The Little Book of Tokyo and The Little Book of Kyoto Book Review

The Little Book of Tokyo and The Little Book of Kyoto Book Review || The Travel Tester
The Travel Tester reviews "The Little Book of Tokyo" and "The Little Book of Kyoto" by Ben Simmons

enEnglish (Engels)

Because of our partnership with Tuttle Publishing (The #1 seller of books about countries in Asia) I’ve been reviewing a fair amount of books on Japan this year. The people over at Tuttle know I’m obsessed with this country, so they keep sending me books! This is of course no complaint at all, as the books they’ve published are always gorgeous and a must-have for any Japanophile.

If you want to browse through our archive of Japan book reviews, click here, otherwise, keep scrolling for a review of two cute little books that have been the latest to my book collection: The Little Book of Tokyo and The Little Book of Kyoto by author Ben Simmons.

THE LITTLE BOOK OF TOKYO & THE LITTLE BOOK OF KYOTO

The Little Book of Tokyo and The Little Book of Kyoto Book Review || The Travel Tester
Planning a Trip to Japan? Here are some great resources:

 

The Travel Tester - The Anticipation

About the Writer

Ben Simmons is a photographer who completed a Master of Fine Arts degree in photography and art history. He taught photography at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina (USA) before he moved to Japan and started working as a professional photojournalist. He’s been working in this business for over 20 years now and has published several books on the country.

His most recent books include “Kyoto Gardens”, “Japanese Architecture”, “Tokyo Megacity”, “Kyoto: City of Zen”, and “Tokyo Desire”.

The Little Book of Tokyo and The Little Book of Kyoto Book Review || The Travel Tester

The Little Book of Tokyo and The Little Book of Kyoto Book Review || The Travel Tester

The Little Book of Tokyo and The Little Book of Kyoto Book Review || The Travel Tester

The Little Book of Tokyo and The Little Book of Kyoto Book Review || The Travel Tester

 

The Travel Tester - The Experience

The Content of the Books

There are actually three books in the “The Little Book of…” series, namely one about Japan itself (from 2013, written by Charlotte Anderson and with photos of Gorazd Vilhar) and the ones that I have about Tokyo and Japan by Ben Simmons, both published in 2018.

In these books, you’re taken on a journey of all the highlights of these two fantastic cities in Japan, covering the following topics:

THE LITTLE BOOK OF TOKYO

  • The Spirit of Tokyo (everything about shrines, temples, festivals and other typical historical and cultural experiences in Tokyo)
  • Traditional Tokyo (covering historical sights such as the Imperial Palace, museums and gardens and some interesting day trips)
  • Tokyo Today (an overview of all the neighbourhoods where it’s hip and happening, from Ueno to Shinjuku!)
  • Tokyo Sights (interesting buildings and not-to-miss sights, such as the Meiji Shrine, Tsukiji Fish Market, Rainbow Bridge and the World Trade Center)

 

THE LITTLE BOOK OF KYOTO

  • The Spirit of Kyoto (covering the festivals, shrines, temples and gardens of Kyoto and also going into food, shopping and art)
  • Kyoto’s Imperial Legacy (covering historical sights related to The Imperial House of Japan, from palaces to castles, gardens and villas)
  • Kyoto Highlights (all of the best temples and shrines in the city that you don’t want to miss)
  • Exploring Kyoto (tips for walking or cycling around Kyoto station or along the river, The famous Philosopher’s path and much, much more!)

 

Every chapter of the books starts with a short introduction, and then goes into compact, easy to read descriptions of everything you can see in that specific location. There isn’t a lot of text, but it’s enough to get a good sense of the locations around the cities and you get some great ideas of places to visit from a local’s perspective.

The Little Book of Tokyo and The Little Book of Kyoto Book Review || The Travel Tester

 

Photos & Illustrations

The books might be small (only 6 by 6 inch, or about 15 by 15 cm), they have 192 pages and are chock-full of gorgeous coloured photos. The photos in this book are really what makes them so nice, and the author has done a great job capturing the spirit of both cities. I have been to Japan (especially Tokyo) many times and I could still find lots of things I’d never seen before!

The book has a hard cover and paper sleeve, and look great on the coffee table, but offering a bit more than your usual coffee-table picture books.

The Little Book of Tokyo and The Little Book of Kyoto Book Review || The Travel Tester

The Little Book of Tokyo and The Little Book of Kyoto Book Review || The Travel Tester

The Little Book of Tokyo and The Little Book of Kyoto Book Review || The Travel Tester

 

Practical Use

With so many photos, you might classify this book as a ‘coffee table book’ (and it’s just as pretty), but because of the small size, I can totally see why people would want to take the book(s) on their next trips as well. While there are no maps of addresses in the book, the writer tells you exactly where to go and what to look out for.

Because of the amount of photos, you can get great inspiration of unique angles to take your own pictures from as well as reading a bit of background on the places you visit.

If you decide to bring the book(s) or not, you’ll definitely find them useful when planning your itinerary!

The Little Book of Tokyo and The Little Book of Kyoto Book Review || The Travel Tester

The Little Book of Tokyo and The Little Book of Kyoto Book Review || The Travel Tester

The Little Book of Tokyo and The Little Book of Kyoto Book Review || The Travel Tester

 

Favourite Quotes

THE LITTLE BOOK OF TOKYO

“The city’s spirit moves everyone and everything through intricate patterns at a blurring speed and with astonishing accuracy.” 

“Tokyo festivals provide a renewing energy and a soothing tonic for the city’s relentless growth and modernization.” 

“There is no better or friendlier metropolis to get a bit lost in than Tokyo.” 

 

THE LITTLE BOOK OF KYOTO

“Kyoto’s ethos is reflected in the artful arrangement and detailed attention afforded every aspect in daily life.” 

“The hushed protective atmosphere of Kyoto temples can serve as temporary sanctuary (“Be a nun for a day” suggests one), or templates for focused contemplation, or just to set the mind free for a precious moment.” 

“Whether following a carefully mapped-out plan or merely pedaling along until something amazing or just quirky catches the eye, Kyoto by bike is a rolling wonder of cinematic vignettes.” 

 

The Little Book of Tokyo and The Little Book of Kyoto Book Review || The Travel Tester

 

 

The Travel Tester - The Verdict

The Little Book of Tokyo and The Little Book of Japan are two amazing little books, filled with all the beauty that you can expect when visiting Japan. Whether you’ve already been to the country or not, I can guarantee you that you’ll find some new sights or unique places in both books! The amount of tips in this book must have taken the author/photographer years to gather and his enthusiasm for everything Japanese rolls of the colourful pages. From historical sites to modern wonders, these books show you a great overview of everything that both these fascinating cities have to offer you. If you still think this little book is too big to take on your travels, I can recommend getting the Kindle version too!

 

 

The Travel Tester - Practical Information

GET THESE BOOKS YOURSELF!

Title: The Little Book of Tokyo

Author: Ben Simmons

Publisher: Tuttle Publishing

Language: English

ISBN: 480531446X / 978-4805314463

Where to buy: Amazon UK or Amazon USA // Bol.com (Dutch Website, English Language Book)

 

Title: The Little Book of Kyoto

Author: Ben Simmons

Publisher: Tuttle Publishing

Language: English

ISBN: 4805314478 / 978-4805314470

Where to buy: Amazon UK or Amazon USA // Bol.com (Dutch Website, English Language Book)

 

Other Books on Japan Culture:

 

PIN IT FOR LATER!

The Little Book of Tokyo and The Little Book of Kyoto Book Review || The Travel Tester

 

Disclaimer: I received these books for review purposes from Tuttle Publishing all opinions are 100% my own, as always.

enEnglish (Engels)

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