Monday, January 08, 2024

Tokyo Outdoors 45 Walks Hikes and Cycling Routes

Japan Book Review: Tokyo Outdoors

Tokyo Outdoors: 45 Walks, Hikes and Cycling Routes to Explore the City Like a Local

by Matthew Baxter

ISBN: 978-1-919-63155-4
108pp; paperback

Tokyo Outdoors: 45 Walks, Hikes and Cycling Routes to Explore the City Like a Local.

If you have a free day and don't feel like spending Tokyo money, and are in fact just looking for interesting walking, hiking or cycling routes in Tokyo, then this could be the book for you.

Most of the suggested 45 itineraries consist of two pages, with five or six places of interest to see on each route, a recommended café, a recommended meal spot, and finally helpful QR codes which lead to maps (usually written in Japanese) corresponding to each trip. All of the maps can be downloaded at once by using the QR code on page 4.

The book is the fourth in a series written by Matthew Baxter, following his Super Cheap Hokkaido, Super Cheap Japan and Super Cheap New Zealand versions. Each book is similar in size, length and style.

Before getting into the hikes and bikes, Baxter presents three pages of details about things like transportation to and from Tokyo's two international airports, how to use Tokyo trains (both public and private lines) and how and where to rent bicycles for those who want to cycle. While anybody living in Japan will already know much of this information, it is handy for foreign tourists.
The routes are mostly in Tokyo, but on occasion stretch to Nikko to the north and Yokohama to the south.

At the end of the book is a helpful three-page section highlighting the top three (sometimes five) hikes for cherry blossoms, autumn leaves, shopping, art and museums, history and culture, day hikes and long cycling rides. The Tamagawa River ride, one of the suggested cycling courses, is 45 kilometers (28 miles) in length, although "train lines run along much of the river, with dozens of stations to pick up or drop off your rental bicycles."

There is also a two-page "festival and events calendar," with a couple of suggestions for each month.

A few small downsides of the book would include that the photos, all black-and-white, are small not especially helpful, and that a few facts are omitted or open to question. For example, it is not mentioned that Odawara Castle is actually a 1960 rebuild of the original castle which was torn down by the Meiji government in 1872.

Ignore a few oversites, and you have a book with useful suggestions about how to spend some enjoyable free days in Tokyo and its surrounding areas, without splashing out much cash.

Review by Marshall Hughes.

Buy this book from Amazon USA | UK | Japan

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