Japan Week Book Review & Giveaway: Tokyo City Guide

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

As a Special Bonus, Lonely Planet  will give a copy of Tokyo City Guide, to a randomly drawn commenter on this article. Post your comments - you might win! 

As anyone who has ever been in Tokyo can attest, it is a vibrant, exciting, cosmopolitan city with sukoshi (small) glimpses of its ancient history.  I was lucky enough to live in Tokyo for a year, while working for an international exchange company. I LOVED it. I loved the constant movement, the goings-on, the juxtaposition of technology and modern life with an ancient culture.

Recently we received a review copy of Lonely Planet's Tokyo City Guide. Expecting a trip down memory lane, I was pleasantly surprised by the coherence that this travel guide gives to such a large and diverse world city. This edition, the 7th, is written by Matthew D Firestone and Timothy N Hornyak. I can tell from reading it that both of these authors are well-versed in Tokyo - from the basics to the excellent recommendations they have in a plethora of categories.

This Tokyo City Guide is split up into several pertinent sections: getting started, background, neighborhoods, shopping, eating, entertainment, sports and activities, sleeping, excursions, transport, directory, language, and behind the scenes. There is a pull-out map included at the back of the book of both the subway and streets. As well, as any Lonely Planet reader knows, the LP website (lonely planet.com) is chock full of updates, extra information, and more.  This is truly a complete guide to a very cosmopolitan city.

I was eager to read of the neighborhoods that I was familiar with - Shinjuku (and Studio Alta, with the huge screen tv on the side of their building!), Harajuku, Asakusa, Roppongi, and more. The authors have found - and share - many gems of restaurants, shops, and cool experiences. I will never forget finding all kinds of paper and pen shops, tucked in next to large department stores. I love that about Tokyo, that so many different things can co-exist peacefully.

This travel guide book is also good for learning about different cultural activities in Tokyo - all sorts of modern and traditional arts. I was pleased to see that the old standards (i.e., Blue Note Tokyo ) are still holding their own among all the newer offerings.

There are many photos and detailed maps scattered throughout the book, as well as small cultural snippets that can clue readers in to Japanese culture and life.   The suggestions that the authors make are definitely worth following. As well, recommendations are made at every budget level for each category.  I really appreciate this, in this city that can be one of the most expensive in the world!

One of the best parts of the book, for me, was the excursions. Whether you are interested in on-sen (hot springs), temples and shrines, or famous sights, there are plenty of ideas and recommendations here. You can't go wrong with taking a few days out of Tokyo, to slow down and see other parts of Japan.

I have to say, reading LP's Tokyo City Guide has made me VERY homesick for Tokyo, and Japan. From the food (which I just love) to the shopping, to the cultural activities, to the people which are truly the very soul of Japan, I think that Tokyo is a MUST visit place for any intercultural traveler. 


I highly recommend this Tokyo City Guide to any traveler - whether in real time or as an armchair traveler. There's so much to absorb, in Tokyo, that a guide to getting around well is necessary. This guide can help you do just that - truly enjoy your time in Tokyo, and get the most out of your visit there.



Please leave a comment on this book review to be entered into a random
drawing for a copy of Tokyo City Guide, courtesy of Lonely Planet. Comments left until 11:59pm Wednesday, November 6th, will be accepted.

You must be a member of WanderingEducators.com (free to join) to leave a comment. At this time, only commenters with U.S. addresses are eligible to win.


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Comments (3)

  • AndreaMeyers

    13 years 10 months ago

    My husband has spent a fair amount of time in Japan lately, and wrote a story about his experience at a 90 minute buffet in Tokyo. Fun stuff! I'm envious because I've only been through the airport and never had a chance to stay for a visit!


    Teaching Abroad Editor

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    13 years 10 months ago

    Congrats, Andrea - you've won the Tokyo City Guide! I'll be contacting you for mailing info...


    Jessie Voigts

    Publisher, wanderingeducators.com

  • AndreaMeyers

    13 years 10 months ago

    Thank you!! Hopefull I'll get to accompany my husband on one of his Tokyo trips soon!

    Teaching Abroad Editor

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