Recommended Reading for Japan: Books to Read Before Your Trip

Reading about Japan is one of the best ways to get excited for your trip, and we’ve put together a comprehensive Japan reading list for serious book lovers and light readers alike.

Japan guidebooks can be a great resource for research and travel planning, but it’s also incredibly fun — and often enlightening — to read fiction and non-fiction books from and about Japan.

So we’ve compiled a wide-spanning recommended reading list for Japan, including books on Japanese food, culture, history, a variety of fiction and literature, and more!

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The 6 Things We Love Most About Japan

It was an early spring day in Tokyo. The winter chill had just begun to give way to the first tinges of spring warmth, and I got off the train at Shibuya Station.

Before walking to meet my friends, I headed into the shopping area in the basement of the station. Tokyo is full of wonderful depachika – department store food halls – and the Tokyu Food Show in Shibuya Station’s basement is no exception. I wandered the colorful aisles, admiring the impeccable displays of tantalizing sweet and savory specialties. Having picked up some lovely seasonal items, along with a bottle of sake from snowy Niigata Prefecture, I left Shibuya in the direction of the charming Naka-Meguro neighborhood.

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Places We Love: Kanazawa

In the heart of the beautiful Hokuriku region, on the coast of the Japan Sea, Kanazawa is one of Japan’s loveliest and best-preserved historical cities.

Often compared to Kyoto (though significantly smaller than the ancient capital), Kanazawa is renowned for its impeccable geisha and samurai districts, the iconic Kenrokuen stroll garden, and its wonderful cuisine – including some of Japan’s highest-quality seafood.

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Japan’s Best Festivals (Matsuri)

Japan has more festivals (matsuri) than almost any other country in the world, and Japanese festivals – in all their color, tradition, and exuberance – are often spectacular.

The celebrations themselves vary widely depending on the occasion, but almost always involve spirited processions of participants vigorously chanting, dancing, and bearing massive, intricately-decorated omikoshi (portable shrines) or floats.

If you want to see Japan at its liveliest, a high-energy matsuri is the place to do it!

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Japan Travel Playlist: Music for Your Trip to Japan

Our Japan Travel Playlist of music to inspire you while planning your trip to Japan, and accompany you during your travels throughout Japan!

When we think about traveling somewhere, certain questions are obvious. Where should I go, and when? Where should I stay? What should I see?

To these clearly important starting points, we might add: What should I listen to?

For many of us, music and travel are inseparable. But plotting a playlist is, unfortunately, often completely ignored in the travel-planning process.

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Luggage Forwarding in Japan: The Magic of Takuhaibin

If you're planning to travel around Japan by train, this is a must-read on Japan's wonderful luggage-forwarding service, takuhaibin.

One of the most fun parts of traveling in Japan is undoubtedly the country’s amazing train network.

The shinkansen (bullet train) is arguably the world’s most exhilarating form of terra firma transit, but even smaller regional JR trains and other private railways like the Kintetsu (used often in the Kansai region) are speedy, spacious, spotless, and punctual.

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The Internet’s Best Japan Travel Resources

Planning a trip to Japan is exciting. But with so much information available on the internet and in guidebooks, it can also be a bit overwhelming at times.

That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the Best Japan Trip Planning Resources from around the Internet.

For even more Japan travel information, check out our free Japan travel tips and resources.

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Japan Content Specialist

Boutique Japan is seeking a brilliant and creative Content Specialist!

This is a freelance contract role, and a fantastic opportunity for a wonderful writer who also happens to be an extremely knowledgeable Japan expert.

Both writing and Japan expertise are essential.

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Best Japan Guidebooks for an In-Depth Experience

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.

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Guide to Tokyo Nightlife: An Introduction

Tokyo is one of the most exciting cities on Earth, and has a legendary nightlife.

You can begin your evening at a tachinomi stand bar, drink and dine at a cozy izakaya, enjoy seasonal cocktails at an only-in-Tokyo mixology counter, venture into a hole-in-the-wall rock or hip hop club, sing all-night karaoke à la Bill Murray in Lost in Translation, and dance until morning to the beats of DJs from around the world.

In short, Tokyo is home to one of the most diverse and fascinating nightlife scenes on the planet!

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