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Tokyo Encounter
(Lonely Planet) ISBN 978-1740595582 1740595580

This Lonely Planet book describes the food, entertainment, culture, shopping and architecture in the neighborhoods of Japan's capital city, Tokyo. The useful, hand-sized reference guide uses colored edges to make each section easy to find.

The Background section summarizes life in Tokyo, history, government, politics, the economy, environment and the arts. A directory provides information on how to get to and from Narita Airport by train, bus and taxi, visa requirements, travel passes, subway transit and business hours.

Discount passes

Readers learn that Japan's typhoon season is usually between September and October and the rainy season tsuyu is in June.

Tokyo Encounter includes tips on discounts for children, seniors and museums (Grutt Pass). Additional helpful information covers free Internet access and WiFi, useful Japanese phrases, yen denominations, location of public toilets, tipping advice, travel for the disabled and hospitals for emergencies.

Anime and manga

The Snapshots section features best museums, bookstores and hangouts in Tokyo for fans of anime (animated characters) and manga (comic books) popularized by the Japanese otaku (geek) subculture.

Images of people at play and at work, food, art, architecture and street scenes illustrate the Lonely Planet guidebook. Regional and detailed color maps help visitors find their way around Tokyo neighborhoods.

What to see

Sixteen articles in the Highlights section help visitors get the most out of their trips to Tokyo.

  1. Attend a Sumo (ritualistic wrestling) match
  2. Photograph Harajuku girls in anime costume on weekends
  3. View fish and eat sushi at Tsukiji seafood market
  4. Drink sake on a pub crawl in the Golden Gai
  5. Walk in the Kichijoji park
  6. Shop and see all-night movies at Roppongi Hills
  7. Learn about Tokyo's eastern capital origins at the Edo-Tokyo Museum
  8. Shop at designer stores and basement food halls (depachika) in Ginza
  9. Find electronic bargains in Akihabara or Denki-gai (Electric Town)
  10. View weekend Japanese weddings at the Shinto shrine, Meiji-Jingu
  11. Experience kabuki theater (performed by men) at Kabuki-za
  12. Explore Ueno-Koen park and the Tokyo National Museum
  13. Shop with hip gyaru and Japanese youth in Shibuya
  14. Take a suijo-bus (water bus) down the Sumida River
  15. Ride a jinrikisha through Senso-Ji, an ancient temple
  16. Find free weekend entertainment in Yoyogi-Koen city park

City map

The inside front cover of the guidebook is a quick reference for useful Japanese phrases, currency exchange, business hours and telephone number area codes. Inside the back cover is a detailed, detachable folding map of Tokyo.

Itineraries suggest things to see and do on a one-day, three-day, five-day, rainy-day or Sunday tour. A Forward Planning sidebar provides advice on Tokyo attractions that must be booked in advance, such as the Ghibli Museum, dinner at L'Osier and a kaiseki multi-course meal at Kisso.

Sidebars assist visitors with items like chopstick and drinking etiquette, locations of free Sunday bicycle rentals in Tokyo, irezumi (tattoos), sento (public baths) and sakura (April cherry blossoms).

Japanese street food

In the Central Tokyo neighbourhood, a Worth the Trip sidebar features Kagurazaka, a preserved former geisha quarter with ryotei (traditional restaurants) and narrow, winding alleys. Small temples, shrines and old-fashioned bars add to the atmosphere.

The Eat section of the guide book describes places where visitors can find yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), soba (buckwheat noodles), sushi, sashimi, tempura, udon (thick wheat noodles) and traditional Japanese dishes like torisuki (a one pot stew from the Edo period).

Lonely Planet Tokyo Encounter


  • The author
  • This is Tokyo
  • Highlights
  • Tokyo diary
  • Itineraries
  • Neighbourhoods
    • Central Tokyo
    • Ueno
    • Asakusa
    • Ikebukuro
    • Shinjuku
    • Harajuku and Aoyama
    • Shibuya
    • Ebisu and Daikanyama
    • Akasaka and Roppongi
    • Odaiba
  • Snapshots
    • Accommodation
    • Anime and Manga
    • Architecture
    • Food
    • Galleries
    • Gay and Lesbian
    • Kids
    • Live Music
    • Markets
    • Museums
    • Nightlife
    • Parks and Gardens
    • Sento and Onsen
    • Shrines and Temples
    • Shopping
    • Spectator Sports


As a child, Wendy Yanagihara spent her summers visiting relatives in Japan. She continues to study the Japanese language, literature and music. Wendy has contributed to several other Lonely Planet guides.

More things to see and do in Japan:

Japan Travel Guide

Lonely Planet Japan

Tokyo Accommodation and Travel Packages

Cultural Tours of Tokyo Japan

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