Lonely Planet Japan 12th Ed.: 12th Edition Paperback – Sep 9 2011
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About the Author
Born in England and raised in the USA, Chris has lived in Kyoto since 1992. Soon after his arrival in Kyoto, Chris started studying the Japanese language and culture. In 1995 he became a regional correspondent for the Japan Times. He joined Lonely Planet in 1996 and has written or contributed to guidebooks on Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Victoria (Australia). When not on the road, Chris spends his time searching out Kyoto's best temples, gardens and restaurants. He also conducts walking tours of Kyoto, Nara and Tokyo. For more on Chris and his tours, check out his website at www.chrisrowthorn.com
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Also, many of the suggestions themselves (particularly with food and hotels) are plain expensive and not catering towards the average or frugal traveler. Most suggestions are very expensive (even for Japan) and instead of offering some cheaper options, they tell you a few websites to check out instead. Pretty stupid to buy a book only to be told to look elsewhere.
Ultimately this book was only useful to find major places before I left, which any Japan travel site could do for you. I didn't end up going to a single restaurant or hotel from this book because the suggestions were either too high-priced or they just gave poor directions (or none) to where they were.
The bigger issue I take with this book is that it is the biggest wealth of information they have about the entire country, yet they make some small places seem very unappetizing or leave them out together. They made Tanegashima seem like it was the least interesting place in all of Japan, along with other former Ryukyu islands, failing to mention that they're beautiful and have a wealth of interesting natural beauty, and Tanegashima once a year has a festival to celebrate being the first place in Japan to have the arquebus. Thanks for the tip?
Lastly, how exactly are we getting around Japan? It's a bit lazy to assume everyone just picked up (or could pick up) a rail pass and even weirder when it seems we were supposed to be driving along the way too. For Shikoku I'm pretty sure we're supposed to travel in the motion that pilgrims take on Ohenro... really? so beautiful islands off the coast of Kyushu are nothing special but you think your readers are going to do Ohenro?! Even with that, there's little indication of atmosphere or how large or small a city is. There's either no or very little mention of markets, ones that have been open for ages. No mention if there are restaurants around that will be open at night or if you need to go get breakfast there.
My honest advice is that you need to be really savy in order to travel Japan, and that savyness isn't just innate in some people, go with recommendations of what ryokan or guest houses to stay in, use those places websites to find others, and soon you'll see that a lot of cheap great accommodation in Japan are operating at only about 3 degrees of separation. I would recommend using the website as a resource for planning all of this, but the book just doesn't hold up as being more necessary or helpful.
I WILL NEVER DO THIS MISTAKE AGAIN!
- Far LESS information than before! I had the time just to compare a few locations and the first feeling is that it is all made SHORTER! Even correct and useful informations that were in the previous guide have been removed! For example: why remove the Akechihira Ropeway from the locations around Nikko??? I have been there last week -thanks to the 11th version- and there is a great view of the lake and the waterfalls from there!
- Unusable: the back button does not work properly, so if you enter a link there is no way to go back to what you were reading before!
These are the main complaints for the moment...
So sorry I even spent over 20 dollars to get this...
I'll keep on using the dear old paperback version, heavier but DEFINITELY richer of informations!!!