Best Travel Guidebooks for Tokyo
‘With its sushi and sumo, geisha and gardens, neon and noodles, it may seem that Tokyo is in danger of collapsing under the weight of its own stereotypes. Yet ticking off a bunch of travel clichés is rarely this much fun, and as you might expect of the planet’s largest metropolis, there’s also enough nuance here to keep you entertained for a lifetime. Ordered yet bewildering, Japan’s pulsating capital will lead you a merry dance: this is Asia at its weirdest, straightest, prettiest, sleaziest and coolest, all at the same time.’ (Rough Guide to Tokyo)
Best for first-time travellers to Tokyo
This is the ultimate travel guide to Japan's weird and wonderful capital city. Stunning photography, colour-coded maps and comprehensive, neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood information on what to see and do will help you discover the highlights of the city. The book includes useful listings on where to sleep, eat, drink and shop as well as the best bars, theatres and karaoke bars. Suggested itineraries are provided for exploring the city, as well as excursions further afield, including Nikko, Mount Fuji, Hakone and Yokohama. At the end of the book there’s an informative features section on Tokyo’s history, arts and architecture.
If you’re not familiar with Rough Guides and would prefer to go with a Lonely Planet guidebook, Lonely Planet Tokyo is equal to Rough Guide in terms of content and information. It really comes down to personal preference.
Best for return visitors to Tokyo
If you’re been to Tokyo before, rather than hitting all the top sights again, why not seek out the hidden parts of the city. The Japanese capital is home to any number of well-hidden treasures that are revealed only to residents and travellers who find their way off the beaten track. This is an indispensable guide for those who thought they knew Tokyo well or would like to discover the other face of the city.
Best for travellers on a tour group
This is a visual travel guide. It has less logistical information (such as accommodation and transport connections) than other general travel guidebooks, but if you’re on a tour and someone else is handling all that stuff then this is the perfect guidebook for you. The photos are stunning and 3D cutaways of landmark temples, buildings and sites will make this a useful supplement to your tour guide…and provide you with great pre-trip planning.
Best for walkers
Best for families
This is the ideal travel guide for families with young kids. It features colourful themed trails, from history and culture to food and nature, that reveal amazing facts and intriguing tales that kids won’t find on the tourist routes or inside the average guidebook. Lonely Planet explorers Marco and Amelia will take kids with them as they hunt for more secrets, stories and surprises.
Best for teenagers
Heading to Tokyo with teenagers in tow? Give them a copy of this guidebook, which reveals the city through the eyes and experiences of a Japanese-American teenager. Born in Tokyo to a Japanese mother and an American father in 1997, Christine Mari Inzer spent her early years in Japan and relocated to the United States in 2003. The summer before she turned sixteen, she returned to Tokyo, making a solo journey to get reacquainted with her birthplace. Through illustrations, photos, and musings, Inzer explores the cutting-edge fashions of Tokyo's trendy Harajuku district, eats the best sushi of her life at the renowned Tsukiji fish market, and hunts down geisha in the ancient city of Kyoto.
Best for teenagers
Tokyo Precincts takes you down the streets of towering neon and into the warren of lantern-lit alleyways, revealing Tokyo's unique precincts and the city's very best shopping, eating and drinking experiences.