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Little Adventures in Tokyo: 39 Thrills for the Urban Explorer Paperback – September 1, 1998

25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Rick Kennedy, author of Good Tokyo Restaurants and Home Sweet Tokyo, has lived in Tokyo for 20 years and knows the city well. When he decided to write Little Adventures in Tokyo, he didn't want to replicate the other comprehensive cinderblock-like guides on the market. He wanted to create a slim, lightweight guide to Tokyo fun, because Tokyo can be overwhelming enough without your guidebook inundating you with information, too. Whether you find yourself in Tokyo on vacation or business, you'll want your explorations in manageable portions. Kennedy organizes the adventures by five Tokyo moods (Old Tokyo, The Metropolis, Tokyo Bizarro, Time Out, and Listen, I Found This Great Place....), cross-references them by location and time, and includes good maps. But the real beauty of this book lies in its tone and the quality of the excursions it details. From the ritual appreciation of incense (kohdo) to the quiet harmonies of old Japanese farmhouses (minka-en) to harvesting rice in the Ginza and skiing inside the SSAWS Ski Dome, Kennedy leads you through the jumble of Tokyo's many neighborhoods. She introduces you to the idiosyncratic pleasures of one of the world's great cities, enabling you to experience the Japanese department store in all its ritualistic splendor, soak in Tokyo's largest bathing facility, or put yourself in the hands of a Shiatsu master. Engagingly readable and full of interesting asides on Tokyo lore, Kennedy's guide provides a great service to the Tokyo-visiting public.


"A delightful, off-beat tour to fascinating places we would never find by ourselves." -The Daily Breeze -- -The Daily Breeze

"A delightful, off-beat tour to fascinating places we would never find by ourselves." -The Daily Breeze -- Review

"The best insiders' guide to Tokyo." -Asia-Pacific Travel Magazine -- -Asia-Pacific Travel Magazine

Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Stone Bridge Press; Updated edition (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1880656345
  • ISBN-13: 978-1880656341
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 7.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,702,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By The Honourable Husband on October 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
When I first visited Tokyo, it seemed perplexing and impenetrable.
There are few well-known must-see tourist attractions from which to get your bearings; not like London with Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly, New York with Times Square and the Statue of Liberty, or Paris with Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower (though, confusingly, Tokyo has one of those, too.)
No, Tokyo is not a city of things to see, so much as a city where people meet to create and exchange ideas--and have a rollicking good time when they can. Rick Kennedy introduces the stories and personalities of this utterly fascinating city to us.
Most of the Little Adventures are walking tours with explicit directions, a godsend in a densely-packed, chaotically organised place with an unintelligible address system. A city of Tokyo's size and wealth can afford to indulge almost every whim, and Kennedy shows a good selection of whims, both the eccentric and the commonplace. Perfect example: without this book, I would never have visited the particular art supplies shop where the brushmaker who supplied Picasso still works. I visited Akihabara several times before discovering that the radio building had an upstairs level...full of antiques.
Since few people have the room to entertain at home, Tokyo abounds in restaurants, bars, and other social places. Rick seems to have visited all of them. (A sister publication and website, Tokyo Q, gives an even better guide to restaurants, as well as being funkier)
The only thing that keeps me from giving this guide five stars is that a few of these little adventures really do require some Japanese language skill to get the best out of them, which Kennedy seems to gloss over.
But it's wonderful gloss.
Read more ›
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Little Adventures in Tokyo" does more than offer a guidebook to this amazing city, it also offers hints of the various flavors of Tokyo from the most famous to the most infamous. A great amount of information is packed into this slim volume. Each of the 39 adventures is a view point.
While not exactly an "off the beaten path" type of guide, there is plenty here to compliment a Lonely Planet or Frommer's. "Little Adventures in Tokyo" is more like having a friend showing you around his beloved city, from the top sites to his favorite hole-in-the-wall. Major attractions like Tsukiji, the famous fresh fish market (Adventure 10), are illuminated in fine detail. Interesting little bits like where to go for avante-guarde theater (Adventure 27) show an entirely different side. Variety is the key here, ranging from high priced to free, from esoteric to amusement.
The book is very well written, and can be read as a traveler's tales account of Tokyo in its own right, as well as used as a guide book. Several of the adventures I will never do, but I enjoyed reading about them all the same. It seems to be written a little more for residents than casual travelers, as several of the Adventures take some time.
The only word of warning is to take the prices with a grain of salt, as in Japan's rapidly changing economy things don't stay the same for long. I found everything to be about 100 yen more than the guide prices.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. E. Stevens VINE VOICE on August 29, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the enjoyable things about this book is that for the most part, they're all things to do and places to go that one has never heard of. I bought this book about 3/4 of the way through my stay of one year in Yokohama (just south of Tokyo), and I regret that I couldn't make more time to do more of the things in this book.
If you're on a whirlwind tour of Tokyo and/or Japan, you can leave this book at home. But if you'll be in Tokyo for even a week or more, I highly recommend trying the tea ceremony, seeing some minka, meditation, going to a public bath, etc. These are activities many Japanese people don't know about or don't take the time to do often. Moreover, they're activities that very few tourists (read: gaijin) do, so it is more of an enjoyable experience in my opinion.
Great book for those who enjoy places off the beaten path ...
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dianne on April 2, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having this book on a recent trip to Tokyo was like having a personal tour guide who appreciates the funky and beautiful in this crazy city. The Adventures include both walking tours and destinations, some cover the tourist spots and some are far from the mainstream. His coverage of the tourist spots will give you a unique view of them, but also try some of the more quirky destinations.
I realised quickly that I wanted to carry this book with me every day. I followed 6 or 7 Little Adventures and each one was memorable. My favorite was the Old Tokyo neighborhoods near Ueno, followed closey by Asakusa and Minka-en.
I would recommended this book highly to anyone visiting Tokyo. It's an overwhelming city and this book will take some of the stress out of tackling it. The author's insights are fun and the directions and maps are easy to follow (or as easy as can be hoped for in Japan!). I just hope Mr Kennedy keeps updating this book because Tokyo is such a rapidly changing city. There was at least one instance where I did not see a shop that was supposed to be on a route, but there was a huge new building under construction in the general area.
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