and lodging facilities are listed at the end of each town or locale. Telephone area codes are usually listed beside the lodgings heading. Shops, restaurants, and hotels will appear on local maps according to a number-key system. (See inside front cover for a key to symbols.) Ratings are awarded on a scale of from one to three stars based on quality, service, and atmosphere. Credit-card information is supplied for every establishment for which the information was available. ... Read more

    Reviews (19)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Don't leave home without it
    Simply the best guide book I've ever used. The first third of the book explains, in easy sections, the key issues that drive the country and civilization. Shinto, Buddhism, History and Social Structure are well presented. The top sites are detailed, but you'll understand why they are important to Japan and what you should look for when you visit. During several of my side trips, I found myself (and the book) serving as the primary guide to my expatriot hosts who had visited the same sites many times. You'd be well served to bring along another guide to Tokyo or any japanese city for restaurant and hotel listings, although there are some suggestions in the guide.

    Why can't other guide books be like this?

    5-0 out of 5 stars Just about the best guide to Japan available.
    This is my favourite guidebook to Japan. It's pretty chunky, and the shape is a little odd (Why so tall and thin?) but the information in here is just about the best you'll find. These two really love their subject and really love telling stories, too. Every time they describe a temple or shrine they try to give some interesting historical information about it. They also devote over a hundred pages at the beginning of the book to the history and culture of Japan. If that sounds like overkill, don't worry, it's all broken down into reader-friendly chunks, a page or two at a time. In the second part of the book, a region by region guide, they give plenty of suggestions for possible walks/half-day/full-day tours, etc. These are good for helping you plan out your trip in advance - no point in arriving and finding out that the place is three times the size you thought it was! Furthermore, the info. and maps are excellent. None of the scr! ibbled-out-on-napkin stuff here, we are talking graphic shading, altitude-showing, super-imposed-lay-out-displaying map-a-rama - OH BABY! LET'S KIOSK! Er...yes...well, the only possible bad things I can think of to say about this guide book is that the section on the whole of Japan north of Tokyo is a bit skinny, and it doesn't categorize the accomodation sections quite as clearly as, say, the Lonely Planet (see below). But that is a very minor point - overall, their accomodation info. is still just as extensive as any other guide.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The greatest
    Having lived in Japan for the past 6 years, I've had the opportunity to use all of the major guidebooks (and quite a few of the minor ones as well), and without a doubt, the most useful and informative guidebook is this one. Of course Lonely Planet has lots of information about restaurants and hotels, but you can get the tourist information center to help you with hotels and wherever you walk you can find plenty of nice restaurants. What you really want is a purpose to visit the places that you are visiting. Lonely Planet just tells you what things are, but this guidebooks tells you the history of each place, so you can understand why each place is important. If you're looking for a guidebook to tell you where the clubs, hangouts, and youth hostels are, then maybe this isn't the book you're looking for. However, if you're looking for a nice meaty book to feed you mind on, this is it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The ONE book you must have for Japan travel
    This book has everything...history of the country, essays on architectural styles, religion, festivals, Inn and bath ettiquete, language, and very extensive hotel, transportation,shopping and dining information. The maps and directions are always correct, and their ratings always match the product. I'm on my third edition, and wouldn't dream of heading to Japan without it!

    5-0 out of 5 stars My travel companion
    After four and a half years living in Japan , five return trips and purchases of many guide books of uneven quality I was delighted to come across "Gateway to Japan". It became my most reliable travel companion. On one trip through the back roads of Japan during which I saw few English speakers and was forced to fall back on my sketchy Japanese, with little to read in English I found that "Gateway to Japan" became my bedtime reading. It has served me well. It is well organized and most informative. ... Read more

    8. Lonely Planet Tokyo (Lonely Planet Tokyo)
    by Kara Knafelc
    list price: $18.99
    our price: $12.91
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1740594509
    Catlog: Book (2005-01-30)
    Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
    Sales Rank: 137130
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    They don't come any cooler than Tokyo.By turns hi-tech, lo-fi, conventional and outrageous, Tokyo is a city that shouldn't work but does.Promenade with the goths of Harajuku, feast your eyes on the blazing lights of Ginza, and unwind in an intimate izakaya.For a city as stylish as Tokyo, you need a smart and streetwise guide.This is it.

    • INDULGE YOUR APPETITE in the finest local restaurants with our Japanese food chapter

    • CATCH THE BULLET TRAIN with confidence, with 11 detailed color maps, and routes and prices from Akihabara to Ueno Zoo

    • DO THE SHINTO SHUFFLE with walking tours to temples and shrines, gardens and palaces

    • PICK UP THE PULSE of the city with our entertainment listings and City Life chapter

    • REFRESH YOUR SENSES with easy day-trips to onsen, temple towns and the famed Mt Fuji ... Read more

    9. The Rough Guide to Japan, Third Edition
    by Rough Guides
    list price: $27.99
    our price: $18.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1843532727
    Catlog: Book (2005-01-27)
    Publisher: Rough Guides
    Sales Rank: 7202
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    INTRODUCTION For a country that lived in self-imposed isolation until 150 years ago, Japan has not hesitated in making up for lost time since the world came calling. Anyone who’s eaten sushi or used a Sony Walkman feels they know something about this slinky archipelago of some 6800 volcanic islands tucked away off the far eastern coast of Asia, and yet, from the moment of arrival in this oddly familiar, quintessentially Oriental land it’s almost as if you’ve touched down on another planet.

    Japan is a place of ancient gods and customs, but is also the cutting edge of cool modernity. High-speed trains whisk you from one end of the country to another with frightening punctuality. You can catch sight of a farmer tending his paddy field, then turn the corner and find yourself next to a neon-festooned electronic games parlour in the suburb of a sprawling metropolis. One day you could be picking through the fashions in the biggest department store on earth, the next relaxing in an outdoor hot-spring pool, watching cherry blossom or snowflakes fall, depending on the season.

    Few other countries have, in the space of a few generations, experienced so much or made such an impact. Industrialized at lightning speed, Japan shed its feudal trappings to become the most powerful and outwardly aggressive country in Asia in a matter of decades. After defeat in World War II, it transformed itself from atom bomb victim to wonder economy, the envy of the globe. Currently facing up to recession and rising unemployment after years of conspicuous consumption, Japan still remains fabulously wealthy and intent on reinvention for the twenty-first century, when, together with South Korea, it will become the first Asian nation to host soccer’s World Cup in 2002.

    Japan is never going to be a cheap place to travel, but there’s no reason why it should be wildly expensive either. Some of the most atmospheric and traditionally Japanese places to stay and eat are often those that are the best value. Furthermore, the recession and tentative moves towards deregulation of the airlines, among other industries, have led to significant price-cutting in some areas.

    In the cities you’ll first be struck by the mass of people. In this mountainous country, one and a half times the size of Britain, the vast majority of the 127 million population live on the crowded coastal plains of the main island of Honshu. The three other main islands, running north to south, are Hokkaido, Shikoku and Kyushu, and all are linked to Honshu by bridges and tunnels that are part of one of Japan’s modern wonders – its efficient transport network of trains and highways.

    If you’re after the latest buzz, the hippest fashions and technologies, and a worldwide selection of food, head for the exciting, overwhelming metropolises of Tokyo and Osaka. The cities are also the best places in which to sample Japan’s traditional performance arts, such as Kabuki and NO plays, to catch the titanic clash of sumo wrestlers, and track down the wealth of Japanese visual arts in the major museums.

    Outside the cities, from the wide open spaces and deep volcanic lakes of Hokkaido, blanketed by snow every winter, to the balmy subtropical islands of Okinawa, there’s a vast range of other holiday options, including hiking, skiing, scuba diving and surfing. You’ll seldom have to travel far to catch sight of a lofty castle, ancient temple or shrine, or locals celebrating at a colourful street festival. The Japanese are inveterate travellers within their own country and there’s hardly a town or village, no matter how small or plain, that doesn’t boast some unique attraction.

    It’s not all perfect, though. Experts on focusing on detail (the exquisite wrapping of gifts and the tantalizing presentation of food are just two examples), the Japanese often miss the broader picture. Rampant development and sometimes appalling pollution are difficult to square with a country also renowned for cleanliness and appreciation of nature. Part of the problem is that natural cataclysms, such as earthquakes and typhoons, regularly hit Japan, so few people expect things to last for long anyway. There’s also a blindness to the pernicious impact of mass tourism, with ranks of gift shops, ugly hotels and crowds often ruining potentially idyllic spots.

    And yet, time and again, Japan redeems itself with unexpectedly beautiful landscapes, charmingly courteous people, and its tangible sense of history and cherished traditions. Most intriguing of all is the opaqueness at the heart of this mysterious "hidden" culture that stems from a blurring of traditional boundaries between East and West – Japan is neither wholly one nor the other. ... Read more

    Reviews (17)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Informative and helpful
    Although I tend to favour Lonely Planet over the Rough Guide, in the case of Japan, the Rough Guide is definitely preferable, and this is increasingly the case now that the latest edition of the Lonely Planet has cut coverage of lots of off-the-beaten-track areas. The Rough Guide to Japan has the edge is conveying the feel of the places covered. I have lived in Japan for more than two years and the guide was practical and sensible on my first trips to Hiroshima and Kyoto - I still find it informative and helpful when I travel around the country now, after substantial experience of Japan. One caveat - while the coverage of such cultural sites as temples and castles is very thorough, the author is obviously not that interested in painting or sculpture. Museum after museum is dismissed for being overpriced, often when the entrance fees are, by Japanese standards, really very reasonable (600 yen or so). Some readers might be put off visiting interesting museums by this bias.

    Japan is a fascinating and frustrating country. So much of its natural beauty and traditional architecture has been destroyed, but it remains an endlessly intriguing place. It deserves more visitors than it gets, but many people are put off by two main difficulties: expenses, and the scarcity of English speakers, especially outside the main cities. The Rough Guide gives useful tips on reasonably priced and pleasant accommodation; I have rarely been disappointed by a hotel or traditional inn they recommend. It also gives detailed explanations of how to get around off the beaten track, which should ease the path for the non-Japanese speaker. Newcomers and veterans alike should have few complaints.

    3-0 out of 5 stars skimpy maps, poorly indexed
    This book is not marred by the "where can an English-only speaker find a good place to get drunk and party" spirit of the Lonely Planet guide.Sadly, however, it falls short of the Lonely Planet in the crucial departments of maps and index.If you're in a rental car the fact that the Rough Guide maps don't show route numbers will be a painful discovery.For train travelers, the book would be a lot more useful if the index were more comprehensive.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Guide Book on Japan
    The Rough Guide is hands down the best travel guide on Japan.The writing is fresh and informative, the practical information is up to date and helpful, and the data is accurate.For the amount of material covered, the depth is amazing ... From Hokkaido to the islands of Okinawa you can navigate the entire country with just this book.And not just "navigate", but plan what to see, where to eat, and where to stay with a variety of options.

    The main complaints previous reviewers have concern the occasional mistake and the lack of pictures.Of course, when you try to summarize an entire country in a thousand pages there will be mistakes and omissions, and of course information will go out of date.Which is why you should always double check your sources, or be prepared to roll with the punches.Most places have websites and even the smallest cities in Japan have at least a little bit of tourist information in English.If you're spending the time and money to come all the way to Japan, what does it hurt to spend a little bit of extra time on the internet double checking the details on places you want to see.

    The same goes for pictures.Personally, I'd rather wait until I get to a place and see for myself what something looks like, but when it comes to pictures (or maps) the internet is a treasure trove of information.

    No matter how well you plan things, there will always be hangups.Traffic is bad.A place you want to see is taking the day off.A bar you want to go to has closed its doors.The best you can do is get as much information ahead of time and hope for the best.From my experience living in Japan, if you are going to rely on one main source for your travel information in Japan, use the Rough Guide.It's better than anything else out there.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good general info but starter reference only
    As it's names suggests, this book is a good comprehensive and readable rough guide to Japan. However, if you want a more in-depth source of info you'd be better off contacting the Japanese Tourist Office and asking them to send you pamphlets and maps. There are places which are not covered by this book and many rural places are mentioned only in passing. There are sections where the authors have clearly visited and remembered enough to write down directional guides, but on the whole, I'd say that the book provides an overview of what's on offer. Overall, I'd recommend it to someone who has never visited Japan, but to get the most out of your holiday, I'd use this as starter reference only. My only gripe is that there aren't enough pictures and you don't get a feel for the places.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Take it from hardened sceptic - yes, the book excellent
    It is an uphill struggle to get me to praise a Rough Guide. I have written many unkind words here about many other books in the series - dull righting, self-righteous tone, preachy ambition - and I stand by what I had said. I continue to feel that travel is a happy business and guidebooks should be written by people who are positive and cheerful, not by grumpy and cruffy backpackers with enormous aptitude for righting the world and with handfuls of easy answers to every question of Third World economic developent. I am also convinced that a guide is not a forum for political campaigning.

    So you can imagine I approached Rough Guide Japan with very, very low expectations. However, I can now say that whatever is wrong with other Rough Guides (poor writing quality, excruciating boredom, naive anti-capitalist rhetoric), you will not find it in this book. Whatever they do right (detailed research, up-to-date info, accurate maps) - there is plenty of it, heaps, loads, all you need! My God they are good. In Japan, they are better than DK Eyewitness, my long-time favorite for most destinations. They even finally sorted their writing - it is readable, and you don't fall asleep after first three passages.

    I find very little to fault in this book: the maps are accurate, listings exhaustive and detailed, and they have most of the practicalities covered, unlike Lonely Planet, who still live firmly in their senile eigthties as far as any transport and banking information is concerned. And let me repeat this (listen all of you who, like me, detested Rough Guides for their oversized egos and belief that they have a role in fixing the world) - there is no usual garbage about how capitalism and tourism ruined a beautuful country. All the annoying whining is gone. The authors really like Japan, they admire it and help you to enjoy your trip. That's all I am asking for.

    The only remarks would be that there could be more photos, and please, PLEASE, change those heart-stoppingly ugly chapter icons and tacky logo. I know you at Rough Guide use those icons everywhere, they're part of the design, but believe me they are hideous. Those drawings look exactly like something that adorned local authority leaflets cautioning against vices of drugs and smoking 20 years ago. And your logo looks like a fire exit sign.

    I wrote earlier that DK Eyewitness Japan, although not perfect, was the best. Well, now I have read and used both DK Eyewitness and Rough Guide in the field. Rough Guide is much better. In fact, this Rough Guide is so good that, despite my earlier promises not to touch them with barge-pole, I will be checking out Rough Guide for all my future destinations. ... Read more

    10. The Hidden Gardens of Kyoto
    by Katsuhiko Mizuno, Masaaki Ono, Lynne E. Riggs, Chikako Imoto
    list price: $45.00
    our price: $29.70
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 4770029373
    Catlog: Book (2004-08-30)
    Publisher: Kodansha America
    Sales Rank: 12344
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    Off the beaten track, not easily seen because in private or official hands, these are the "hidden gardens" of one of the world’s great historic cities.

    All the main types of Japanese garden are represented. First comes the pond garden, which on the grandest scale can be a match for the lake-wood-and-meadow parks of Western estates, and on a more modest scale still contains islands and bridges and pavilions. Then there is the dry landscape garden, whose gravel, rocks, and moss have an austerity remote from most Westerners’ idea of a garden, yet whose purpose, once understood, leaves an impression of dignity and resonance. And finally the tea garden, whose scrupulous simplicity belies great sophistication in the arrangement of its few components.

    To a much greater degree than Western gardens, their enjoyment depends on knowing how to interpret them: how to look for the auspicious tortoise stones—a wedge-shaped head poking out of the ground—or the wings of a stone crane; the symbolic waterfall where no water flows; the bridge that crosses from this world into the next.

    No better guides to these underlying attributes can be found than the photographer of this book, who has spent most of his life in the old capital, and the commentator, a professional garden designer who learned his craft from one of the twentieth century’s greatest landscape gardeners. With their help we learn such things as why no flowers bloom in the tea garden, and why its paths are seldom straight; or why some scenery is best seen in passing from a boat rather than on dry land.

    As a sequel to the acclaimed LANDSCAPES FOR SMALL SPACES, this new appreciation of the traditional Japanese garden will give as much, if not more, pleasure, since part of its attraction is knowing that the gate into these gardens—which might otherwise be closed—is, in these pages, open to us all. ... Read more

    11. Little Adventures in Tokyo: 39 Thrills for the Urban Explorer
    by Rick Kennedy
    list price: $12.95
    our price: $9.71
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1880656345
    Catlog: Book (1998-09-01)
    Publisher: Stone Bridge Press
    Sales Rank: 23262
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Rick Kennedy, author of Good Tokyo Restaurants and Home Sweet Tokyo, has lived in Tokyo for 20 years and knows the city well. When he decided to write Little Adventures in Tokyo, he didn't want to replicate the other comprehensive cinderblock-like guides on the market. He wanted to create a slim, lightweight guide to Tokyo fun, because Tokyo can be overwhelming enough without your guidebook inundating you with information, too. Whether you find yourself in Tokyo on vacation or business, you'll want your explorations in manageable portions. Kennedy organizes the adventures by five Tokyo moods (Old Tokyo, The Metropolis, Tokyo Bizarro, Time Out, and Listen, I Found This Great Place....), cross-references them by location and time, and includes good maps. But the real beauty of this book lies in its tone and the quality of the excursions it details. From the ritual appreciation of incense (kohdo) to the quiet harmonies of old Japanese farmhouses (minka-en) to harvesting rice in the Ginza and skiing inside the SSAWS Ski Dome, Kennedy leads you through the jumble of Tokyo's many neighborhoods. She introduces you to the idiosyncratic pleasures of one of the world's great cities, enabling you to experience the Japanese department store in all its ritualistic splendor, soak in Tokyo's largest bathing facility, or put yourself in the hands of a Shiatsu master. Engagingly readable and full of interesting asides on Tokyo lore, Kennedy's guide provides a great service to the Tokyo-visiting public. ... Read more

    Reviews (14)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Top marks for usefulness
    When I first visited Tokyo, it seemed perplexing and impenetrable.

    There are few well-known must-see tourist attractions from which to get your bearings; not like London with Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly, New York with Times Square and the Statue of Liberty, or Paris with Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower (though, confusingly, Tokyo has one of those, too.)

    No, Tokyo is not a city of things to see, so much as a city where people meet to create and exchange ideas--and have a rollicking good time when they can. Rick Kennedy introduces the stories and personalities of this utterly fascinating city to us.

    Most of the Little Adventures are walking tours with explicit directions, a godsend in a densely-packed, chaotically organised place with an unintelligible address system. A city of Tokyo's size and wealth can afford to indulge almost every whim, and Kennedy shows a good selection of whims, both the eccentric and the commonplace. Perfect example: without this book, I would never have visited the particular art supplies shop where the brushmaker who supplied Picasso still works. I visited Akihabara several times before discovering that the radio building had an upstairs level...full of antiques.

    Since few people have the room to entertain at home, Tokyo abounds in restaurants, bars, and other social places. Rick seems to have visited all of them. (A sister publication and website, Tokyo Q, gives an even better guide to restaurants, as well as being funkier)

    The only thing that keeps me from giving this guide five stars is that a few of these little adventures really do require some Japanese language skill to get the best out of them, which Kennedy seems to gloss over.

    But it's wonderful gloss. While the information Kennedy gives us is useful, the great joy of this book is its charming, poised, mature style. Better than Bill Bryson, and often as funny. A real pleasure to read.

    When friends visit me in Tokyo, I send them my copy in advance. I find that they're able to amuse themselves admirably while I'm busy, and I can enjoy myself with them when I'm not.

    Next edition, maybe he'll add an orientation walk around Shibuya? I work near Shibuya and visit regularly, but it still baffles me.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The insider's Japan
    To even some of the most seasoned travellers to Japan, Tokyo is, as is on a global perspective, a convenient transit point. A hub for individuals jetting off to Asia, America, or even to more picturesque locales in Japan.

    Our impression of Tokyo is commonly that of a post-war urban sprawl firebombed of traditional architecture by B29s. Not so, Rick Kennedy asserts.

    In this handy little travel booklet (one assumes its size is not coincidental), you see the charms of the city gradually revealed to you. From the obscure and esoteric art of kohdo (or incense appreciation), to a day of indoor skiing, this book has enough to keep you occupied for a good two weeks. One wishes that an edition for kyoto is in the works.

    The "adventures" - 39 in all - are mainly walking tours based on a theme. The touristy stuff is here, like the wee hours at Tsukiji Market, but expect also to find the hole-in-the-wall tempura joints and nomiyas.

    Recommended, if you are in Tokyo with time to spare, not for the person with a 2 day stopover.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Glimpse of Tokyo - Excellent guide and good read
    "Little Adventures in Tokyo" does more than offer a guidebook to this amazing city, it also offers hints of the various flavors of Tokyo from the most famous to the most infamous. A great amount of information is packed into this slim volume. Each of the 39 adventures is a view point.

    While not exactly an "off the beaten path" type of guide, there is plenty here to compliment a Lonely Planet or Frommer's. "Little Adventures in Tokyo" is more like having a friend showing you around his beloved city, from the top sites to his favorite hole-in-the-wall. Major attractions like Tsukiji, the famous fresh fish market (Adventure 10), are illuminated in fine detail. Interesting little bits like where to go for avante-guarde theater (Adventure 27) show an entirely different side. Variety is the key here, ranging from high priced to free, from esoteric to amusement.

    The book is very well written, and can be read as a traveler's tales account of Tokyo in its own right, as well as used as a guide book. Several of the adventures I will never do, but I enjoyed reading about them all the same. It seems to be written a little more for residents than casual travelers, as several of the Adventures take some time.

    The only word of warning is to take the prices with a grain of salt, as in Japan's rapidly changing economy things don't stay the same for long. I found everything to be about 100 yen more than the guide prices.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Too many common
    I purchased this book because I wanted to escape the world of lousy planet and was looking for a guidebook that could give me a fresh, different perspective to this world metropolis. However, I was disapponted by the content, with many of the "adventures" being very common tourist destinations in Tokyo, like Asakusa, Yokohama, Tsukiji and the morning rush at Shinjuku station, covered by almost any guidebook. And given that this book can never be your only guidebook to Tokyo (there are no accomodation listings or basic travel information, and few maps), I was expecting more unique destinations.

    On the other hand, some of the adventures in this book are so expensive or esoteric, only the elite few will ever experience them, like enjoying Koh-do or watching the art of Japanese archery. That being said, I did enjoy some of the adventures, most notably the walk through old Tokyo. But if given the chance again, I would skip this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great little guide!
    This guide is EXCELLENT! While Kennedy's writing is at times annoying, he provides great suggestions for things to do in Tokyo. Also included are very good maps and directions for getting places. ... Read more

    12. Being A Broad in Japan: Everything a Western woman needs to survive and thrive
    by Caroline Pover
    list price: $23.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 4990079108
    Catlog: Book (2001-07-19)
    Publisher: Alexandra Press
    Sales Rank: 212066
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    “My encyclopedia, my translator, my phone book, my best friend!” —Western woman living in JapanBeing A Broad in Japan includes everything you need to make the most out of your life: case studies of Western women working in almost 50 different types of jobs; anecdotes from many of the 200 Western women interviewed; profiles of 23 women’s organisations; essential Japanese words and phrases; and indispensable resource sections listing telephone numbers and Websites for English-speaking housing agencies, banks, doctors, dentists, gynaecologists, therapists, lawyers, maternity classes, day care centres, employment agencies, labour unions, graduate schools, and MORE. An essential book for any Western woman living in Japan.

    Read about: • Coping with culture shock. • Finding clothes and shoes that fit. • Avoiding hair disasters. • Cooking Japanese food. • Telling a chikan where to go. • Dating and the singles scene. • Organising contraception. • Getting married and divorced. • Adopting a baby. • Educating your child. • Finding a job. • Teaching gender studies in the English-language classroom. • Coping with reverse culture shock when you leave Japan. ... Read more

    Reviews (4)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Don't move to Japan without it!
    This is the only book I have seen addressing women's issues in Japan. It specifically deals with the challenges Western women face when they live in Japan. It is quite thorough and well-written. The author and her work are very accessible and I would highly recommend this reference to any female planning a relocation. The book is not written for casual vacationers, but can provide useful insights into daily living, if you are curious.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A neccessity for anyone coming here.
    An excellent book which gives you a lot of information on aspects of daily life in Japan. And although it is aimed at women, it is totally relevant to men. I wish it had been available before I came here.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Essential help for Japan newcomers and long-termers
    Whether you're thinking of moving to Japan, or are already here, this book can help you deal with the day-to-day trials of being a stranger in a very strange land. It has both general info and stuff that's more likely to be of interest to women (childcare, finding a good English-speaking gynecologist, etc). All in all, a great resource for foreign women in Japan...

    5-0 out of 5 stars The not so inscrutable Japan.
    As a woman who arrived in Japan years ago, when there were next to no resources to help one settle into everyday life, I commend Caroline Pover for her almost monumental resource book for foreign women living in Japan. She covers almost every possible issue from job hunting and setting up one"s own business to dating to being a mother, and extremely important to anyone living in a foreign country --- how and where to get good health care --- and much more, listing a treasure of organizations, books, useful addresses and telephone numbers, and web pages. Included at the end of each chapter is a basic and useful Japanese vocabulary pertaining to the subject.
    As a personal touch, a number of expatriate women involved in a variety of jobs tell their stories, sharing the frustrations and successes they have experienced in a country not always friendly to the working woman.
    Because so much research was involved, a few references became out of date while the book went to press; it would have been helpful to have a loose page addition with corrections. Nevertheless, the book is invaluable for foreign women living in Japan and for any woman, married or single, who contemplates a move there. ... Read more

    13. Japanese at a Glance: Phrase Book and Dictionary for Travelers
    by Nobuo Akiyama, Carol Akiyama
    list price: $8.95
    our price: $8.06
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0764103202
    Catlog: Book (1998-04-01)
    Publisher: Barron's Educational Series
    Sales Rank: 132140
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best ways to learn useful Japanese phrases
    This book can be indispensable to travellers on their way to the Land of the Rising Sun. Beginning with an easy to understand pronunciation guide, the book lists thousands of practical phrases in a multitude of contexts, from taking a taxi to getting a haircut to haggling for the best price in the shops of Akihibara in Tokyo.

    The phrases are transcribed into the Roman alphabet ("romanized") in a way that makes each syllable easy to understand; each phrase is also written in the Japanese script to the side -- in case you just can't make yourself understood verbally, you can just point to the phrase you're trying to communicate to your Japanese friend.

    The book also includes a respectably sized Japanese-English, English-Japanese glossary, and brief explanations of the Japanese writing system and grammar.

    This book has greatly aided my facility with Japanese and I highly recommend it. ... Read more

    14. Wrong About Japan : A Father's Journey with His Son
    list price: $17.95
    our price: $12.21
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1400043115
    Catlog: Book (2005-01-11)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 112399
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    15. Old Kyoto: A Guide To Traditional Shops, Restaurants, And Inns
    by Diane Durston
    list price: $22.00
    our price: $14.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 4770029942
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
    Publisher: Kodansha International (JPN)
    Sales Rank: 88004
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Down the cobbled paths and behind the tranquil noren curtains of Kyoto, the old way of life goes on, nurtured in the restrained furnishings of the traditional inns and in the old shops where fine handmade items still add a touch of quality to life.

    Since the first edition appeared in 1986, this lovingly written travelogue-cum-guidebook has become de rigueur for knowledgeable travelers seeking to find "the real Kyoto" behind the modern face of the city's constantly changing boulevards. OLD KYOTO focuses on the family establishments that have been in business for at least a hundred years, and in some cases for over ten generations. Astonishingly, many of the old shops and inns of Kyoto can still be found on narrow backstreets, under the heavy, tiled rooftops of traditional machiya dwellings. Here, the adventurous traveler will uncover treasures: the way in which a hand-crafted calligraphy brush is bound, a miniature garden tended, a bamboo basket woven.

    For critics and travelers alike, OLD KYOTO has long been regarded the essential guidebook to Japan's most cherished city. This second edition of OLD KYOTO is completely updated. Shops have been added, and maps, prices, directions, descriptions, and general information have all been thoroughly revised. ... Read more

    Reviews (8)

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Down the cobbled paths, and behind the tranquil curtain..."
    Stepping off the train in Kyoto for the first time can be a disappointing experience for many travelers. People who have fallen in love with the fairy tale of Japan's old capitol, who have absorbed "Memoirs of a Geisha," and swooned at photographs of golden temples, paper lanterns, and beautiful, elusive Geisha fleeing quickly through close, wooded back-allies, are shocked to discover a modern, dirty city, overrun with power lines, buses and hotels. Furthermore, it is stacked to the gills with tourists, each seeking their own Kyoto-of-my-dreams. Where are the secret spaces, the ancient houses and quiet tea houses steeped in history? Diane Durston can tell you.

    If you are anything like me, "Old Kyoto: A Guide to Traditional Shops, Restaurants and Inns" is the guide to the Kyoto you are looking for. A fascinating and delightful guide to the relics of old Kyoto, the stuff that you see on the post cards but can't seem to find in the city itself, Diane Durston has dredged the sludge of a modern city to find things like Nishiharu, a small tatami-room shop selling authentic Ukiyo-e prints with a proprietor who greets each guest with a cup a tea and a smile, or Ippo-Do, a 140-year old tea shop who's name ("One Promise") and business is based on a promise to an old customer that they would never sell anything but tea, and Tawara-ya, an inn so beautiful that when the King of Sweden stayed there, he was late for his official tour do to lingering too long in the morning light of the garden.

    As a guide, "Old Kyoto" is divided into regions, Central Kyoto, Eastern Kyoto, Western Kyoto, Northern Kyoto and Southern Kyoto, and then showcasing a few treasures of each region, splitting evenly amongst craftwear, antiques, Japanese-style hotels, restaurants and food-sellers. Many of these shops are tiny, without even a sign out in front to advertise their business. Some carry ancient placards announcing them as official providers to the Emperor of their unique offering. All of them are tempting enough to include more than a few when visiting Kyoto.

    Each entry is a loving, well-written essay, and Diane Durston paints an affectionate picture of the store and its proprietors. You can tell that she carries each of these shops in her heart, and one shop, a traditional bucket-maker, is included in fond remembrance, even though the craftsman himself has passed away with no one to pass his craft to.

    In addition to the shop introductions, there are a few extras, such as a guide to walks through old Kyoto, and recommended day-trips to places such as Fushimi and Uji which are easily accessible from Kyoto city. While these are a nice addition, there are other, more-inclusive guide books for this kind of thing.

    "Old Kyoto" is an essential guide to anyone seeking that city that they have read so much about. It is still there, you just have to know where too look for it. Fortunately for us, Diana Durston knows where to look, and has kindly shown us the way.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Feel like a local
    We used this book to guide our shopping travels in Kyoto last October.All of the stores we wanted to visit were still open and lived up to their descripiton in the book.Although at times you feel you are on a wild goose chase to find these shops, they are well worth the effort for authentic crafts and art.Good secret-let's hope the tourist mill doesn't catch on!

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Down the cobbled paths, and behind the tranquil curtain..."
    Stepping off the train in Kyoto for the first time can be a disappointing experience for many travelers.People who have fallen in love with the fairy tale of Japan's old capitol, who have absorbed "Memoirs of a Geisha," and swooned at photographs of golden temples, paper lanterns, and beautiful, elusive Geisha fleeing quickly through close, wooded back-allies, are shocked to discover a modern, dirty city, overrun with power lines, buses and hotels.Furthermore, it is stacked to the gills with tourists, each seeking their own Kyoto-of-my-dreams. Where are the secret spaces, the ancient houses and quiet tea houses steeped in history? Diane Durston can tell you.

    If you are anything like me, "Old Kyoto: A Guide to Traditional Shops, Restaurants and Inns" is the guide to the Kyoto you are looking for.A fascinating and delightful guide to the relics of old Kyoto, the stuff that you see on the post cards but can't seem to find in the city itself,Diane Durston has dredged the sludge of a modern city to find things like Nishiharu, a small tatami-room shop selling authentic Ukiyo-e prints with a proprietor who greets each guest with a cup a tea and a smile, or Ippo-Do, a 140-year old tea shop who's name ("One Promise") and business is based on a promise to an old customer that they would never sell anything but tea, and Tawara-ya, an inn so beautiful that when the King of Sweden stayed there, he was late for his official tour do to lingering too long in the morning light of the garden.

    As a guide, "Old Kyoto" is divided into regions, Central Kyoto, Eastern Kyoto, Western Kyoto, Northern Kyoto and Southern Kyoto, and then showcasing a few treasures of each region, splitting evenly amongst craftwear, antiques, Japanese-style hotels, restaurants and food-sellers.Many of these shops are tiny, without even a sign out in front to advertise their business.Some carry ancient placards announcing them as official providers to the Emperor of their unique offering.All of them are tempting enough to include more than a few when visiting Kyoto.

    Each entry is a loving, well-written essay, and Diane Durston paints an affectionate picture of the store and its proprietors.You can tell that she carries each of these shops in her heart, and one shop, a traditional bucket-maker, is included in fond remembrance, even though the craftsman himself has passed away with no one to pass his craft to.

    In addition to the shop introductions, there are a few extras, such as a guide to walks through old Kyoto, and recommended day-trips to places such as Fushimi and Uji which are easily accessible from Kyoto city.While these are a nice addition, there are other, more-inclusive guide books for this kind of thing.

    "Old Kyoto" is an essential guide to anyone seeking that city that they have read so much about.It is still there, you just have to know where too look for it.Fortunately for us, Diana Durston knows where to look, and has kindly shown us the way.

    4-0 out of 5 stars You should go to Kyoto, not to Tokyo.
    In Japan, the most famouse city will be Tokyo. But I as Japanese do not recommend Tokyo very much, because Tokyo is the city like N.Y or London, big city but can not feel Japanese truth historical things.

    If foreigners go to Japan, I recommend Kyoto. Though Kyoto is the big city more than 1000thousands people are living, but the scenery will be felt Japanese history to us, there are many temples or the Japanese statue etc.

    For instance, in Kyoto the bulding like 10 floor is banned. Because the scenery will be bad for high building.

    And Japan have four seasons, winter fall spiring summer,called to Siki. The place that we can enjoy the four seasons must be Kyoto.
    In spring, cherry bloom here and there, in summer fresh green trees will help the contrast to Japanese temple color like the gold color of Kinakakugi. In winter snow will add shiny white color to the historical temples.

    The historical foods in Kyoto is good too. For instance Yatsuhashi, that will be unfamiliar foods for foreigners. But that is very dericiouse and sweety. should eat that.

    Thank you for reading poor English.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Kyoto's Finest
    Are you visiting Kyoto?You'll find that this book will help you to see the old traditional Kyoto.It gives some history, background, and cultural information on old Kyoto.The meat of this book gives information on shops, restaurants, and inns which represent old Kyoto.Each one covered gets about two or three pages of description, so you can get a lot of information about each place featured, and you can really understand why each place is special.Because the descriptions are so complete, you can enjoy reading about these places even if you aren't going to Kyoto.

    I'm a resident of Kyoto, and I find that most of the places listed in this book aren't in the mainstream guides, so if you pick up this book in addition to a mainstream guide, there won't be much overlapping.Also the places list here really give you a feel for old Kyoto.If you have a few days in Kyoto, you should definitely stop by a few of these places. ... Read more

    16. In the Wake of the Jomon
    by JonTurk
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0071449027
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
    Publisher: International Marine/McGraw-Hill
    Sales Rank: 30254
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    The thrilling account of an extraordinary journey
    in the tradition of Kon-Tiki

    In 1996 a 9,500-year-old skeleton was found beside the Columbia River, galvanizing anthropologists with the possibility that prehistoric humans reached North America from Asia by crossing the ocean in small open boats. In this compelling narrative, world-class kayaker and science writer Jon Turk relates his successful attempt to re-create this perilous migration. This story wraps an intriguing anthropological argument inside a gripping narrative about the sea, an ancient people, and the wilderness of northeast Siberia.

    Recounting his two-year, 3,000-mile kayak voyage from Japan's bamboo forests to the tundra of Siberia and Alaska, Turk introduces strong archeological and anthropological evidence that his expedition was not the first. He explains how the ancient Jomon people could have completed this journey 10,000 to 15,000 years ago and provides insight into the question of why they did it. Both fascinating adventure and riveting prehistory, In the Wake of the Jomon is destined to become a classic.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Aventure in Understanding The Past Through The Presentt
    This is not only an important book for anthropoligists and archeologists, it also provides important insights for sociologists and humanists.

    In reliving the probable route of the Kennewick Man from Asia to North America Turk provides an exciting narrative of a 10,000 year old journey giving an insight into the problems of such a trip as well as a picture of the physical environment existing during such a journey.

    For the sociologist and the humanist the implications of Turk's journey are important because of the picture given of the current environment of those living today. The effect of the break-up of the USSR on this part of the world presents new realities which have never been covered by the press and suggest potential future problems for both Russia and the US.

    Turk's journey ranks with those of Halliburton and Heyerdal but his timely description of present social implications is important for our understanding of the world today.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Enlightening Adventure
    What a great book!
    I recently read Jon Turk's In the Wake of the Jomon during a plane trip.I was captured by the excitement, rich details, and anthropological information and could not put it down.I found myself actually glad to hear the loudspeaker announce a 1.5 hr delay of my connecting flight as it allowed me more uninterrupted reading time.
    If you are looking for a gripping adventure that will educate you as it excites you, read In the Wake of the Jomon.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Don't Miss Book
    Not only does Jon Turk provide the reader with an excellent account of what early man accomplished through his trip from ancient Japan to the Americas, he provides an excellent view of the current economic situation in eastern Siberia.Everyone interested in current world economy, as well as those seeking answers regarding the arrival of humans in the Americas should read this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars an extraordinary story
    I have just finished reading this wonderful book.I couldn't put it down.The author's journey is so fascinating that I read it with our family's globe in front of me on our coffee table.I would always be looking at the globe to find the different locations Jon Turk (the author) visits along the way. This book held a lot of relevance for me as I live in a northern country (Canada) and was interested to read about the lives of the people Jon Turk met who live along the outer edges of Siberia.
    In addition, while it makes you think about the connectedness of all humankind,for those of us who live in North America it is a wonderful opportunity to learn how people came to our continent so many thousands of years ago.

    5-0 out of 5 stars In the Wake of the Jomon
    There I was hunkered down in the Aleutian islands, weathering out yet another Bering Sea storm, when Jon Turk's book 'In the Wake of the Jomon' showed up in my mailbox. For the next twenty four hours, as the willy-wa winds howled and the sea roared, I was held hostage deep within the pages of Turk's epic and Homeric-like book.

    This book is one of those rare and special gifts, that appear from time to time, which are so captivating that it is nearly impossible to put them down.
    Between the pages of Turks book I could feel the Bering Sea on my face, breath of a walrus, the anxieties and joys of adventure, bone tired limbs, kamuj spirits, as Turk journey's in the ancient wake of the Jomon people and their migration from Japan to North America.

    While the majority of people follow the pragmatic path, Turk follows his dreams. He is honest, Intelligent, spiritual, hard-core, truly one of the greatest adventurers of our time, he is what the Russians call a puteshetvenik (a wandering story teller, one who carries the news, links cultures, and transfers technology.)

    On his quest to follow the migration of the Jomon and his own soul, Turk introduces us to reindeer herders, vodka drinking bureaucrats, a shaman and healer, Kamchatka hunters who face bears in hand-to-hand combat, pods of Killer whales and Sea lions, the authors own fears, and new revolutionary ways to view human development.

    Turk tells us that the original migrants, the Jomon, might have been driven by romantic or spiritual motives or by a plain old fashion love of adventure. Like Turk, maybe the Jomon were simply eccentric maverick seekers.

    This book has been carefully crafted, is intelligent and insightful, can be enjoyed by all, and is one of the wisest and thrilling, adventure stories ever written.
    'In the Wake of the Jomon' made me feel like getting up off my couch and doing something wild and extraordinary, it made me feel alive.
    Anxiously awaiting Jon Turk's next dispatch from the field.
    Robert Torkildson
    Dutch Harbor, Alaska ... Read more

    17. Looking for the Lost: Journeys Through a Vanishing Japan (Kodansha Globe)
    by Alan Booth
    list price: $21.00
    our price: $14.28
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1568361483
    Catlog: Book (1996-05-01)
    Publisher: Kodansha America
    Sales Rank: 86280
    Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (8)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Journey through Japan
    I wish I could write as entertainingly as Alan Booth. This book will not disappoint you, especially if you like traveling and are fascinated with Japan. And if not, it's still a great read anyway.

    The most brilliant thing about this book is that the author combines Japanese history into his narratives as he traces three historical figures and/or locations in Japan by foot. The way he makes the characteres he meets along the way of his journey come to life is outstanding. I really enjoy this book and wish that he had written others before he died. The only thing that bothered me somewhat and makes me feel unsympathetic towards him, however, is that he drank too much. But who am I to judge? This is a great book. Highly recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sadness Over the Horizon
    Will some publisher PLEASE print a collection of Alan Booth's outstanding newspaper articles? These would be a wonderful complement to Looking for the Lost and Roads to Sata.

    Looking for the Lost is an oddity. A book that I remember few details of, yet I remember with great vividness that I was moved by a intangible sadness that was always just over the next horizon of his journeys. Alan Booth was a writer of invincible good humor. Too much so to speak of his own impending death (though his newspaper writings about his trials with the Japanese medical system are classic). But the alert reader is constantly aware of an impending passing of life, seemingly inseparable from the passing of beauty in this country.

    I was in Japan during the final years of Alan Booth's life here, pretty much in the same circles. It is my deep regret that I never took the trouble to make his acquaintance.

    5-0 out of 5 stars an outsider's inside look at Japan
    This is a facinating book. You get unusual and fresh perspectives on national/racial identity and the travel book. The story of how Alan Booth came to Japan, and his unique viewpoint as a foreigner who speaks the language, and knows as much or more about Japanese culture than many of the natives, is woven throughout his accounts of walking through different areas of the country. The way the people he meets view him, and the way he reacts and responds to them is often funny, and just as often instructive and meaningful. This a great book, and reveals much upon repeated readings. I only wish there more from him.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An historical anthropology
    I have read Alan Booth's other great travelogue 'The Roads to Sata', which is as compelling as the present book. I have lived in Japan for a little over two years now and have studied it's culture for more than eight, but I can't remember ever reading a book (besides the one mentioned above) that was so revealing for the experience of life in Japan through the eyes of a foreigner, that I even felt as though I was walking alongside Alan Booth as he describes his visits to almost completely forgotten places and his encounters with and thoughts on the people he meets during his long walks. It actually would have been a great opportunity for me, if I had been given the chance to walk (or I should rather say 'limp', because of the blistering, and so on, feet) with him, since the thorough preparations he undoubtedly has made before every 'excursion' through the remote areas in this book would have rendered such an occasion a magnificent learning experience, listening every now and then to his stories about the areas' history as well as local traditions. In the process meeting with any number of interesting and not so interesting people, making up the colorful background to the stories. This is a highly recommended book for anyone truly interested in Japan as it is not advertised in tourist brochures.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not just for folks who have lived there
    I have never lived in Japan, but have visited, and found a certain "something" wonderful about that country and its people that I could never find adequate words to describe. Alan Booth communicates both the mystique and the down-to-earth attitude Westerner finds in Japan--I think it's that "something" that I've searched my own intellect, but failed, to describe. Reading Alan Booth's "Looking for the Lost" has helped me to connect with those subtle attractions that I found in Japan, and that kept me returning.

    Since most reader-reviewers recommend this book to those who have lived in Japan, I'll add my voice and recommend it to those who have spent limited time there, or who are planning to travel in the outer-reaches of this gorgeous country. ... Read more

    18. Fodor's Japan, 16th Edition : The Guide for All Budgets, Completely Updated, with Color Photos and Many Maps (Fodor's Japan)
    by Fodors
    list price: $23.00
    our price: $15.64
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 067900890X
    Catlog: Book (2002-04-02)
    Publisher: Fodor's
    Sales Rank: 16560
    Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    No matter what your budget or whether it's your first trip or fifteenth, Fodor's Gold Guides get you where you want to go.In this completely up-to-date guide our experts who live in Japan give you the inside track, showing you all the things to see and do -- from must-see sights to off-the-beaten-path adventures, from shopping to outdoor fun.Fodor's Japan shows you hundreds of hotel and restaurant choices in all price ranges -- from budget-friendly B&Bs to luxury hotels, from casual eateries to the hottest new restaurants, complete with thorough reviews showing what makes each place special.The Smart Travel Tips A to Z section helps you take care of the nitty gritty with essential local contacts and great advice -- from how to take your mountain bike with you to what to do in an emergency. Your personal supply of Post-it? flags makes it easy to mark your favorite listings.Plus, web links, costs, and mix-and-match itineraries make planning a snap. ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Very good, but there may be stronger contenders
    Fodor's was the fourth guide that I bought for Japan. It did not disappoint, but competition is tough and others do a better job in some areas.

    My biggest complaint would be a poor map of Tokyo subway (black and white, coding of lines difficult to follow even for someone who is not a complete newcomer), even poorer street map of Tokyo itself and no subway map for Kyoto. True, you can get free subway maps; and decent maps of Tokyo are available separately, but after investing money into a good guide you should not have to worry about this.

    The guide sounds inspired and cheerful, sections about dining, culture and the language are better than adequate. It can be quite prescriptive at times, but it does not really stand in the way of enjoyment.

    The guide does a good job countering small-minded myths about "expensive Japan". To all those whining about $10 cups of coffee and $100 melons I say this: if coffee and melons and other comforts are so crucial to you, maybe you should stay at home to make sure you have cheap supply of these commodities. One recalls certain Lonely Planet writers who dedicate half of their time spent in Scandinavia to a search for cheap booze; they get very disappointed when they cannot find any and then they go on for pages and pages about it. Well, Fodor's guide does not get its foot into the same trap: when in Japan, do not try to recreate home experiences and you'll be fine. Still, I think the guide worries too much about Italian and Mexican restaurants in Japan: I do not think there are many people so strange that they would go half-way around the world and then try to get something that is available back home for a fraction of a price. Anyway, looking for an italian place in Japan is a bit like shopping for a computer in Ghana - yes, it is available, but why would you do it?

    The guide is strong on directions to the attractions and descriptions are brief but accurate. I liked Hokkaido section which not all guides cover adequately (DK Eyewitness, for example, only managed to cough up a few pages - definitely not sufficient for the exciting land that is the north of Japan).

    It is disappointing that Fodor decided not to cover Okinawa at all: many of travellers to Japan would want to go there. I understand this was done because they needed more space for Tokyo and Kyoto.

    It is evident that the writers do not have the same fascination with Tokyo as they have with Kyoto. It is not a shortcoming because no-one really loves both the same way, yet you may find that Rough Guide does a more spirited coverage of the main city.

    Overall, DK Eyewitness has much better maps (not so strong on anything else, unfortunately), Lonely Planet has solid descriptions and practical info of some more remote places and also covers kanji versions of placenames in a very convenient way, but overall Rough Guide Japan is still the strongest book for the destination (and I am not a natural fan of Rough Guide, but in Japan they really surpassed themselves and all others).

    Fodor's Japan is good but not ideal unless you like their writing style and their indexing system (admittedly quite good, and goes some way towards compensating for less-than-adequate mapping) so much that you are prepared to ignore the shortcomings.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Gaijin friendly
    I used this book on a one week visit to Japan with my 15-year old daughter. While I had been to Japan many times on business, I had always been accompanied by Japan-based associates who delivered me from one destination to another, and refused to let me get lost. I had also not had the opportunity to do any genuine sightseeing. Using this book as our only guide we were able to: 1) Walk from our hotel in Akasaka to the Imperial Palace, seeing the Diet and a couple of shrines on the way; 2) Take the subway and trains to Kamakura for a tour of the temples; 3) Take the subway to Ryogoku to check out the Sumo stables; 4) Buy tickets and ride the shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto for a tour of the temples, and return; 5) Take an ikebana (flower arranging) lesson at the Sogetsu Kaikan; And 6) shop in the Ginza and other areas. In all cases, the directions and advice were on target. I highly recommend this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best guide books on Japan
    I brought an earlier edition of "Fodor's Japan" in the mid 90ies, before my first trip to Japan. Since than, I have been back in Japan several times and read several other travel guides, including the Lonely planet guides.
    I found Fodor's really outstanding. The walking tours by district are really helpful when you don't prepare for hours in advance. If you do them, you have really covered 80-90% of the important sites. This is especially helpful for day trips to Hakone, Nikko or Nara. Longer tours include good restaurant and take out tips and the descriptions are short enough to read up on while walking while still offering interesting details. I think the sections on Kyoto and Tokyo are even better than the once in guide books focused only on these cities. The book features a good range of hotels as well, organized by area and prize, but I found the dinning part really outstanding. For example, the Kanda's hidden soba shops, the collection of stylish bars or world class tempura restaurants I found in no other guide. So, I would really recommend the guide book. ... Read more

    19. Hiking in Japan (Lonely Planet Walking Guides)
    by Mason Florence, Craig McLachlan, Richard Ryall, Anthony Weersing, Chris Roethorn
    list price: $19.99
    our price: $13.59
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1864500395
    Catlog: Book (2000-11-01)
    Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
    Sales Rank: 30827
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    Sunrise atop Fuji-san, steaming volcanoes, natural hot springs, ancient temples and pilgrim trails, wild subtropical jungles, spectacular gorges, unique wildlife and nature's seasonal shows - explore the wonders of Japan with this meticulously researched guide.

    • detailed trail notes with kanji for more than 70 day and multi-day hikes
    • 70 detailed, custom-drawn contour maps with kanji
    • accommodation options from gateway cities to remote camp sites
    • tips on transport to and from the trailheads
    • practical advice on local culture, responsible hiking and pre-hike preparation
    • quick reference language section, glossary and gazetteer with kanji
    ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Packed with ideas and advice
    This is a really good guide to the mountains of Japan, both informative and inspirational. All too often, walking guides focus on the easiest routes to tick off an artificial list of peaks (just about every Japanese-language guide fits this description), but instead the authors have produced a wide range of easy to fairly challenging walks in the most attractive settings around the country which should suit just about everyone. Ok, the suggested itineraries will not stretch the fittest (especially for hut-dwellers who are not carrying tents) but there is plenty of info to enable you to modify the plans to suit yourselves. For the routes that we have followed precisely, we have found the information to be very accurate and up-to-date, and they have all been memorable walks.

    This book has significantly enhanced our time in Japan and I highly recommend it to anyone who is itching to get out of the cities but doesn't quite know where to go.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hiking in Japan
    Another specialized book from the Lonely Planet team, this one catering to those who like to take exercise with their nature. Japan is heavily populated, and the megalopolis called Tokyo is easily the world's biggest, but nearly all the people live on the coastal plain of the Pacific coast, leaving the rest of this mountainous country open for the adventurous hiker.
    The book follows the usual Lonely Planet formula with the first pages devoted to the geography, history, climate, flora and fauna as well as social and religious areas of Japanese life.
    The second section deals with specific information for the hiker, including suggested itineraries, weather information, safety while hiking and, usefully, pre-departure planning. This last section tells us to have health insurance and know something about First Aid; good advice for those who haven't thought of such things.
    The hikes suggested in the book, and there are over a hundred, cover the length and breadth of Japan, are classified into five levels from easy to hard, and are divided up into day-long walks.
    The maps in the book show a marked improvement over earlier Lonely Planet publications, early editions of which often had no scale or compass point! "Hiking in Japan" on the other hand contains maps that are very difficult to obtain even in Japan itself.
    For those who speak no Japanese, there is the glossary of everyday language at the back of the book, and, perhaps even more essential, a transliteration of the Japanese character place-names into the roman alphabet.

    4-0 out of 5 stars I only missed one thing
    And that is descriptions of longer treks.
    There are a few described as 4-8 days long in this book, but when walking I found that that would have been at a snail's pace and the times given had to be halved. Even a quick look at the regional maps will confirm that all hikes described only cover relatively small areas.
    So those planning a longer trek through the backcountry of Japan might be disappointed, but I understand there aren't many of those.
    On the other hand, those looking for advice on short hikes in national parks or near the major cities will find lots of good ideas, and practical details that tend to be amazingly correct by guidebook standards!

    4-0 out of 5 stars A wise man climbs Fuji once; a fool climbs it twice.
    I found that you really don't have much of a choice if you are going to Japan and are interested in recent comprehensive English hiking guides. There is a lot of information once you get to Japan on day hikes available from the tourist information places in each town. I found that for a survey trip, this book was just extra weight in my pack. (I ended up using this book thrice for 1-2 days trips on a 3 week trip to Japan, and that was pushing it.)

    I did read it and looked at the pretty pictures to get an idea of where to go during my Japan trip planning phase. It is useful to the person focused on hiking around Japan. This may seem obvious, but it's basically a trail guide. It gives great information (including translations of hiking signs) that isn't found in other more general guide books. It tells you how to get to a trailhead, and where to go once you get there, and has some sections on floura, etc. native to Japan.

    Although they are great (just because they exist), I found the trail maps lacking at times, especially (and surprisingly) for the everybody-does-it Mt Fuji trek.

    Good reading if you're thinking about multi-day treks. Otherwise, skip it for a more general (regular Lonely Planet) guide since it will just weigh down your pack.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very informative
    Very well written and detailed description of the trails of Japan. Excellent resource to prepare potential hikers and walkers for the task of exploring the hinterlands of Japan... ... Read more

    20. Fodor's Pocket Kyoto, 1st Edition : The All-in-One Guide to the Best of the City Packed with Places to Eat, Sleep,Shop, and Explore (Fodor's Pocket Kyoto)
    by Fodors
    list price: $9.95
    our price: $8.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 067690873X
    Catlog: Book (2002-06-04)
    Publisher: Fodor's
    Sales Rank: 204320
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    Fodor's Pocket Guides are designed for people who just want the highlights. They contain full, rich descriptions of major cities around the globe including the most worthy sights, the best restaurants and lodging, plus shopping, nightlife, and outdoors highlights--all in a handy, pocket-size package.

    Fodor's Pocket Kyoto gives you: All the basics you need to help you decide what to see and do in the time you have; smart contacts and detailed practical information, including the scoop on public transportation, local holidays, what to pack, and more; the very best dining and lodging in every price range; great recommendations for shopping nightlife, outdoor activities, and essential side trips; and detailed maps with sights, restaurants, nightspots, and hotels clearly marked.

    An excellent choice for people who want everything under one cover." - Washington Post
    ... Read more

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