Book Review: Tuttle Travel Pack – Japan

Tuttle Travel Pack Japan

I had the opportunity this week to sit down and review another Japan travel guide. Let’s take a look at the Tuttle Travel Pack Japan guide.

The Low Down

One of the first things I like to find out when reading a new travel guide book is who wrote it. Am I’m going to be getting advice from a part time traveller or a local? While I admit you can certainly learn a lot from a person who has even just visited a place once, it takes a long time traveller or resident to really bring out the hidden gems of a place.

The Tuttle Travel Pack Japan was written by log time resident Rob Goss who has been in Japan since falling in love with it when he came as an English teacher back in 1999. So I feel pretty comfortable with Rob’s suggestions.

While I don’t believe in running your holiday with your nose stuck in a guidebook, I do think a good guide book can get you comfortable with the country and help you to start compiling a list of things you don’t want to miss seeing. While hotel and food recommendations can be subjective, you probably don’t want to miss out on wonders of the world just because they were located on a different street :)

The Tuttle Travel Pack Japan gives a great overall roundup of Japan and its must see sites and events. While it’s a little light on the accommodation, restaurant and location insights, it delivers a well rounded look at Japan and should serve as a good starting point to planning your trip.

What’s inside

The travel guide is about 123 pages long and contains sections and features such as:

  • Japan’s ‘Don’t Miss’ Sights – If you’re the kind of person who likes to leave a lot of room for serendipity but still like to drop in on the top spots, this section is for you. These ‘Don’t Miss’ sights along with the following Exploring Japan section are in my opinion the best parts of the book. They’re detailed enough to give a nice birds eye view of Japan and places you probably don’t want to miss seeing.
  • Author’s Recommendations – While this section isn’t as thorough as some other travel guides, you will get recommendations outside the typical ones you’ll find in most major guide books. There’s not a lot of info given for prices or how to find the hotels or restaurants suggested, but there is typically a website address given so you can research the most up to date information.
  • Japan Travel Map – The guide provides a pocket on the back cover which contains a fold out map of Japan. Here you’ll find a large map of Japan that also includes more detailed maps of the typical tourist areas like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. It’s a nice little feature and may just get you out of a jam when you no doubt get lost while exploring Japan. Honestly, you may not even need to look at the map, just open it up and look confused. It will be highly likely that Japanese bystanders will be there in moments to help you out :)

Conclusion

While this guide may not be your one-stop-shop for planning your trip, I think it does a great job of giving an overall look at Japan and will work wonderfully as a starting point for planning.

The guide isn’t bulky like some guides and should fit comfortably in a purse or travel bag. The guide seems to be sturdy so it shouldn’t be falling apart from the wear and tear on your travels and the included map is a great added bonus.

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