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SMITHSONIAN JOURNEYS

Art and Craft of Japan

READING AND TRAVEL GUIDE

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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 EXJPN120. Buy these 5 items as a set for $66 including shipping, 15% off the retail price.
With free shipping on anything else you order.

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Japanese Art

Japanese Art

by Joan Stanley-Baker

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 223 PAGES

Concise, thoroughly illustrated and comprehensive, this handsome book in the "World of Art" series is a fine survey of Japanese art from the prehistoric period to modern Japan. With 167 illustrations. (JPN08, $19.95)

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)

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)

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)

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)

 
70 Japanese Gestures

70 Japanese Gestures


by Hamiru-aqui

  • LANGUAGE & PHRASEBOOKS
  • 2005
  • PAPER
  • 158 PAGES

A clever guide to body language and slang in Japan as demonstrated through 70 witty black-and-white photographs and explanatory text. (JPN193, $9.95)

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)

Frommer's Seoul Day by Day


by Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 192 PAGES

A compact shirt pocket guide, ideal for a short visit, featuring remarkably good suggestions for everything from food, hotels and neighborhoods to shopping, along with dozens of colorful maps. (KOR57, $13.99)

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)

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)

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, $12.95)

Japan, Its History and Culture

Japan, Its History and Culture


by W. Scott Morton

  • HISTORY
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 311 PAGES

An introduction to Japanese history, people and culture from ancient origins to contemporary society. With selections from Japanese literature and arts, anecdotes and illustrations. (JPN03, $21.00)

Kyoto, A Cultural History

Kyoto, A Cultural History


by John Dougill

  • HISTORY
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES

A rich portrait and guide to the gardens, monasteries, art, history and culture of Kyoto, once Japan's capital, founded 1,200-years ago. (JPN178, $19.99)

The Book of Tea

The Book of Tea


by Kakuzo Okakura

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 116 PAGES

A graceful, witty meditation on Japanese aesthetics and culture as reflected through the tea ceremony. A celebrity and cultural ambassador, Okakura was a curator at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. (JPN21, $9.95)

The Making of the Atomic Bomb

The Making of the Atomic Bomb


by Richard Rhodes

  • HISTORY
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 838 PAGES

From the discovery of the nucleus to the making of atomic bomb, this Pulitzer Prize-winning book tackles the people, discoveries and places of the Atomic Age in spellbinding detail. (USW231, $21.00)

Japanese Garden Design

Japanese Garden Design


by Marc P. Keane | Haruzo Ohashi

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 184 PAGES

This illustrated introduction to Japanese gardens illuminates social, religious and historical concepts that shape garden aesthetics. With chapters on Japanese garden origins, gardens of Heian aristocrats, tea gardens and Zen Buddhist gardening. (JPN52, $30.00)

Korea, As Seen by Magnum Photographers


by Bruce Cumings | Magnum

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2008
  • HARD COVER
  • 304 PAGES

More than 230 full-color images by some of the world's most-renowned photographers capture the natural history, ancient temples, traditions and modern marvels of this dynamic, rapidly developing country. (KOR36, $75.00)

The Art and Culture of Japan

The Art and Culture of Japan


by Nelly Delay

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 1999
  • PAPER
  • 160 PAGES
  • OUT OF PRINT

Lavishly illustrated, this handy pocket encyclopedia introduces the art, architecture and culture of Japan. With 165 archival and modern illustrations and a section of original documents. (JPN51, $12.95)

The Art of Setting Stones & Other Writings from the Japanese Garden

The Art of Setting Stones & Other Writings from the Japanese Garden


by Marc P. Keane

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 196 PAGES

In these lyrical essays, Kyoto resident and landscape architect Marc Peter Keane uses eight Japanese gardens as basises for essays on nature, religion and aesthetics. His rich, meditative excursions find beauty in garden composition - every element gaining importance and interconnectedness. (JPN124, $16.95)

The Gardens of Japan

The Gardens of Japan


by Teiji Itoh

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 1998
  • HARD COVER
  • 244 PAGES
  • CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE
  • >

This beautifully illustrated overview of the history and tradition of gardens features 75 color photographs and astute essays. (JPN38, $60.00)

Geisha, A Life

Geisha, A Life


by Mineko Iwasaki

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2003
  • PAPER
  • 368 PAGES

The memoir of a celebrated Geisha, rich in details of life in Kyoto's Gion Kobu district. Iwasaki was the chief source of information for Arthur Golden's best-selling "Memoirs of a Geisha." (JPN131, $16.00)

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)

Tale of the Heike


by Helen Craig McCullough

  • LITERATURE
  • 1988
  • PAPER
  • 489 PAGES

Japan's most famous war tale about the fall of the Taira (Heike) clan and the victory of the Minamoto (Genji) during the end of the 12th century. (JPN75, $29.95)

The Lady and the Monk, Four Seasons in Kyoto

The Lady and the Monk, Four Seasons in Kyoto


by Pico Iyer

  • LITERATURE
  • 1992
  • PAPER
  • 337 PAGES

Deeply romanticized, this short novel is nonetheless redolent in the places, sights and sounds of modern day Kyoto. Iyer writes with infectious charm the story of a young American man and his affair with a bored Japanese married woman. (JPN32, $15.95)

The Samurai

The Samurai


by Shusaku Endo

  • LITERATURE
  • 1997
  • PAPER
  • 272 PAGES

This historical novel by one of Japan's best-known modern writers is set in the world of the 17th-century Samurai. A Roman Catholic, Endo explored Christianity and morals in his many novels and stories. (JPN157, $16.95)

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.