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The Rough Guide to Tokyo - 4th Edition Paperback – January 21, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
This book only deals with the budget conscious traveller, except that it doesn't talk about good places to go out to have a drink or to experience real Japan. The latest edition is from 2008 and for instance nothing is mentioned about the new sake bars. The book provides information about the main attrations in Tokyo and as such it is useful, but then you are on your own for additional planning. I haven't read Lonely Planet, but it cannot be worse than this book. The free sites on the internet are better than this book, [...]
If you have more money to spend and would like to try ryokan or some nice genuine Japanese restaurants, this book has absolutely nothing to say to you. Guides like Fodors and Frommers are good if you have money, but are quite afraid of many things in the Japanese culture. Those guides will make sure that you get your western breakfast and bed, get a western steak with Japanese meat, etc. If you have money and want to experience Japan as wealthy Japanese experience it, you won't get much help from any of these books.
It is about time that we get good Japanese travel guides translated into English.
2) It gave us great advice on places to stay. I'm a graduate student studying design and my wife an I found some great housing options alternative to expensive hotels that were unique and inexpensive (like a boutique hotel).
Yes, the maps are not so great as the previous reviews stated, but they were sufficient relative to the size of the book. To be honest, I generally find that maps in guide books are poor, except for the detailed/zoomed in sections generally spanning a couple of blocks (which this Rough Guide did a fairly good job with). Larger fold-able maps are the way to go. (there are free ones all throughout Tokyo--usually in residential places like hotels, airport, etc)
Yes, the transit system looks scary and overwhelming--culture says that it resembles a bowl of noodles. However, don't be afraid of it and just start using it. Get a foldable map. There is a system to its organization that will eventually make sense. In fact, I think its brilliant. After 2 days, my wife and I were cruising all over the city. Get a rail pass (similar to a euro-rail-pass; good for trains and subway), which is all explained in the Rough Guide.
Tokyo is an incredible city. Maybe one of my favorites. Some say it's expensive, but with all the various guides, it's not that bad. I was in Copenhagen, Denmark last summer, and that was way more expensive than Tokyo--much higher cost of living. The thing with Japan is that very little English is spoken. Don't be afraid or let that hold you back. People are very friendly and open minded. You just need to be the same--friendly and open-minded. Have a great trip!!!