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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 EXJPN147. Buy these 5 items as a set for $78 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 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)

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
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 408 PAGES

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 Periplus Maps

  • 2009
  • MAP

This convenient map covers the island nation at a scale of 1:2,000,000, with insets of the major cities. (JPN06, $8.95)

 
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
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 259 PAGES

A handy palm-sized guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler. (JPN136, $8.99)

Tokyo, A View of the City

Tokyo, A View of the City


by Donald Richie

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 1999
  • PAPER
  • 142 PAGES

Richie's literate essay on the culture, history and fabric of Tokyo, where he lived for 50 years, is structured as a geographic tour starting at the Imperial Palace and branching out. With black-and-white photos. (JPN90, $25.00)

Bending Adversity, Japan and the Art of Survival

Bending Adversity, Japan and the Art of Survival


by David Pilling

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2014
  • HARD COVER
  • 416 PAGES

Financial Times Asia editor David 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, $29.95)

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. In it, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer John 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, $15.00)

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)

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

  • 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, $16.95)

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, $13.99)

The Inland Sea

The Inland Sea


by Donald Richie

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 255 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, $16.95)

Black Arrow

Black Arrow


by I. J. Parker

  • MYSTERY
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 352 PAGES

Detective Akitada must solve a series of brutal slayings in the northern city of Echigo. (JPN201, $15.00)

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, $15.95)

South of the Border, West of the Sun

South of the Border, West of the Sun


by Haruki Murakami

  • LITERATURE
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 224 PAGES

Murakami stirs jazz, neon-lit streets, out of the way shrines, hustle and bustle and wonder into this lyrical tale of love in contemporary Tokyo. (JPN213, $14.95)

The Hell Screen

The Hell Screen


by I. J. Parker

  • MYSTERY
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 352 PAGES

Suguwara Akitada returns in another mystery of 11th-century Japan, with rich ambiance and superb historical detail. This time, a murder in a temple catches Akitada unprepared. (JPN327, $16.00)

The Temple of the Golden Pavilion

The Temple of the Golden Pavilion


by Yukio Mishima

  • LITERATURE
  • 1994
  • PAPER
  • 262 PAGES

Inspired by historical events, this powerful first novel by the great 20th-century Japanese writer tells the story of the monk who burned the Temple of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto. (JPN389, $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)

Birds of East Asia: China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and Russia

Birds of East Asia: China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and Russia


by Mark Brazil

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 520 PAGES

Featuring 234 superb color plates, Brazil's comprehensive guide includes birds found in Japan, Korea and Taiwan along with adjacent areas of Asia and Kamchatka. (JPN332, $39.95)

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.