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Eyewitness Travel Guides Japan [Flexibound]

Dorling Kindersley
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Aug. 26 2003 DK Eyewitness Travel Guides
Includes: Tokyo, Central Honshu, Kyoto City, Western Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, Okinawa, Northern Honshu, and Hokkaido.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars These are Fabulous Books Jan. 3 2004
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 Amazon.com 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
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do not go to Japan without buying this book! Feb. 15 2006
By D. Barnett - Published on Amazon.com
This book is, hands down, the greatest travel guide that I have ever used. With breathtaking photos, incredibly useful illustrations, and great information relating to cultural and historical context, it provides a fantastic reference for any traveler. I don't really understand the complaints of others who stated that it had to be used with other guides and that it didn't condense the information into the "you have one day in Tokyo - this is what you must see" format. Seeing as how a travel guide is exactly that; a guide - a tool to be used in conjunction with other resources, I feel that some may have expected too much. While this book may not be as textually comprehensive as other travel guides, most of those read like stereo instructions - this book, on the other hand, does not bore the reader and is rich with poignant detail. I survived on a solo trip to Japan using this guide and, while it is true that I utilized other resources, that's half the fun of traveling - getting out there and talking to people, finding out what to do and how to do it. Which leads me to my second aforementioned point - no, this book does not say "here's what you should do if you have 15 minutes in Kyoto". I can't stand such books and don't comprehend our societal gravitation towards such instructional material. To me it shows that we are becoming lazy and want others to tell us what to do as opposed to make decisions for ourselves. Which leads me to my final point: this book is great and easily holds the reader's interest but, because it is not one of the types of books that I have begrudgingly discussed, it is not intended to be used as a sole means of guidance. Therefore, while this book is tremendously useful during one's travels, I would recommend purchasing it in advance and using it as a research springboard during one's trip planning. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

P.S. I frequently read sections out of this book; it is quite interesting even when not engaged in travel.

And, on a final note: Japan is the most spectacular place that I have ever traveled to. It is a nation that is lusciously rich with vivid beauty and fascinating culture. It has such an intriguing history and the people are absolutely phenomenal. If you stumbled upon this review because you are simply thinking about going, I vehemently encourage you to take the plunge, hop on a plane, and get over there! Oh yeah, and buy this book before you do :)
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great photos and a nice size Nov. 13 2005
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I have lived in Tokyo for 3 months and have spent another 3 months traveling in Japan with this guide. My favorite thing about the guide is the photos. While other guidebooks have an elaborate description of a town or site, I find the Eyewitness Travel Guide (ETG) to have a briefer one with some great photos. While a picture may be worth a thousand words, as someone who loves to take travel photos, I have personally found the photos to be MORE useful in selecting destinations than the other guides. I also find that after seeing the photos, I feel a little familar with a destination when I arrive there.

Another nice plus I have found is the size of this guide. This book is narrower than the other guides, and I can slip it into an oversize coat pocket. That may seem silly, but it makes the book a bit more handy.

I suppose the downside is that this is a guide to JAPAN. It is not the most comprehensive guide to Tokyo and Kyoto. (Trying to do both is probably unreasonable for any book.) So if you are going to spend more than a week in Tokyo or Kyoto, and going full out every day, then you will eventually exhaust the details of this guidebook. In that case, I would recommend you pick up a city guide for those locations. Also, as someone who has spent a lot of time in Hokkaido, I find the section devoted to the northern island to be too brief.

If you are traveling around Japan, or even considering traveling to around Japan, this is a wonderful guidebook. But if you will ONLY be going to Tokyo or Kyoto, much of this guide will be wasted, and it may not be your best option. But if you are visiting the two big cites and other parts of Japan, , you can always pair this with another guidebook.
I have found the best use for this book is to read this ETG and another guide [Frommer's online] in advance. Then when I travel I bring this one with me, and pick up some of the local tourist guides.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty comprehensive Dec 25 2004
By Ikuko Otaka - Published on Amazon.com
I thought this book covered a lot of Japan and not just the main cities. It was nice to read about so many of these places, many of which I've never even seen when I lived in Japan. I thought the detail was good and allowed me to envision being there.

After reading this I read another book on Amazon called "No Elbow Room" by Kenneth Andrews, and found that one totally amazing. It took me so much further into the Japanese culture and business world. The 2 books together really made me feel like I knew Japan.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best one available Feb. 27 2006
By andresmh - Published on Amazon.com
I only wished it had a map of the trains. Other than that it was a great reference. I could carry it with me all the time and it even has useful phrasebook. The visuals allow you to make quick decisions.

You probably still need to do a lot of research online if you want to find off-the-beaten path spots. For example, if you want to stay in a Buddhist temple in Koyasan you get more info from the web. But this is always the case if you want the most up-to-date information. By the way, I highly recommend checking japan-guide.com.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will help you plan an unforgettable trip Sept. 4 2004
By ShamayimBlue - Published on Amazon.com
DK Eyewitness Travel Guides certainly live up to their motto - "The guides that show you what others only tell you." Their Japan guide is no exception; it's full of photographs, maps, three-dimensional graphics of castle and temple compounds, and has tons of background information about all possible sites you'd want to visit and about virtually all facets of cultural life.

It doesn't reveal to you only the most popular or famous places, but also tells you about more well-kept secrets in the Japanese countryside. One example is the Buddha hiking trail in Kamakura; it's not a major attraction (though the Buddha it leads to is), but it's a great hiking trail, and the guide lets you know to look for it. Also, the Japan guide magnifies streets for you in town and city maps... for instance, Eastern Gion in Kyoto is a district made up of a warren of small streets, but there are a lot of sights to see there, including temples, pagodas, shrines, antique shops, and old unpaved roads. The Japan Guide gives you a magnification of that part of the map, showing clearly what roads intersect with other roads and pointing out the places of interest.

Definitely a worthy investment if you're planning a trip to Japan. This colorful, extensive, informative guide will give you info on practically all aspects of your trip - places both famous and obscure, food, hotels, shopping, transportation... and you'll absorb a lot of info reading it.
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