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Best Travel Book for First-Time Traveler?

al_spinner

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Does anyone have any recommendations for a good general travel reference to Japan? I looked at a few online like Lonely Planet Japan, Frommers Japan, DK Eyewitness Guide Japan...etc. but almost all of them got mixed reviews.

So if you've travelled to Japan and have found a particular book really helpful on your trip, please let me know...

Thanks!!
 

ArmandV

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I have the Lonely Planet book on Japan and a few others. I don't rely upon one book. I generally try to get specific maps and brochures from JNTO on different places I plan to visit.
 

Jukina

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Lonely Planet

I had that and it's just brilliant! A lot of hints!

Phrasebook helps also a lot

J
 

senseiman

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I had the Lonely Planet one and found it to be great. It just had the most info on the most number of places. The other ones I had weren't as informative and some had about half the space taken up by photos which were nice to look at but not very useful. The Rough guide kind of follows the same format as Lonely Planet, but I don't think it has as much info.
 

Davey

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Lonely planet!!!
at home I got a Capitol book got some great pictures in it, and it easy to read, but it doesn't give the information that the Lonely planet gives.
I would recommend Lonely planet to everyone, not alone when you go to Japan, but also for other countries. When I was backpacking in Australia it was my Bible!

Have a look in the Jref store, they got some great travel books and travel tales about Japan
 

ArmandV

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The Lonely Planet book was very useful to me when I was in Japan in April. I enjoy reading it even at home. Lots of good tips!
 

KalQ

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I'm leaving to Japan next week. I got LP's new edition last month, and I've been reading it all the time.
Its so great and so informative.
It is 10 times better than the old LP which was 10 times better than other competitive guide books!
 

yukio_michael

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I'm going to play devil's advocate and suggest Rough Guide: Japan. as an alternative to Lonely Planet...

I've read a few reviews of the recent edition of LP Japan, and I've read a bulk of the information is incorect and the upgrades to the book have been limited to visual ones... It's kind of a moot point if you never know what you're missing and skip some areas... but take a look on the reviews for each book on Amazon, and see which you prefer.

KalQ said:
I'm leaving to Japan next week. I got LP's new edition last month, and I've been reading it all the time.

Its so great and so informative.
The problem with travel guides is that you don't know how good they are until you get there, afterwhich they beome much more useless... So it's hard to say how 'informative' the book really is until you can't find that-street which that-club is on, or used to be on, or never even was on.
 

ArmandV

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yukio_michael said:
The problem with travel guides is that you don't know how good they are until you get there, afterwhich they beome much more useless... So it's hard to say how 'informative' the book really is until you can't find that-street which that-club is on, or used to be on, or never even was on.

That's very true. That is why (as I mentioned earlier) that I don't rely on just one book, I use several including maps and brochures (some from JNTO).

The Lonely Planet book did not steer me wrong when I was in Japan in April. I mainly used it for Sendai and Matsushima. I am starting to know my way around Tokyo pretty good and I just mainly use maps there.
 

ArmandV

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My guidebooks

Rather than start a new thread, I'll just post some of the guidebooks that I've used for my Japan trips.

The first, Lonely Planet's Japan.

LonelyPlanet-1.jpg


This one is put out by the Automobile Association of America (AAA). This isn't as extensive as the the first, but it is a handy pocket guide.

EssentJp-1.jpg


This one I found useful to help in avoiding missteps and knowing how to deal with "culture shock."

 

sanji

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The most comprehensive guide is the Rough Guide. It has one problem though: the maps are not as easy to read as the ones from the Lonely Planet...

A general problem with all guides is, I believe, the lack of energy spent for updates. The Lonely Planet, for example, has mistakes that have not been corrected in the last 2 editions (typically: restaurants that disappeared).

sanji
 

Amos

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I preferred the Rough Guide as it was smaller (lighter) and for me, better laid out. But I do think that the maps in Lonely Planet are better. The Lonley Planet city guides (Kyoto or Tokyo) are very good if you are just staying in these places.

If you are travelling on the trains with a rail pass then I found 'Japan by Rail' by RAMSEY ZARIFEH to be the bible. I took it and the RG.

One other point I'd like to make is that whichever guide you get it is unlikely that the 'what's on' and 'bars/restaurants' sections will be 100% up-to-date. I would always look up these places in more detail on the web before you go.
 

Jay&Simone

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Lonely Planet

We use the Lonely Planet Japan. We have use them wherever we travel. We like to call it our bible. it has the best layout off most of the guide books i have looked at or used.

also handy is a phrasebook, we have the Lonely Planet Japanese and if you can find a Japan Point and Speak they are good too. i also picked up a Guide to Tokyo off Ebay cheap aswell.

Good luck
 

Homerduff

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based on all the good personal experiences with Lonely Planet Japan, I bought it myself today. No doubt it contains tons of usefull information. The maps are also a great addition (more than an addition, when im in Japan this summer I will probably experience the importance of it..).
I also bought myself the Berlitz phrase book + cassette (edition from 1998, price was lowered). The cassette lets you deal with some nice dialogues you will most likely experience while being in Japan. The phrase book itself has quite a lot of vocabulary and phrases. They have also added kanji/kana, surprisingly another phrase book that I had in my hands didnt and even used more phonetic romaji, so my decision was made pretty quickly. The berlitz phrase book also gives additional information on all the subjects that you will definetly deal with on your trip.
 
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Inside Guides Japan

You might want to check out our travel book for Japan. Our classic series, for more than 35 years, Insight Guides have provided a full account of the world's leading travel destinations through expert and informative text and stunning photography. globallanguagestore.com/insight-guide-japan-p-662.html
 
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