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Tokyo City Atlas: A Bilingual Guide (3rd Ed.) Paperback – December 10, 2004
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
..."the handiest of all Tokyo atlas guides. Some help is necessary as one explores this vast, fascinating, confusing city, and this new edition offers the best assistance."
About the Author
Compiled by the editors of Kodansha International under the supervision of ATSUSHI UMEDA
Top customer reviews
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I've been to Tokyo more than a dozen times, and I always take this book -- it's become even more valuable as I've marked it up with locations of restaurants and stores and is now like my own personal guidebook. If you have this book and a Rough Guide to Tokyo, you'll be extremely well-prepared to enjoy Tokyo.
As other reviews note, Tokyo addresses use a system of successive specification: City, Area, Sub-area, Block, Building Number. This book gives you detail down to the level of every block in the city. Thus, if you have an address, you will be able to find the block and then walk around it to find the building number.
And it's even more useful than that. In addition to block level maps, it has higher resolution maps for most of the key areas (Shinjuku, Akasaka, Omotesando, Ginza, etc) with many buildings labeled -- and even numbered Metro exits! Thus, you can tell in advance that to get to such-and-such building, you will want to take a particular exit from the Metro. There is also minor coverage of some non-Tokyo areas that you might find useful, such as Minato Mirai in Yokohama and the area around Yokosuka base.
It has great maps just inside the cover of the Subway (Metro and Toei) and JR Systems. In fact, the JR map is so good and complete but readable that a Japanese colleague of mine commented on it and used it to find something. The combined map of Subway plus inner JR lines is brilliant and superbly useful to get around the city much faster than simply relying on Metro (hint: figure out how to ride the Yamanote and Chuo lines!)
The only drawback is that its coverage requires it to be larger than will fit in most pockets. It fits well in a purse or backpack, but not in most pants pockets. I think it's worth carrying a small bag just to take this guide along. And when you're not out and about (or in Tokyo) it is delightful simply to browse and marvel at the city.
The book is slim and light, 120 pages, easily carried around in a large purse and thrown in the suitcase. I think it's a must have if you plan to spend 2 or more full days in Tokyo, especially if you like to know your way around.
The only disadvantage of the book is that the map of the JR rail lines is not the greatest. If you buy a rail pass, you should get a map when you pick up your pass. Hold on to it, and combined with this book (which has a map of the JR rail lines, just not a very good one) you'll be set for Tokyo.
The book contains nearly twenty extremely detailed maps of the most popular districts of the city. These maps provide depictions of many of the major sites, buildings and parks. For example, the maps show the exact locations of specific subway station exits. Because Tokyo neighborhoods are dense and disorienting, it's easy to get lost just by exiting from the wrong side of a subway as many of the streets have no names and the building aren't designated with street numbers. Being able to pinpoint and identify the number of the subway exit made it much easier for me to get oriented once I was above ground.
In addition, there is an excellent English language index that covers more than thirty five pages and provides detailed information on streets, neighborhoods, buildings, shrines and parks. There are also excellent subway and train maps. The only weakness is that there could be more detailed maps and fewer that cover larger areas of the city. That however is a small quibble for what is an indispensable guide for English-speaker who wants to explore the urban amazement that is Tokyo.
Admittedly it's easier to read, but often times, you're having to open this up in cramped quarters (of which there are plenty in Japan), and it's a lot more convenient to pull this out of a pocket vs a backpack in a congested area. There are several pocketable Tokyo atlases written in Japanese only, and it's a shame they don't have a bilingual edition of those, as it would be a lot easier to carry.
At 5 years old, it's a bit outdated, as a good chunk of the city has changed already. It's a shame that they don't update this at least once every 2 years. Still, a must-buy if you plan on going solo or off the beaten path. If you plan on hanging out with a tour group or locals, it's unlikely that you'll need this.