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which guidebook 2009/9/23 02:40
Hi there, I will be travelling out to Japan in a few weeks and wondered what guidebook you guys would recommend. I will be travelling to Tokyo, Hiroshima, Kyoto. I read some reviews on amazon and it seems like Rough Guide To Japan seemed better than Lonely Planet.

Any ideas/advice would be much appreciated.
by ohnoimran  

many 2009/9/23 15:13
This webiste is a great sourse for travel info. I wish I knew it was here before my first trip to Japan. Look up and read as much as you can here before you go. But as far as books go, I looked through a lot before I decided on "eyewitness travel guide-Japan" It had a nice mix of info & pictures. (As well as train & subway maps for Tokyo & Osaka) It's broken up into different zones, so easy to find out about things in whatever area you happen to be in. Some of the travel books have lots of info, but kind of boring and too much reading.
anyway, anything will help. enjoy you planning and plan with "flex" time for things you didn't know were there. here's a link for barnes & noble for the book I am talking about. have fun!

by Daz88 rate this post as useful

personal preference 2009/9/23 20:39
It comes down to personal preference: I fully agree to trawl this site for all its worth: it is an amazing source of info.
To my mind the Lonely Planet book is outstanding: we used it a lot and couldn't fault the advice. It's available online, in sections, for a moderate price.
If you are concentrating mostly on Tokyo/Kyoto then I would recommend buying the separate smaller LP Tokyo, and Kyoto books: have lots more info, AND they both have "excursions" sections, so Nikko, Hakone/Fuji lakes, Kamakura, Osaka, Nara, Kobe are all covered: saves carrying a big book.
We took the 2 small books, and downloaded the Central and western Honshu sections on other places that we needed: in our case, Kanazawa, Nagoya and Hiroshima/Miyajima: ended up not carrying a great deal that way, and threw out the printed downloads as we left the appropriate city.
Go to a good bookstore and browse for a while....
by fmj rate this post as useful

Rough Guide 2009/9/23 20:40
I personally prefer the Rough Guide to the Lonely Planet one.
by Sari (guest) rate this post as useful

thanks ! 2009/9/23 21:11
Thanks for the advise..

I think getting individual guidebooks for Kyoto and Tokyo is a great idea. I've just checked out amazon reviews and Rough Guide and Lonely Planet both scored mediocre points. Apparently not so good with maps, but I could supplement them with extra maps.
by ohnoimran rate this post as useful

Maps 2009/9/24 00:15
If you are spending a fair amount of time in Tokyo I highly recommended this map book:

Also if you want a bilingual map book of Japan, this is one is pretty good:


The "detailed" maps of cities like Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo, etc. are about as good as you would get in guide book like Lonely Planet. But it is excellent as an overall map of Japan.
by ... (guest) rate this post as useful

Gateway to Japan 2009/9/24 06:07
The best guidebook I've seen is GATEWAY TO JAPAN. It contains a lot of background information (architecture/history) about areas that isn't available in other books. It's great reading on its own. But if you are looking for a guide focused on practical information for tourists, take a look at NEW JAPAN SOLO.
by Natsuki (guest) rate this post as useful

gateway to japan 2009/9/24 10:13
Gateway to Japan is an excellent history book, providing lots of background material on the various sites. However, as a guidebook it is extremely outdated (last edition 1998), and its info on how to actually visit the sites is somewhat lacking. That said, I use it for the background info it gives. As for the other guide books you mentioned, I find Rough Guides to have good access info, but Lonely Planet seems to have the most up to date information. Also take a look at the Frommer's and Fordor's offerings and pick which one that you find easiest to use, or whose style of writing you actually enjoy reading. That will make exploring the book (and Japan by extension) that much more enjoyable.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

nutty 2009/9/24 13:06
Then if you are as nutty as I am you buy the lot, over time, and use a highlighter and post it notes and generally drive the rest of your family insane: its addicitive for me (I must need therapy...): of all the books mentioned I actually have them ALL, and more (both Japan and individual city guides, and Atlases), truly, every one EXCEPT: GATEWAY TO JAPAN: guess what I'm out to look for now?!!
My husband reckons I could have paid for an airfare with all the books: vicarious travel never hurt anyone....
by fmj rate this post as useful

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