Cities are Fun: ‘The Monocle Travel Guide Series: Tokyo’

If there is one glaring problem with travel guides, it’s probably the fact that they are simply condescending. Bad travel guide books are often facile patronizers.

A good deal of guidebooks are naive in this regard, as writers and editors believe its their job to list everything that is available to do in a city, rather than curating only the best. It’s known as being unappreciatively lazy.

Unpolished guidebooks force the reader to pick and select from so many alternatives that may be overwhelming. And the corollary? An ‘informative’ guide tarnished with blotches of nonessential lexicon that tries to package the city as a product without providing much insight.

The Monocle Travel Guide Series places its focus on exploring a city “like a local” by which you’ll be enthralled by unique experiences, as an insider.

The petite travel guide is faithful in delivering the usual ‘Hotels’, ‘Food & Drink’, and ‘Retail’ sections within its binding, but it takes a step further: it’s equipped with ‘Essays’, ‘Design & Architecture’, ‘Sport & Fitness’ and even a section titled, ‘Walks’.

The ‘Essay’ segment hosts a series of interesting native representatives (among them being graphic designer Kenya Hara) chronicling their own perspectives of the city. You will quickly understand that only those oblivious of the city’s true charms will call a city ‘exotic’.

‘Design & Architecture’ will have you sauntering around traditional shrines and weaving through the concrete jungle of Tokyo, where many contemporary and historic monumental gems will take form before you.

From indoor swimming pools to shiatsu massages, contents under ‘Sport & Fitness’ will have you engrossed and inspired. You’ll also be informed of places to meditate in this section.

In the ‘Walks’ portion of the guidebook, you’ll learn of scenic walk routes and bike courses that will zigzag through the veins of Tokyo. Put your mind at ease, most routes will include more than one place to rest and dine.

All things considered, not only is the travel guide an excellent read, it’s a portable companion with good advice and galvanizing content. If you are willing to travel better, any one of The Monocle Travel Guide Series should be yours.

Travel can be clichéd, but cities are fun – let’s explore.

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