Best japanese travel guides according to redditors

We found 120 Reddit comments discussing the best japanese travel guides. We ranked the 42 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Japan travel guides
Kyoto travel guides
Tokyo travel guides

Top Reddit comments about Japanese Travel Guides:

u/tchuckss · 16 pointsr/japancirclejerk

How, you ask? The guy has the answer!

> Oi vey. The well-documented and well-recorded analysis about hokkaido culture being half-western and half-japanese in the sense that you have SOME Individuality but not complete individuality. the collectivity is in check over there but not to the point where its not present. many people who have analyzed the culture of hokkaido claim this is true, are you refuting that research?

On and his research consists of this book which he claims to have read and shown him the truth. He's never actually been to Hokkaido.

u/DingDingDensha · 13 pointsr/japanlife

Baye McNeil, also known by his blog as "Loco in Yokohama" has written, I think a couple of books by now, on the subject of racism in Japan, and his perspective on it. Here are some more links, but they go directly his blog, and to the book on Amazon. He's a smart, articulate guy with a lot of interesting things to say based on his own experiences.

u/[deleted] · 7 pointsr/japan

I am Filipino-American born and raised in the US. The only difference is when I first visited Japan, I had some (pathetic) Japanese language capability and I spent 3.5 weeks there with a 7 day JR pass.

> I'm 24 years old, from the US, and I only speak English as I am a Korean American.

Here's the funny thing. When you step outside of the US, you'll just say you're American. If you say otherwise they may try to start using different languages on you or asking you questions you can't answer which is pointless so you end up clarifying you're American anyway.

> Anyone know how racist and xenophobic they will typically be towards Asian Americans like me?

There isn't much xenophobia if you don't understand Japanese and you claim you're there for travel as an American. The reaction is more along the lines of, "oh, nevermind" if they were seeking information or "oh that's nice" because it is understood that you're not going to be there after a few days.

For Asia I've been to Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan. Of the 3 I would say South Korea has the most immediate xenophobia and racism. In Japan the odds are generally in your favor for getting help even if you can't speak the language. The trick in Japan is to ask anyone that is working like a train station attendant, someone working at a store/restaurant etc. If those people aren't available, then ask someone that is standing around waiting for a friend or someone to show up.

What will be different compared to say a white American's experience is people may assume you are Japanese if you look anything like a Japanese person. If you obviously look Korean, then there might be some other differences. If people assume you're Japanese, they tend to treat you like they would a Japanese person but it probably won't matter because you won't understand what they say to you anyway.

Basically I wouldn't worry about xenophobia and racism if you don't speak the language and you're there for a short period of time. Japanese people's true thoughts won't come out until later in your relationship anyway.

> I'm also a little worried that I don't know any Japanese

You will want to pick up a Japanese phrase book. Here's a few:

The most useful phrase you will use: "sumimasen".

If you want to try a restaurant that doesn't have a menu with pictures, your best bet is to go with "osusume" which is asking for the recommended dish. However, some restaurants don't really have this concept. For example there is not really an "osusume" if you show up to a purely kushikatsu/kushiage restaurant. Also some kushikatsu/kushiage places they'll just keep serving you until you tell them to stop.

If you're having trouble communicating but the person is obviously trying to help you, try writing it down or showing them how it is written on paper. Japanese English writing/reading capability tends to be better than their speaking abilities. Also you may be pronouncing Japanese words incorrectly.

> Any good guides?

I have yet to come across one. This is generally true of any travel. The locals will always know something the guidebooks know nothing about. Things also change really quickly especially in Tokyo.

For example the guidebooks may not mention anything about "you-shoku" which is western style Japanese food. Despite the name, it is actually different from what I've had in Europe and America. They probably also won't mention that super trendy Udon place in Roppongi. Or Donquixote stores. Or Uniqlo stores and the fact that hemming is a free service.

On my first trips before I gathered a lot of Japanese friends, my strategy was simply to ask the hostel/hotel receptionist for recommendations. They usually have something to suggest. Hostel (not hotel) receptionists usually have more creative ideas as they tend to be younger and have done some sort of travel themselves. Hotel receptionists on the other hand are often a little more rigid. This isn't because that's how they normally are but rather just the formalities of Japanese style formal language (keigo).

Tokyo is also 3 dimensional. By that I mean the best places are often hidden on the upper floors of a building or the basement levels and they won't have a huge sign (there's too many signs anyway). The train stations can also be pretty confusing; not all train exits/entrances are equal.

> I'd also like to possibly see the hot springs

They're called onsen and scattered everywhere in Japan. For a better experience you may have to travel outside of Tokyo like to Hakone. I'm no expert on this but I will say they usually have a "cold" pool where the water is...cold. I couldn't manage to submerse myself in it.

> gardens

I don't know of any good gardens in Tokyo, but there is the Imperial Palace East Garden.

> anime merchandise


> I also really want to see the universities in Tokyo (Univ of Tokyo, Nihon Univ, Tokyo Tech) and possibly meet the college students there.

That's nice but also very optimistic. If you know someone, it's probably great. If you don't, I think it's going to be hard to get around unless you're a naturally charismatic or an outgoing person. If you want to do something like this you're better off contacting someone in Tokyo beforehand and meeting them when you get there. I say this not because I don't think you can do it on the spot, rather you're probably underestimating the difficulties of not being able to read anything and not being able to communicate in English. If your trip is only 6 days in Tokyo, there isn't a lot of time to experiment.

Given that, here's my recommendation for what you should do with your 6 days:

Day 1: Morning: Tsukiji fish market. Afternoon: Ginza.

Since you're jetlagged anyway, Tsukiji early morning. I don't know if they still open the fish auctions to the public, but if they do you will have to take a taxi at 4:30am to make it in before the crowds. Otherwise you can take the first train in the morning. It is best in the morning as you see the weird looking carts driving around.

If you're not too tired, you can head over to Ginza which is two stops away by subway.

Day 2: Morning: Asakusa Sensō-ji. Afternoon: Ueno Ameyoko market, Ueno park if you want. Afternoon/Evening: Akihabara.

Asakusa Sensoji is a famous temple with a walkway that has many shops. The area around it is also Edo-period-ish and has a bunch of shops you wouldn't normally find in other parts of Tokyo. Food is cheap.

Ameyoko market in Ueno has a lot of cheap food products. Stuff like dried fish, fruits, etc.

Akihabara is the anime/electronics/maid cafe area.

Day 3: Morning: Shinjuku. Afternoon: Harajuku + Meiji shrine. Evening: Shibuya

These are are primarily shopping areas. Shinjuku has the Tokyo metropolitan building which has a free observatory. You can go up there can get a free high level view of Tokyo.

Harajuku bridge on Sundays sometimes has people cosplay. If not there is Takeshita street which has lots of shops primarily targeting high schoolers.

Near Harajuku is also Meiji shrine. This is a big shinto shrine but it's a bit of a walk.

Shibuya has Hachiko crossing. Lots of videos on youtube and pictures of this crossing. Shibuya also has a lot of restaurants and cafes.

Day 4: Kamakura

I would actually want to spend 2 days here as you'll need to do a lot of walking to get anywhere. A lot of historical sites/shrines/buddas/etc. Don't bother with the beach, however, it isn't worth seeing.

Day 5: Morning: Odaiba. Evening: Roppongi.

Odaiba is reclaimed land with a bunch of funny looking buildings on it. Sometimes they have real-size Gundam's there. I don't know much about it. There's a Toyota showroom there and a Fuji-TV building I think. There's also a statue of liberty over there.

Roppongi is not really my favorite place but it's worthy a visit I guess. It has a high number of foreigners, bars, clubs, and restaurants. There's also Tokyo Tower there. (But it is probably overrated now that the Sky Tree is open.)

Day 6: Whatever else you want + shopping/packing.

Night stuff:

If you're into the American club/bar scene and you must have your fix in Japan, you've got the foreigner bars/clubs in Roppongi or more Japanese clubs in Shibuya or the most famous Ageha (take the bus from Shibuya). Note: since the trains stop after midnight, the clubs/bars will be dead until ~11pm. Everyone goes from 11pm till 5am and whoever is left takes the first train in the morning.

I highly recommend you make a friend or organize meeting someone before hand because the better stuff should be done in groups:

Izakaya. Japanese Pub would be the translation. But it is organized more like a restaurant. I guess it would be similar to a Korean style bar except the food in Izakaya is usually pretty good and authentic.

Shabu Shabu. It's a hot pot with boiling water. But it is not Hong Kong style where they put flavoring in the broth. Instead you each the meat and vegetables individually first. Then with the left over broth you usually have noodles or rice mixed in with it.



I'll let you look up each item.

  • Okonomiyaki
  • Yakitori
  • Yakiniku
  • Kaiten-Zushi
  • Kushikatsu/Kushiage
  • Katsu curry
  • Udon
  • Ramen
  • soba
  • you-shoku
  • takoyaki
  • oden
  • tenpura
  • Mos burger
  • gyuudon

    If you want to drink "sake" the correct word is "nihonshu". If you want the better kind ask for junmai daiginjo.

    If you're really into sushi, you should try to find a place that serves real wasabi made from the root. It doesn't really have the horseradish properties of powered wasabi. If you want to be ruined for life try a piece of good ootoro.
u/biwook · 5 pointsr/Tokyo

You're looking for Secret Tokyo by /u/pmustiere.

u/BlueHarvestJ · 4 pointsr/Tokyo

I picked up this book. The author posts here sometimes as well.

u/amazon-converter-bot · 3 pointsr/FreeEBOOKS

Here are all the local Amazon links I could find:

Beep bloop. I'm a bot to convert Amazon ebook links to local Amazon sites.
I currently look here:,,,,,,,,,, if you would like your local version of Amazon adding please contact my creator.

u/kamarajitsu · 3 pointsr/LearnJapanese

What country are you in? Some countries can't use the link I provided you have to use your country's Amazon site.
But if you are in the US use this link:

There should be the option to get the Kindle (free) or paperback (not free). Click the Kindle link and check out on the right (this is how it appears on desktop it may be different for mobile)

If that doesn't help let me know.

Edit: a word

u/PMUSTIERE · 2 pointsr/JapanTravel

For something a bit different than the standard guides, might I chime in and suggest a guide about Tokyo with a twist (that I actually took a few years to write... kind of self-promotion I know, though I guess it's relevant for this post...)

u/WeDoTheWeirdStuff · 2 pointsr/Tokyo

Might give Being a Broad in Japan a read to clarify your focus a bit.

u/jjrs · 2 pointsr/japan

I'm trying to remember where I read that...It may have been here, but I don't have it on me and when I look online I can't find anything. I know when I went there we were told not to walk past the stated limit, and that things sometimes didn't work out so well for people that ignored the advice.

That's a very appropriate username, by the way.

Edit: now I'm wondering if I just imagined the hiker fatalities...I could have sworn i heard it more than once. looking into it, it turns out volcanic gases are a real "thing". With most volcanos it probably wouldn't be a big deal, but sakurajima erupts with ash hundreds of times a year. So I guess on any given day it could happen, and if you were close enough when it came you really could get a bad lungful and mess yourself up.

u/mil_ · 2 pointsr/japan

I really enjoyed Lost Japan by Alex Kerr. It's auto-biographical and has some interesting insights from a Westerner who has lived in Japan and seen it change over the past few decades.

u/cryingblackman · 2 pointsr/japanese
u/ZeroDaNominator · 2 pointsr/hitchhiking

Ah, wish I'd seen this earlier. I've hitchhiked almost the entire country at this point. I had a working holiday visa last year and didn't bother working, instead just hitchhiked around.

I guess you already have tickets to Tokyo, but my number one advice would be to get the hell away from Tokyo. I'm actually surprised to here the other guy had an easyish time hitching around the Tokyo area because from what I've heard it sounds unreasonably difficult. I've personally never bothered because I just plain don't like that area much.

So yeah, number one tip is get out of that area, then everything becomes a million times easier. Hokkaido is a hitchhiker's paradise, but it's a bit far depending on how long you're here for. You can find flights up to there for about a hundred bucks, which isn't too bad. Or again, if you've got a decent amount of time, just hitchhike up towards Aomori and take the ferry.

Recently over Golden Week I hitchhiked from Aomori Prefecture, the northernmost prefecture on Honshuu, the main island, to Kanazawa in Ishikawa prefecture, which is about 850km away I would say. That was a really pretty route. I liked it a lot.

You mention the expressway, and I'm curious as to what you mean. Like, paid expressways? If that's the case, just know that getting on those in the first place is actually pretty difficult. I've done it a couple times, but only once was I able to actually hitchhike from in front of an interchange and onto the expressway. Hitchhiking on the expressway or too close to the on ramp to the expressway is illegal. Once on an expressway, hitchhiking from parking/service area to service area is very easy and fast, but is a very lousy way to see the country. The sound barriers completely remove the very beautiful scenery from the equation. That being said, on my way back from Ishikawa Prefecture during Golden Week, I covered about 1000km in one day coming back home to catch work the next day (there was a detour into Tohoku region, so 850km became closer to 1000km). But again, you see literally nothing and it's too fast to actually be interesting at all. I much more recommend taking the national highways because they're beautiful, often running by the sea, and people are a lot more willing to stop there than in front of a on-ramp (though I guess once you're already in a PA/SA, it's about even).

As for maps, use Google Maps. It doesn't get any better than that. As soon as you get here, go to a huge tech store like Yodobashi Camera and pick yourself up a prepaid sim for your phone (obviously phone has to be unlocked) and use maps. Alternatively you can get one of those portable wi-fi things but I never did because there's no such thing as a cheap one as far as I've seen.

If you have quite a bit of time to mentally prepare before the trip itself, I highly recommend reading Hitching Rides with the Buddha for stories:
And his practical how-to book Hitchhiker's Guide to Japan:
The guide is incredibly outdated in terms of destination information (worst was getting to an area with an amazing sounding hot water waterfall that led to a free open air mixed gender onsen, only to find a landslide closed the whole thing down like 8 years ago) but the route information is solid, granted it is more focused on Hokkaido, Tohoku region, Kyushu and Shikoku, with almost no focus on central Japan (Tokyo, Osaka, northern Kanto, etc.)

If you have any other questions about hitchhiking here in Japan let me know. I'm not an expert, but I do know a shit tons after a year of doing it.

u/Sprachprofi · 2 pointsr/IAmA

I wrote an ebook about that, check it out: 72 Ways to Learn Japanese

u/MattBinYYC · 2 pointsr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

I am a Travel & Tourism student. I've been attempting this program for a really long time and I recently went to Peru with it. I've struggled quite a bit with the program and had some drama influence my grades. But I conquered all this spring and was able to get off academic probation.

I realize how much I want to get my dream job and be the best employee they have :)

I think this would be a good fit, I love studying about other countries and LP books are a good way to do this!

Purple Nurple

u/TheGreenBasket · 2 pointsr/randomactsofkindness

No problem! And if you really, really want I have tons of Japanese books. The best one for basics is this. You can also find it at B&N. Skip to page 113 for social phrases/invites and page 145 for sports.

If you need any help with some basic phrases, pm me.

u/sfrank · 2 pointsr/japan

During our time in Tokyo my wife and I stumbled upon this book (Being A Broad in Japan; Amazon link), which will give you quite a wide range of information about what to expect and how to manage. Though addresses and phone numbers are quite likely out of date, overall the book is an entertaining read.

u/darknessvisible · 2 pointsr/IWantToLearn

The best resource for learning spoken Japanese I have come across is the Michel Thomas Method CDs. It's so easy and doesn't feel like "studying" at all. And if you get started now you will have such a massive head start on your classmates next semester.

u/TeenIdol12 · 1 pointr/csun

Not France, but I have a buddy that spent 3 years in Japan for the JET Program. He wrote a short book about that I'd recommend giving a read. Might help in some way especially in regards to culture shock and language barriers

u/kris_lace · 1 pointr/languagelearning

Mhmm I got curious and checked some amazon reviews, if they're anything to go off, this looks pretty cool.

u/vedeledev · 1 pointr/LearnJapanese

Might use Speak Japanese in 90 days to start instead of Tae Kim - any thoughts? The "in X time" title almost scared me off, but from the preview it seems pretty good I think.

The general plan it gives seems fairly simple: read grammar lesson with example sentences > book tells you which vocab/grammar flash cards to make for review > move on to next lesson. Repeat while reviewing old stuff regularly. I just don't know if the explanations themselves are actually good, haven't heard much about these books.

u/microcosmic5447 · 1 pointr/booksuggestions

My wife just recently read this and absolutely adored it.
For Fukui's Sake: Two Years in Rural Japan

EDIT Wife reminds me that the book is in fact NON-FICTION, but it still a great read with a lot of insight. "All you would have to do would be call it fiction and the impact would be the same."

u/mnemosyne-0002 · 1 pointr/KotakuInAction

Archives for the links in comments:

u/darkmaster_12 · 1 pointr/KotakuInAction

okay keep ignoring documented research from people more experienced than you i guess?

I read this book which was written by someone who was raised and lived their entire life in Hokkaido, I would trust her 100x more than i'm going to trust you. Sorry.

u/kdmarx · 1 pointr/LearnJapanese

I recommend using anki.

But if you don't want to use that and you have an e-reader or a smart phone:

u/elHuron · 1 pointr/AskEngineers

I've heard that as well; I would just go for it and see what happens.

You may as well get your own opinion and experiences, and if the xenophobia is too much can't you just quit and move back home?

Some cultural integration tips I have off the top of my head:

~ Language ~

Learning even the basics of a language goes a long way in most countries. I don't know about Japan in particular.

Have you learned a language before?

I would recommend getting proficient with the local script and studying from something like a tourist language reference; something like this:

A full-blown language course is also good, but those phrasebooks are really good at covering the every day situations you'll be in. So even if you don't know what each word in "omelette du fromage" means, you'll at least know that uttering that incantation will get you a cheese omelette.

~ Cultural Appropriation ~

Try to dress like the locals. For example, If everyone wears a suit, wear a suit. If everyone wears a suit, do not wear t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops.

In general, do what you can to fit in. People will have less to pre-judge you by.

Unfortunately, if you want to take pictures while travelling you will always stand out, but that is unavoidable. I just remind myself that the camera makes me look like a tourist in my hometown as well and quit worrying about it :-)

u/daviddian · 1 pointr/BABYMETAL

This book is free at the moment.

u/wolframite · 1 pointr/japan

While it may have been written in 1985, I would say that The Roads to Sata: A 2000-mile Walk Through Japan by the late Alan Booth (also a compatriot of yours) would be a must-read before coming to Japan as you are - for an extended visit. Reading it may inspire you to look up some of the obscure places that he visited - although not necessarily all on foot as he did. Another of Booth's works published posthumously "Looking for the Lost" is also worth a read (not to be confused with Alex Kerr's Lost Japan - which is also decent although I think Kerr's book could benefit from a stronger editor when he delves too much into his pronounced artsy-fartsy fetishes)

u/WhaleMeatFantasy · 1 pointr/LearnJapanese

You're not just going to be able to guess/work it out/get an answer in even a long reddit post.

Are you actually studying Japanese? You need a self-study book at the very least (many people recommend the Genki series) or, if you just want to dabble, look at the Pimsleur or Michel Thomas audio series. Another fun approach you may enjoy is Japanese the Manga Way.

It's well worth making the effort. Good luck!

u/habitat747 · 1 pointr/JapanTravel

This guide helped me during my first visit to Tokyo.Basically just learning to navigate the city is a gem.

u/tomjapan · -1 pointsr/JapanTravel

Your itinerary looks like a good one, but maybe check out my book (released next week) which has advice on things to see and do for just this kind of short trip to Japan,
I'm a professional travel writer and have been living in Japan for ten years, so you'll get all the inside knowledge you need :)