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Japan (Lonely Planet Travel Guides) Paperback – 1 Oct 2003
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As usual the guidebook standard is set by Lonely Planet-- Outside --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
It does a reasonable job of explaining things like how the train system works, how to get from A to B and certain aspects of Japanese culture. I found the maps of Kyoto difficult because they unhelpfully divided the city up (and they didn't tally straightforwardly with other maps from the tourist office). The real limitation, for me, is that to get around in Japan you need to recognise things visually because few streets have names, the food looks unfamiliar, and the whole place has a terrific visual aesthetic of its own. So my ideal guide to Japan would have LOTS of pictures, and Lonely Planet doesn't do this: ideally you need something else with it.
This book is a must for the independent traveller to Japan. If you are going to the World cup 2002, buy it now. You will be able to plan that trip much better.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Considering how dreadful the Taiwan guide was (you can check out my review of it), the Japan guide was remarkably voluminous and useful. I used the 7th edition for my trip (the 8th came out while I was overseas), but, as outdated as it was, it still proved to be an excellent resource for my trip.
First facts - I speak only restaurant and "ninja" Japanese, am Chinese, and am ninhogo-illiterate, so I was plopped into the middle of a country where I had few internal resources to call on. Armed with the Lonely Planet guide and reasonable phrasebook, I was able to navigate my way through Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Nagoya, and Himeji without any significant problems. The restaurant recommendations were pretty much on the mark - the okonomiyaki and fugu joints in Osaka were outstanding in quality and price, and the gyoza recommended in Kyoto was phenomenally tasty, to pick a few.
The city maps were pretty accurate, although some of the club and bar scene locales were defunct or vague. Eschewing the book's rec's after a couple of disappointments, I started hitting random places that looked, and were in fact, pretty cool. The tourist spot info is pretty accurate and includes stuff that sometimes isn't noted in the local tourist literature (I highly recommend checking out the little "meditation" waterfall mentioned in the Kyoto section).
Lonely Planet Japan is an exceptional guide book. I would recommend it to anyone who is planning a trip Japan-wards, regardless of taste - this book covers everything. I intend to purchase the latest edition before my next trip there (soon, I hope!).
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