Close to 36 million people live in Tokyo, making it the world’s largest metropolis. The city is a great urban mass, alive and buzzing with commerce and culture. You could go to a new restaurant or cafe every day and never visit the same one twice! In Tokyo the modern collides with the ancient and skyscrapers reside next to temples. Each neighborhood has a distinctive vibe and they’re known around the world; Harajuku, Shibuya, and Ginza.
Read up on our roundup of some of the most impressive books that will transport you to Tokyo.
A Tale for the Time Being: A Novel by Ruth Ozeki
Ruth Ozeki’s story is expansive and engrossing albeit at times weird and uncomfortable. It’s as delightful and strange as Tokyo itself! Told in two intertwining stories, one of which is by the character nao a teenager who has a cynical view of culture in Tokyo from her experiences with school bullies, maid cafes, otakus, and even Zen Buddhism. Her take on contemporary Japan is darkly fascinating.
Tokyo on Foot: Travels in the City’s Most Colorful Neighborhoods by Florent Chavoulet
Graphic artist-become-author Florent Chavoulet’s charming and delightful illustrations are the result of six months spent exploring Tokyo. He has a great view on the different neighborhoods, it’s unlike any travel or guidebook. If you want to see the real Tokyo in all its grit and hidden glamour, this is a way to feel what it’s like on the ground in Tokyo.
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
One of the best known Japanese authors in the world, Haruki Murakami’s epic and mysterious modern classic 1Q84 is set in an alternate-timeline 1984 Tokyo. Written like an ode to the Orwellian 1984, this is a great mind-bending read from an author who lives in Tokyo.
The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura
More than a crime novel, Fuminori Nakamura’s main character is a master anonymous thief who moves through Tokyo like a blur, following the flow of humans through the urban center and pickpocketing as he goes. It’s so much a part of his identity that he hardly remembers how he does it. Invoking Doestoevsky, the thief gets in deeper as his criminal past catches up with him.
5. Tokyo Cult Recipes by Maori Murota
Inspired by her experience growing up in Tokyo, Maori Murota’s cookbook shows you how to bring some of the unique flavours of Japan to your kitchen. Tokyo is a culinary gem and you can eat everything from ultra expensive sushi to fish shaped waffles sold on the streets. Japanese food can be intimidating to cook, but those with cult-like reverence for it can try making it at home now!