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5 Unique Japan Guidebooks For An In-Depth Japan Experience

Tokyo & Kyoto

A general Japan guidebook can be great if you’re looking for general information on Japan travel.

But if you’re looking for more specialized, in-depth information, most guidebooks won’t cut it. That’s why we love these specialty Japan guidebooks.

*OLD KYOTO: A GUIDE TO TRADITIONAL SHOPS, RESTAURANTS, AND INNS - By Diane Durston

"Old Kyoto" is the authoritative book on traditional Kyoto. It’s perfect for travelers who are interested in exploring the older side of Japan, living history, Japanese crafts, and traditional Kyoto cuisine. It so effectively transports you to this charming and nostalgic world of exquisite craftsmanship and traditional hospitality, that it can certainly be enjoyed whether you have plans to visit Kyoto or not.

*FOOD SAKE TOKYO (THE TERROIR GUIDES) - By Yukari Sakamoto

Simply put, "Food Sake Tokyo" is the best, most comprehensive guide to eating your way around Tokyo, one of the world’s great culinary cities. The book features establishments of every ilk, from sushi shops to kaiseki restaurants; cheap-and-cheerful noodle shops to those that have utterly perfected the craft; and hole-in-the-wall gems to culinary meccas. If you love food and have plans to visit Japan, buy this book!

Izakayas & Hot Springs

*IZAKAYA: THE JAPANESE PUB COOKBOOK - By Mark Robinson

"Izakaya: The Japanese Pub Cookbook" is not strictly a guidebook. It’s not strictly a cookbook, either. It’s a collection of evocatively-written vignettes – complemented by gorgeous photographs – featuring eight izakayas in Tokyo. The author - a longtime Tokyo resident – takes us deep into the world of eight of his favorite Tokyo izakayas. It’s an eclectic collection featuring establishments that range from the humble to the upmarket, and specializing in a mouth-watering array of izakaya cuisine.

*A GUIDE TO JAPANESE HOT SPRINGS - By Anne Hotta and Yoko Ishiguro

Japan is full of onsen, and visiting them can be an exquisite experience. In "A Guide To Japanese Hot Springs" the details you’ll find for each onsen include: location; contact details and access (some of this is outdated); the water’s chemical composition, as this varies greatly from hot spring to hot spring; the health benefits of each onsen; information on local festivals; and more. If you love onsen or dream of an onsen-hopping trip around Japan, this book is for you.

Drinking Establishments in Tokyo & Beyond

*DRINKING JAPAN: A GUIDE TO JAPAN’S BEST DRINKS AND DRINKING ESTABLISHMENTS - By Chris Bunting

"Drinking Japan" includes everything a traveler needs to know, including a brief history of the drink; varieties that exist; what to look for; and recommended drinking establishments in Tokyo and beyond. The establishments featured are scattered throughout Japan, though a little more than half of them are in Tokyo and the surrounding area.

Whether you're planning a trip to Japan or are just interested in Japanese culture, all of these books are great resources to have.

by Andres Zuleta, Boutique Japan

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