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The Hitchhiker's Guide to Japan Paperback – April, 1998

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Charles E. Tuttle Co. (April 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804820686
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804820684
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 4.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,297,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

For those who plan to tour Japan and want to see something besides the admittedly enjoyable megacities, this is a must-bring book. Rather than the check-everything-off-the-list credo of Lonely Planet travelling, this book is more of a starter point, showing the best tricks and methods to travel around Japan. His recommended tours are interesting and well thought out.
I have a few complaints about the book, though. Others may disagree, but I found hitchhiking annoying when done too often, and would vary it with taking the train, which wasn't always expensive. I think Ferguson too rarely brings up the importance of speaking Japanese: while hitchhiking is possible (if not as fun) for friends of mine who can barely speak it, some of his recommended activities would be very difficult for non-Japanese speakers. Also, the book gives exact directions how to hitchhike an exact route. While merely a format for the book, hitchhiking (and touring) is a lot sloppier than that...plus it runs counter to the do-it-yourself philosophy of the book. All forgivable problems, but worth watching out for when using the book.
I thought touring around Japan was great fun, very easy, very safe, and only occasionally too expensive. There isn't the overtouristing so common elsewhere. I strongly recommend people to "bum around" Japan, and this book is the best guide to doing it.
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The information in the book was very accurate and helpful in 1997, the year the book was printed.
Japan has changed a lot since then, and planning a trip based on information from 1997 is stupid.
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I just finished this book today. My wife bought it prior to a 16 day trip to Japan, and is still reading it. Although the book chronicles his hitchiking from south to north in Japan, supposedly tied in with the sakura front (the blossoming of cherry blossoms as they move north) it is the best book I have ever read to gain insight into the Japanese mentality and attitudes. I've been there many times, but this book was like a refresher course on relationships with Japanese. This is a companion book to Lonely Planet's Japan Guide, at least to my way of thinking.
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If you like traveling cheap, and meeting great people as you do it, this book is for you. The small cultural details included are invaluable as you will constantly run into them. The travels plans laid out are specific and don't leave much room for guesswork. Make a special note of the importance of visiting Kyoto and Nara. This area is most like the old traditional Japan. Happy Hitchhiking!
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