Super excited to see my first guidebook on a destination that isn’t Japan in print! For this edition of the Korea guide I covered the provinces in the southwest of the peninsula: Jeollanam, Jeollabuk & Chungcheongnam. This included the cities of Gwangju and Jeonju, which don’t see many international visitors, but have a lot going on. I also did the back of the book essay on the arts in Korea, which meant I got to spend some time in Seoul as well, connecting with the scene there. All total, eight weeks on the road!
For this pocket-sized (well, purse-sized) guide, I cherry-picked all the absolute must-sees from the larger Tokyo city guide. The suggestions are arranged in neighborhood itineraries, which makes this a great guide for travelers who don’t have hours to put into planning what they see and do.
I co-authored this with the amazing, indefatigable Simon Richmond. This time I covered the western side of the city (Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku, Ebisu, and Korakuen), plus two neighborhoods on the east side: Ueno and Asakusa. I live on the west side, so it was really fun to spend weeks on the other side of the city, which I don’t get to so often (Tokyo is so big it’s an hour on the subway from one side to the other of what is still considered center city!).
The most exciting update to this book is the introduction of a new feature: mapped routes through “local” neighborhoods — the kind of places that don’t really have any sights but are fun places to hang out. Featured neighborhoods include: Shimo-Kitazawa, Daikanyama & Nakameguro, and Kagurazaka. Really, these are places you’d just want to wander, but we’ve highlighted favorite local cafes, shops, landmarks, etc.
It’s also chock-full of tips culled from all my family, friends and acquaintances in Tokyo — all of whom to which I am extremely grateful!
P. S. Just a few days after I saw a preview of the cover image, I was eating with some out of town friends at a random yakitori stall in Shinjuku’s Omoide-Yokocho. As I turned around to look out over the alley, I realized that the cover image was staring back at me. The photographer must have been standing at just about my exact spot.
904 pages! Bigger than the last edition. I updated the Tokyo chapter for this one. Included: a walking tour of the historic Yanaka district, a picture guide to the highlights inside the Tokyo National Museum, ramen tips from chef Ivan Orkin and unintuitive places to see cherry blossoms (like Aoyama Cemetery).
Lots of great trip planning info in the front of the book as well: If you haven’t picked up a Lonely Planet guide in a few years, you’d be surprised! Full color sample itineraries, country-wide overviews on skiing and hiking, and lots of tips for first-timers and repeat visitors.
This is a full-color greatest hits of Japan guide. Select excerpts from my most recent update of the Tokyo chapter in the full Japan guide appear here.
This is the new incarnation of LP’s Explore series, designed for short city stays. I was skeptical at first, that I could cover all of Tokyo properly in such a little guide, but the product design is really well done and as a traveler myself, I’ve come to be a big fan of this series.
One of the cool new features in this series is a spread called “Local Life,” which allowed me to cover neighborhoods that don’t really have any sights, but are fun to explore on a pedestrian level. Each spread has a mapped out walking route of some interesting spots — cafes, galleries, that sort of thing.
This guide includes local life spreads on Akihabara, Yanaka, Shimo-Kitazawa, and east Shinjuku (basically a bar crawl of the nightlife district here). There are also mapped city walks that cover contemporary architecture in Omotesando, “shitamachi” culture in Asakusa, and modern Japanese history in Ginza and Marunouchi.
The re-design meant that I got to do a lot of content from scratch — which doesn’t usually happen with a standard update — so I got to put more of my own voice in there. This was also the first book I did all by myself!
This is the hardest assignment I’ve ever had. I got to update the Tokyo chapter, which was fun; I also went up to Tohoku (northeast Japan) to update that chapter — the first time it had been done since the earthquake and tsunami. I had to figure out which places were ready and accessible to tourists and which places weren’t. I listened to a lot of stories, both from survivors and from volunteers.
I was so excited to get this assignment, my dream assignment — a venue for 10 years accumulated knowledge of Tokyo! I co-authored this guide with Tim Hornyak; I covered the west side of the city and the day trips.
My first assignment for Lonely Planet! I did the “Around Tokyo” chapter, which includes popular day trips like Hakone, Nikko, and one of my favorite spots, Kamakura. It also meant that I got to go to the Ogasawara Islands and all the Izu Islands, which was awesome. The Ogasawara Islands are technically part of Tokyo but are 1000km away (closer to Guam than Tokyo) and the only way to get there is by ferry, which takes 25 hours.