Tokyo Mindscapes: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See by Misaki Matsui – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
For a short guide with ideas for a trip to Tokyo, for seasonal ideas, and for photos to get you excited and choose which you want to prioritize. This probably won’t be the only guidebook you use, though
Traveling to Tokyo? Be sure to see some of the most iconic sites in Tokyo and nearby cities—from gorgeous skylines and jaw-dropping nature to hidden treasures. With this photo/guidebook, visitors can explore both the cutting-edge and traditional parts of the city like a local. Misaki Matsui, the photographer and author, introduces the beauty of the four seasons of Tokyo and surrounding cities that Japanese residents love. The collection showcases more than 100 beautiful images of Tokyo including Senso-ji, Roppongi Hills, Todoriki Valley, Mt. Takao, the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, and more.
As a traveler, one of the most annoying things I face is what to do when heading somewhere in the off season. Usually this means winter, when it’s too cold to be outside all the time, which is what I usually want. Each place has it’s own issues with a season or two though, and it’s hard to decide what do when you hit a less-than-ideal day. This book is a great cure for that, as it addresses great options for things to do and places to explore for every season in Tokyo! I wish I had more guides that did this.
There were a decent number of suggestions for each season, so you still got a good number of useful ideas to choose from regardless of the popularity of the time to go. There were the recommendations you expect, like popular shrines and ways to view Mt. Fuji, but also less common ones, like old palace summer homes transformed into a public jungle and museum. The details about the places can help you learn about them culturally and historically, and frame what you might expect to experience. A good example of this would be some of the shrine visits that are frequented at certain times of the year by people seeking blessings (new years, for a main example). On a more practical note, there’s also location and business info for the places specified in the back of the book, so you have an idea of times they’re open each day as well as where to go for more info. The map is great for planning out a route.
The big issue I had with this was the formatting. For whatever reason, the ebook was almost unreadable. Primary issues were random line breaks, inconsistent capitalization, and statically sized media. The last issue was the most disappointing, as a huge part of this guide are the photos that the author worked hard to capture the heart of each place. They looked beautiful, but unfortunately some of them were sized so small that I really couldn’t see anything of them. Typically in ebooks, you can click on the images to view them larger on their own, but that was lacking here. This would obviously be solved with a printed book, but you lose some of the digital option convenience for while ON your trip.
Thanks to NetGalley and Museyon for a free copy in exchange for an honest review!
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