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The Rough Guide to Japan Paperback – 1 Feb 2011

3.5 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 848 pages
  • Publisher: Rough Guides; 5 edition (1 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848366159
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848366152
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 74,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


The holiday-makers' favourite guidebook series (The Sunday Times Travel Magazine)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In the past I have found it both a bonus and a sadness that the excellent Rough Guide books do not seem to be well known outside of Britain. It is sad because their books are generally excellent - not only are there guides to destinations but a superb Rough Guide to World Music,guides and CDs on different world music types, a guide to world cinema, to the millennium, etc- but it is a bonus also because when you are travelling you don`t find yourself drawn to the same places as all those other Lonely Planet and Fodors users.
This is not simply because of their users rarity, but because the coverage seems to be so much more in depth. I have just moved to Japan and in my first 6 months here I have been as much a tourist as a resident and a travel guide has been useful. What I do now have though is a local knowledge of my part of Japan (Southern Kyushu) that goes beyond a travel guide so I think I have a good perspective on guides` coverage of this part of Japan.
I have to say that Lonely Planet is a little too trendy for its own good. It seems its coverage of the big cities is pretty much spot on, but get beyond the suburbs and it starts to become scanty. Rough Guide on the other hand maybe fails a little in the cities, but comes up trumps in the `real` areas of Japan.
I live in one of the more remote, traditional and frankly bizarre areas in Japan (Kagoshima) but LP has hardly any coverage of this area. A good example of Rough Guide`s superiority is its entry on an Island near me called Yakushima. It has been declared a world heritage site because of the `Land That Time Forgot` style rain forests and cedar trees several thousands of years old. LP has only a single paragraph while RG stretches to a few pages with travel and accomodation hints.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I went to Japan for the first time so I needed a good guide. I had actually both this and the Lonely Planet guide, and they are both good, but this is better. More manysided and better in details. The problem with guides is of course that you wish that they would tell about the really good places only for a select few. In my case, I was there in February, so I did not have a lot of company. On the other hand, some of the best experiences (cherry blossoms, mountain walks) were not there to be done. I only bought the guides as Kindle editions, because it is much lighter than books, but in travel guides the restrictions of a kindle edition are very obvious: maps are useless, it is more difficult to find what you are looking for, you don't get an overall picture. The when you get directly google maps, hotel lists and timetables from your e-guide, then it will be different! And that will happen in a very near future.
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Format: Paperback
Without a shadow of a doubt, the best and most authoritative guide available on Japan. TRG won the Travel Guidebook of the Year Award, and for good reason. Like all TRGs, the Japan edition is broken down into several logical and intuitive sections, beginning with 'the basics' (getting there, climate data, health, insurance, sports, etc.), going through all the various regions of Japan and finishing with a section called 'contexts', which deals with history, religion, arts, environmental issues, language and so forth. Like the majority of guidebooks, there is a large emphasis on the capital, with a good chunk of the book devoted completely to Tokyo, but unlike other capitals, the megapolis of c.23m people probably deserves the treatment and still not everything is covered. Unlike its poorer cousin, the Lonely Planet series, the Rough Guide doesn't go in for scorning attractions or areas, but the text is laced with good advice and enough value judgements to help you spend your time wisely. The authors have done a splendid job of rooting out some real gems and are not obnoxiously opinionated, something which always grates when one is reduced to referring to Lonely Planets. TRG has surveys of accommodation, restaurants and entertainments for each area; it covers the whole price range but in doing so can become scanty if you are always, for example, on a low budget. The text is dense and stuffed with maps which come in very handy indeed. My only criticism of TRG is that, like all products that have to be commercially viable, it doesn't really cater to minorities, e.g. gay and lesbian travellers/residents. This is - to an extent - understandable, but no excuse not to provide better links to alternative sources of information.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Having travelled a number of countries, relying almost completely on the Rough Guide series, I found the Rough Guide to Japan somewhat lacking. This is not to say that the Guide is not an important companion in Japan - we also brought along the Lonely Planet edition, and (as usual) the Rough Guide was the book we referred to most. My comments are critical only because the Rough Guide series is by far the best travel book anyone of any walk of life can use in an unfamiliar country, and I feel the Japan edition does not conform to their usual high standards.
Perhaps one of the great joys of being in Japan is sampling the wealth of cuilinary delights on offer. But the Guide seems to list (especially in Tokyo) many Western-based food outlets. Yet the Guide also provides the statistic of 60,000 restaurants existing in Tokyo, compared to a tenth of that in New York, and less in London. Yet very few Japanese Restaurants are listed. Of course, there are language difficulties for guijin (foreigners) ordering from a Japanese restaurant, but it is not an impossible prospect (by the way, if you get a chance to try Horse-meat sashimi (I`m serious!), put back your reservations and try it - very delicious).
The Guide`s summarised coverage of a country`s history is usually a concise and precise affair, and this book is no exception. But I felt where some of the important historical sights were mentioned inside the book, that the authors seemed to skip over some of the details. Now obviously Japan has such a huge cultural diversity that it would be impractical to list the finer details of every historical site.
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