Foreword Reviews

Starred Review:

Cool Tokyo Guide

Adventures in the City of Kawaii Fashion, Train Sushi and Godzilla

Following in the footsteps of her Cool Japan Guide, Abby Denson presents the Cool Tokyo Guide, a graphic novel tour of standard and off-beat highlights of the city.

There aren’t many graphic novel guidebooks around, but that may change after Denson’s fun and quirky but thorough and effective efforts. There are many aspects of touring a city that aren’t easily expressed with photographs or text alone, and this graphic novel format proves perfect to fill those gaps.

Tokyo in particular seems to lend itself to this format, especially since Denson is a guide who is eager to share her enthusiasm—and the city’s—for manga, anime, and toys, alongside more traditional touring subjects like food, festivals, and how to navigate a city that’s remarkably different from any other.

Chapters include “Getting Around Town,” “Culture Shock Funnies,” and sections covering hotels, entertainment, historical sites, day trips, and kid-friendly attractions. Although it’s not quite pocket-sized, Cool Tokyo Guide would be a valuable carry-around for any Tokyo tourist, with enough translated phrases, addresses, and relevant tips conveniently listed at the end of each chapter to cover the essentials.

But perhaps the strongest point of the guide is the author’s personality, which, along with those of her traveling companions, infuses the book with youthful energy and a spirit of joyful exploration. Cool Tokyo Guide might not look like a traditional guidebook, but for many travelers—actual or armchair—it will become a favorite.

Reviewed by Peter Dabbene

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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