3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Made every trip to Japan an adventure
, April 13, 2012
This review is from: Gateway to Japan (Kodansha Guide) (Paperback)
My husband and I have vacationed in Japan many times, and Gateway to Japan always went with us.
With the help of this book, we found a temple village restaurant serving rare mountain cuisine. We bought exquisite Japanese green tea in an obscure samurai town. We visited pottery towns and got unique tea pots direct from the kilns. We stayed in temple lodgings and ate elaborate vegetarian meals served by monks. We ventured among hundreds of curious monkeys in a monkey park. We witnessed exotic religious rituals. We mused in contemplation gardens and strolled through imperial gardens. We simmered in an out-of-the-way mountain hot spring. I could go on and on.
I like the book's emphasis on culture rather than pop culture. And I found the star rankings of sights, restaurants and accommodations quite reliable. There are excellent write-ups on the various periods of Japanese art and history, Japanese religions, castles, villas and gardens and so forth. For those who like festivals, there's a complete schedule of the important ones by month. The maps are useful, and there are lots of them.
Although I like to browse through other Japan guides for fun and variety, this is the book I use to plan an itinerary. I can't imagine a trip to Japan without it.
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