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SMITHSONIAN JOURNEYS

Eternal Japan: From Tokyo to Kyoto

READING AND TRAVEL GUIDE

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Books for

Enrich your travels with reading! Here's a hand-picked list prepared for your journey in conjunction with the book experts at Longitude.

Essential Reading

Item EXJPN168. Buy these 5 items as a set for $95 including shipping, 15% off the retail price.
With free shipping on anything else you order.

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In Praise of Shadows

In Praise of Shadows

by Junichiro Tanizaki

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 73 PAGES

This extended essay by the great Japanese novelist, first published in 1933, offers tremendous insight into traditional Japanese art, architecture and design. (JPN19, $16.00)

A Concise History of Japan

A Concise History of Japan

by Brett L. Walker

  • HISTORY
  • 2015
  • PAPER
  • 280 PAGES

A probing history that traces Japan from its earliest archaeological remains through its ascent from the ashes of WWII. Walker reassesses Japan in light of key themes, especially his area of expertise: climate change. (JPN462, $29.99)

Japan, A Traveler's Literary Companion

Japan, A Traveler's Literary Companion

by Jeffrey Angles

  • ANTHOLOGY
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES

This geographically-organized anthology introduces both Japan and its best contemporary writers. (JPN187, $14.95)

Eyewitness Guide Japan

Eyewitness Guide Japan

by Eyewitness Guides

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2015
  • PAPER
  • 408 PAGES
  • CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

Dazzling illustrations, architectural cutaways and color photographs, along with useful local maps, give this guide to Japan's many attractions a distinct edge. (JPN130, $28.00)

Japan Map

Japan Map

by Reise Know How

  • 2015
  • MAP

A handsome, detailed map of Japan at a scale of 1:1,200,000. (JPN06, $14.95)

 
Culture Smart! Japan

Culture Smart! Japan


by Paul Norbury

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 168 PAGES

A concise, no-nonsense guide to local customs, etiquette and culture, this is a helpful travel tool for visitors to Japan. (JPN269, $9.95)

Lonely Planet Japanese Phrasebook

Lonely Planet Japanese Phrasebook


by Yoshi Abe

  • LANGUAGE & PHRASEBOOKS
  • 2015
  • PAPER
  • 272 PAGES

A handy palm-sized guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler. (JPN136, $9.99)

A Traveller's History of Japan

A Traveller's History of Japan


by Richard Tames

  • HISTORY
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES

A lively and concise narrative history of Japan and its transformation from Shinto, Shogun and Samurai traditions to 20th-century powerhouse. (JPN09, $14.95)

Bending Adversity, Japan and the Art of Survival

Bending Adversity, Japan and the Art of Survival


by David Pilling

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2015
  • PAPER
  • 416 PAGES

Financial Times Asia editor Pilling captures the dynamism and diversity of Japan after the 2011 tsunami. He interviews, among many, novelist Haruki Murakami, former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, industrialists, bankers, activists and artists, teenagers and octogenarians. (JPN441, $18.00)

Hiroshima

Hiroshima


by John Hersey

  • HISTORY
  • 1989
  • PAPER
  • 152 PAGES

This classic book, first published in 1946, has been hailed as the greatest piece of journalism in the 20th century. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Hersey puts a human face on the Hiroshima tragedy through interviews with survivors. (JPN20, $7.95)

Inventing Japan, 1853-1964

Inventing Japan, 1853-1964


by Ian Buruma

  • HISTORY
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 194 PAGES

A favorite writer with keen insight about Japan, Buruma offers an admirably succinct, dramatic history of Japan's transformation from feudal state to host of the 1964 Olympics, with a focus on World War II. (JPN139, $16.00)

Japanese Culture

Japanese Culture


by Paul Varley

  • HISTORY
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 383 PAGES

Valery traces cultural trends from the emergence of Japanese civilization through the present age, touching on religion, gardens, the tea ceremony, the visual arts, theatre, literature and cinema. (JPN84, $24.00)

Kyoto Gardens, Masterworks of the Japanese Gardener's Art

Kyoto Gardens, Masterworks of the Japanese Gardener's Art


by Judith Clancy | Ben Simmons

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2015
  • HARD COVER
  • 144 PAGES

A photographic journey through the high art of Japanese garden design in thirty Kyoto gardens. The beautifully manicured designs range from extreme minimalism to the verdant and the voluptuous. Clancy explores the historic, aesthetic and cultural context of each. (JPN467, $22.95)

Seeing Kyoto

Seeing Kyoto


by Juliet Winters Carpenter | Sen Soshitsu

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2012
  • HARD COVER
  • 96 PAGES

In this oversized visual celebration of Kyoto and neighboring Nara, long-time resident Carpenter presents the cobblestone streets, temples, gardens, history and traditions of the ancient capital. (JPN180, $35.00)

The Little Book of Japan

The Little Book of Japan


by Charlotte Anderson | Gorazd Vilhar

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2013
  • HARD COVER
  • 192 PAGES

Veteran Japanophiles Vilhar and Anderson produced this illuminating collection of 44 essays on Japanese life and culture, which, even in the 21st century remains elusive and poorly understood. (JPN443, $16.95)

Tokyo, A Cultural History

Tokyo, A Cultural History


by Stephen Mansfield

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 268 PAGES

A literary, cultural guide to the art, architecture, traditions and history of Tokyo. (JPN372, $18.95)

Japanese Design, Art, Aesthetics & Culture

Japanese Design, Art, Aesthetics & Culture


by Patricia J. Graham

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2014
  • HARD COVER
  • 160 PAGES

In this handbook to Japanese aesthetics and design principles, Asian art expert Patricia Graham focuses on ten elements of Japanese design. She clues readers in to the allure of Japanese culture with explanatory text and more than 160 color photos. (JPN458, $24.95)

Living in Japan

Living in Japan


by Reto Guntli

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2013
  • HARD COVER
  • 200 PAGES

One in a series of illustrated guides, focusing on design and the multifaceted landscape of Japanese living today, by the art publisher Taschen. (JPN433, $14.99)

36 Views of Mount Fuji, On Finding Myself in Japan

36 Views of Mount Fuji, On Finding Myself in Japan


by Cathy Davidson

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES

A thoughtful set of witty reflections on Japan, Japanese culture and the adventure of living overseas by a talented writer who taught at an all-women's university in Japan in the 1980s. (JPN65, $23.95)

Learning to Bow, Inside the Heart of Japan

Learning to Bow, Inside the Heart of Japan


by Bruce Feiler

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 321 PAGES

As surprising, helpful and informative as it is funny, this is an insightful account of travels and teaching in Japan. Feiler presents anecdotes on the rituals, personality traits and cultural peccadilloes of the Japanese. (JPN111, $14.99)

The Inland Sea

The Inland Sea


by Donald Richie

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2015
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES

Richie's masterpiece, more than a travel account, is a beautiful reflection on all things Japanese by one of its most acute observers. (JPN13, $18.95)

Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye

Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye


by Marie Mutsuki Mockett

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2016
  • PAPER
  • 336 PAGES

When her American father passes away, Mockett seeks consolation in her mother's home country of Japan. She visits a radiation zone, a Buddhist school, temples and festivals in an effort to understand the Japanese way of grieving, to bury her dead and find healing. (JPN460, $16.95)

Botchan

Botchan


by Soseki Natsume

  • LITERATURE
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 192 PAGES

A Japanese literary classic that is still read today by Japanese adults and students alike. Botchan, a young teacher from Tokyo, takes a post in Maysuyama on the island of Shikoku, beginning a quest for love and understanding. Soseki Natsume is considered the greatest writer in modern Japanese history. (JPN442, $11.95)

Japan, Through Writer's Eyes

Japan, Through Writer's Eyes


by Elizabeth Ingrams

  • ANTHOLOGY
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 304 PAGES

These tales by both Japanese writers and visitors, including Pico Iyer, Junichiro Tanizaki and Jan Morris, illuminate the history and culture of Japan. (JPN351, $33.95)

Memoirs of a Geisha, A Novel

Memoirs of a Geisha, A Novel


by Arthur Golden

  • LITERATURE
  • 1999
  • PAPER
  • 434 PAGES

The runaway best-selling novel about a geisha in the celebrated Gion district of Kyoto. A major feat of literary impersonation, the novel is rich in period detail and ceremony. (JPN45, $16.00)

Thousand Cranes

Thousand Cranes


by Yasunari Kawabata | Edward G. Seidensticker

  • LITERATURE
  • 1996
  • PAPER
  • 147 PAGES

This novella by the great Kawabata may be Japan's best-known literary work, a story of love, grief and redemption. Kawabata's prose is as economical as the tea ceremony itself and very beautiful. (JPN34, $15.00)

More Recommendations

Here are some other groups of books that might be of interest

Longitude provides recommended reading for travelers in partnership with the leading tour operators and travel programs for hundreds of destinations worldwide. We've got the classic, new and hard-to-find books and maps to help you get the most out of your adventures.