This is a fun, off-beat take on the world's most efficient and bemusing city. It includes all the best-loved highlights plus plenty of hidden treasures, like the artists' hangout Shimo-Kitazawa and Kichijoji (the 'Hidden Alleys'). It has expanded selection of cosy ryokan (traditional Japanese inns). It offers canny tips for saving money in the most expensive city on the planet.
Sherman's Travel, April 2007'...Encounter guides...discreet in size, but generous enough on page count to provide a fuller city experience minus the hefty guidebook load.'
I had no idea this book was so small until I received it, and I don't mind it at all. I have other Japan travel books by Frommer's and Fodor's so this thin book was a blessing.
Another reviewer mentioned needing a magnifying glass to read, but I can read it fine and so can my husband -- we're twenty-somethings and he wears glasses -- so I think that if you have grandchildren or existing eyesight problems then yes, it might be an issue.
For me, the bright colors behind the text were no problem. I love how colorful everything is -- EVERY page is in color. Great photos and summaries of the top "must do" attractions.
The descriptions are short to keep the size of the book down, but they list all essential info: name in english AND hiragana/kanji/katakana (really handy!), address, hours of operation, admission fees (if applicable), a URL if they have one and what train to take to what stop and even what exit to use from the station. AWESOME.
The only blemish on this otherwise amazing book is the foldout map. Mind you the map itself is helpful as heck, what with the Tokyo subway system map included, close-ups of three popular neighborhoods, every sight listed in the book listed on the map with appropriate designations (a2, d4, etc), and even helpful phrases such as "hello" and "two beers please." However, the perforation on my copy was poor and the map was glued in VERY crooked. While trying to carefully pull the map out like was intended, it pulled the cover from the back of the book. I should have just cut it with scissors in retrospect, but that was the point of the map: to pull it out easily. When I got it loose, it was difficult to pull the excess paper from the perforation. So just cut out your map out of your copy of the book and you won't have any problems!
Oh, and the super-glossy parts of the front and back covers are just slick as hell.
Great litle book, could be better.2008/3/23
First of all let me say that I do love this book. Next time I head to Tokyo, it will be in my bag. That said, I think the book could have gone a bit better in actually making a specific Akihabara section of the book, as it is, Akihabara is kind of mashed into the rest of Tokyo when it is a very distinct part of the town with excellent shopping opportunities. Mentioning what goes on in Akihabara on Sunday would be good too. Having a section on cheap eats would be good too, most of the places listed in the book are all higher class. Having some of the little one counter shops listed where you buy a ticket to select your meal would make it a bit more of a fun book.
Don't buy this one2010/8/9
My girlfriend bought this book for a recent Tokyo visit. Its a huge time waster. Maps are incomplete, way descriptions are poor (e.g. several instances where it says "its a bit hard to find. go to xyz then ask for directions" or "they have a comprehensive map on their website on how to get there" etc.) and the author has terrible taste in nightlife venues. It also misses several sightseeing/insider tips both for regular visitors (e.g. the Metropolitan Government Building Observation deck where you can see the city from above and Mount Fuji) as well as for the hipster crowd (e.g. Koenji the center of alternative youth culture).
Bernard C. Sarpa
This is really a beautiful book, with lots of colorful pictures and everythig. It's very concise and small, what is really good and easy to carry.
It does not have as many information as other books, but is one of the best I've ever purchased.
need an update2009/1/15
Though it is pocket size, it is not that helpful when you bring it with you..The map is not very clear and the information needs to be updated, such as the metro map.