Reading list inspiration for travel
City and region specific
Books & eBooks
- A Geek in JapanView on Amazon Informative and enjoyable guide to Japanese culture. By Hector Garcia.
- A Guide to Sushi & SakeView on ApproachGuides.com* A perfect reference guide for eating and ordering like a local, our guide also includes a special section for travelers to Japan who want to visit Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji fish market.
- Gardens of KyotoView on Amazon This concise yet comprehensive guide provides both practical information and theoretical insights into the design of the Japanese garden. By Mark Treib and Ron Herman.
- In Praise of ShadowsView on Amazon Insight into the Japanese aesthetic. By Junichiro Tanizaki.
- Memoirs of a Geisha: A NovelView on Amazon Beautiful story of a woman who becomes one of Japan's most celebrated geisha. By Arthur Golden
- Sacred Calligraphy of the EastView on Amazon Covers the history and spirit of Eastern calligraphy, the art of copying religious texts, the biographies of important Zen calligraphers, and practical instructions on materials and techniques for the contemporary student. By John Stevens.
- ShogunView on Amazon Gripping tale that provides a look into the conflict between European and Japanese cultures and the westernization of Japan. By James Clavell.
- Tea: History, Terroirs, VarietiesView on Amazon An excellent review of this culture-defining beverage, the authors offer a historical account and then move on to production in China, India, Taiwan and Japan. By Kevin Gascoyne, Francois Marchand and Jasmin Desharnais.
- The Book of Five RingsView on Amazon Classic treatise on military strategy by one of Japan's great samurai sword masters. By Miyamoto Musashi.
- The Book of TeaView on Amazon Essay on the role of tea in Japanese culture. By Kakuzo Okakura.
- The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, & IssaView on Amazon This definite collection brings together in fresh translations by an American poet the essential poems of the three greatest masters. By Robert Hass.
- The Inland SeaView on Amazon Travel memoir chronicling the author's trip to the seafaring communities of central Japan. By Donald Richie.
- Travelers’ Tales: JapanView on Amazon A collection of short stories by notable authors, each offering anecdotes that tell of encounters to be had or avoided, each with uncommon insight to enrich the traveler's experience. By Donald W George and Amy Greimann Carlson.
Articles & Academic Papers
- “Ghosts of the Tsunami”View on London Review of Books The disaster's effect on the people of Tohoku. By Richard Lloyd Parry.
- “Hiroshima”View on NewYorker.com In this article from August 1946, the Pulitzer Prize-
winning American writer recounts the events of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, which occurred only one year before. By John Hershey.
- “Japan at a Crossroads”View on NewYorker.com Japan struggles with how to deal with terrorism in the wake of a journalist's murder. By Roland Kelts.
- “Old Ways Prove Hard to Shed, Even as Crisis Hits Kimono Trade”Visit NYTimes.com Traditional kimono makers battle against the tide. By Martin Fackler.
- “The Arts of Japan”View on Metmuseum.org The author reviews the Met's extensive collection with an eye toward revealing distinctive aspects of the Japanese aesthetic. By Barbara Brennan Ford.
- “The Japanese Garden for the Mind”View on Stanford.edu. An excellent review of the Japanese garden, including its history, design and symbolism. By Camelia Nakagawara.
- “The Tradition of Wooden Architecture in Japan”View on the Asia-Pacific Cultural Centre's website. A description of Japanese wooden architecture and the Buddhist Horyu-ji monuments in Nara. By Satoshi Yamato.
- “Three Feet by Six Feet by Three Feet”View on TheMorningNews.com A visit to the granddaddy of Japan’s capsule hotels—with cot-sized individual spaces and shared amenities—and a lesson in different methods of getting along. By Aaron Gilbreath.
- “You Think You Know Umami”View on NewYorker.com That deep, dark, meaty intensity that distinguishes seared beef, soy sauce, ripe tomato, Parmesan cheese, anchovies, and mushrooms ... But what does that actually mean? By Hannah Goldfield.
- “Japan’s Whisky Rebellion”View on RoadsandKingdoms.com The whole whisky world is so, so excited about Ichiro Akuto, who is both leading and riding the global boom for high-end Japanese whisky. By Jim Frederick.
Online Sources & Blogs
- Google Street View | Mount FujiVisit Google.com. Get a Google Maps "Street View" of Mount Fuji.
- Japanese Guest HousesVisit japaneseguesthouses.com. An exceptional site for booking reservations at ryokans throughout the country.
- Kaiseki Menus in JapanVisit ApproachGuides.com* Tips for reading a Japanese kaiseki menu.