shibuya 80x80 - 10 great books set in Tokyo
Top Sight: Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo, Japan
June 22, 2019
Dancing at a Naadam 80x80 - 10 great books set in Tokyo
Destination: Mongolia
July 3, 2019
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Here are 10 books set in Tokyo to help you get into the spirit of the city before you visit, or to enjoy as an armchair traveller.

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The Devotion of Suspect X

Yasuko lives a quiet life, working in a Tokyo bento shop, a good mother to her only child. But when her ex-husband appears at her door without warning one day, her comfortable world is shattered. When Detective Kusanagi of the Tokyo Police tries to piece together the events of that day, he finds himself confronted by the most puzzling, mysterious circumstances he has ever investigated. Nothing quite makes sense and it will take a genius to understand the genius behind this particular crime. One of the biggest-selling Japanese thrillers ever and the inspiration for a cult film, The Devotion of Suspect X is now being discovered across the world. Its blend of a page-turning story, evocative Tokyo setting and utterly surprising ending make it a must-read for anyone interested in international fiction.

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9781447279402 300x455 - 10 great books set in Tokyo
The Guest Cat

A couple in their thirties live in a small rented cottage in a quiet part of Tokyo. They work at home as freelance writers. They no longer have very much to say to one another. One day a cat invites itself into their small kitchen. She is a beautiful creature. She leaves, but the next day comes again, and then again and again. New, small joys accompany the cat; the days have more light and colour. Life suddenly seems to have more promise for the husband and wife; they go walking together, talk and share stories of the cat and its little ways, play in the nearby Garden. But then something happens that will change everything again.

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bnlue light yokohama - 10 great books set in Tokyo
Blue Light Yokohama

Inspector Kosuke Iwata, newly transferred to Tokyo's homicide department, is assigned a new partner and a secondhand case. It's complicated and grisly - a family of four murdered in their own home by a killer who painted a hideous black sun on the ceiling before he left in broad daylight - and Iwata's progress is thwarted in the unlikeliest of places. Fearing corruption among his fellow officers, tracking a killer he's sure is only just beginning his career and trying to put his own life back together, Iwata knows time is running out before either he's taken off the case or there are more killings . . .

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last stop tokyo - 10 great books set in Tokyo
Last Stop Tokyo

Alex thought running away would make everything better. Six thousand miles from the mistakes he's made and the people he's hurt, Tokyo seems like the perfect escape. A new life, a new Alex. The bright lights and dark corners of this alien and fascinating city intoxicate him, and he finds himself transfixed by this country, which feels like a puzzle that no one can quite explain. And when Alex meets the enigmatic and alluring Naoko, the peace he sought slips ever further from his grasp.

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the cat and the city - 10 great books set in Tokyo
The Cat and The City

In Tokyo - one of the world's largest megacities - a stray cat is wending her way through the back alleys. And, with each detour, she brushes up against the seemingly disparate lives of the city-dwellers, connecting them in unexpected ways. But the city is changing. As it does, it pushes her to the margins where she chances upon a series of apparent strangers - from a homeless man squatting in an abandoned hotel, to a shut-in hermit afraid to leave his house, to a convenience store worker searching for love. The cat orbits Tokyo's denizens, drawing them ever closer. In a series of spellbinding, interlocking narratives - with styles ranging from manga to footnotes - Nick Bradley has hewn a novel of interplay and estrangement; of survival and self-destruction; of the desire to belong and the need to escape. Formally inventive and slyly political, The Cat and The City is a lithe thrill-ride through the less-glimpsed streets of Tokyo.

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the silent dead - 10 great books set in Tokyo
The Silent Dead

When a body wrapped in a blue plastic tarp and tied up with twine is discovered near the bushes near a quiet suburban Tokyo neighbourhood, Lt. Reiko Himekawa and her squad take the case. The victim was slaughtered brutally - his wounds are bizarre, and no one can figure out the 'what' or the 'why' of this crime. At age twenty-nine, Reiko Himekawa of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police's Homicide Division is young to have been made lieutenant, particularly because she lacks any kind of political or family connections. Despite barriers created by age, gender, and lack of connections, she is mentally tough, oblivious to danger, and has an impressive ability to solve crimes. Reiko makes a discovery that leads the police to uncover eleven other bodies, all wrapped in the same sort of plastic. Few of the bodies are identifiable, but the ones that are have no connection to each other. The only possible clue is a long shot lead to a website spoken only in whispers on the Internet, something on the dark web known as 'Strawberry Night.' But while she is hunting the killer, the killer is hunting her... and she may very well have been marked as the next victim.

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strange weather in tokyo - 10 great books set in Tokyo
Strange Weather in Tokyo

Tsukiko is in her late 30s and living alone when one night she happens to meet one of her former high school teachers, 'Sensei', in a bar. He is at least thirty years her senior, retired and, she presumes, a widower. After this initial encounter, the pair continue to meet occasionally to share food and drink sake, and as the seasons pass - from spring cherry blossom to autumnal mushrooms - Tsukiko and Sensei come to develop a hesitant intimacy which tilts awkwardly and poignantly into love.Perfectly constructed, funny, and moving, Strange Weather in Tokyo is a tale of modern Japan and old- fashioned romance.

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Parade

Four twenty-somethings share an apartment in Tokyo. In Parade each tells their story: their lives, their hopes and fears, their loves, their secrets. Kotomi waits by the phone for a boyfriend who never calls. Ryosuke wants someone that he can’t have. Mirai spends her days drawing and her nights hanging out in gay bars. Naoki works for a film company, and everyone treats him like an elder brother. Then Satoru turns up. He’s eighteen, homeless, and does night work of a very particular type. In the next-door apartment something disturbing is going on. And outside, in the streets around their apartment block, there is violence in the air. From the writer of the cult classic Villain, Parade is a tense, disturbing, thrilling tale of life in the city.

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A Tale for the Time Being

In the wake of the 2011 tsunami, Ruth discovers a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed up on the shore of her beach home in British Columbia. Within it lies a diary that expresses the hopes, heartbreak and dreams of a young girl desperate for someone to understand her. Each turn of the page pulls Ruth deeper into the mystery of Nao's life, and forever changes her in a way neither could foresee. Weaving across continents and decades, A Tale for the Time Being is an extraordinary novel about our shared humanity and the search for home.

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Norwegian Wood - 10 great books set in Tokyo
Norwegian Wood

When he hears her favourite Beatles song, Toru Watanabe recalls his first love Naoko, the girlfriend of his best friend Kizuki. Immediately he is transported back almost twenty years to his student days in Tokyo, adrift in a world of uneasy friendships, casual sex, passion, loss and desire - to a time when an impetuous young woman called Midori marches into his life and he has to choose between the future and the past.

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Main image by Peter Hempel from Pixabay