The list, Tokyo.
This is not your typical list of tired, old, dog-eared travel books. No. This is the list… a must-read, must-watch, must-follow rundown of Tokyo. These people, books and movies will inspire your Japanese adventure – even if your mode of transportation is ‘armchair’.
Always: Sunset on Third Street.
Set in a digitally-recreated, 1958 postwar Tokyo, Takashi Yamazaki’s film tells the story of a handful of people who live and work in a rundown neighbourhood, and the impact they have on one another’s lives.
Lost in Translation.
Sofia Coppola’s Oscar-nominated film – starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson – explores themes of loneliness, insomnia, existential ennui and culture shock against the backdrop of a modern Japanese city.
Your Name (Kimi no Na wa).
In this animated romantic fantasy drama film, a teenage boy and girl embark on a quest to meet each other for the first time after they magically swap bodies.
Based on Otomo Hashimoto’s manga of the same name, it tells the story of a local biker gang leader whose childhood friend acquires telekinetic abilities, threatening an entire military complex amidst the city’s chaos and rebellion.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
This American documentary follows Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old sushi master and owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a Michelin three-star restaurant. The only thing you have to think about is how much sushi you can eat over the film’s 80 minute duration.
Abroad in Japan.
Enter your go-to guide to Tokyo and beyond: British filmmaker and YouTube influencer Broad’s channel is focused on Japanese culture and travel throughout the country.
Rachel and Jun.
American/Japanese husband and wife Rachel and Jun’s YouTube channel creates videos about Japanese culture and society, and the reciprocal perceptions between Japanese and Westerners.
Two Japanese milk-truck drivers help a restaurant owner learn how to cook great noodles in this 1985 comedy.
One of the most celebrated writers in contemporary Japanese literature, Haruki Murakami is renowned for his numerous novels, short stories and essays, which often survey Japanese culture with a keen and critical eye.
In his novels, characters will often leave Japan or slip out of reality altogether – but characters always reappear and the direction of each novel, though flirting with the West, always returns to Japan.
When he hears her favourite Beatles’ song, Toru Watanabe recalls his first love – and is immediately transported back almost two decades to his student days in Tokyo, adrift in a world of uneasy friendships, passion, loss and desire.
Murakami’s ability to master the surreal is at its best in this book, where the familiar becomes unfamiliar after midnight, even to those that thrive in small hours.
The 1Q84 trilogy is part thriller, part love-story, and a mind-bending ode to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
A Geek in Japan
by Hector Garcia
If you’re a fan of manga, anime or J-pop, this is the guide for you to the land that is their source. Covering a wide array of topics through articles and photographs, Garcia spotlights the originality and creativity of the Japanese in this insightful and highly informative guide.
Tokyo on Foot
by Florent Chavouet
This prize-winning book offers an illustrated tour of the city rarely seen in Tokyo travel guides. Organised by neighbourhoods with hand-drawn maps that provide an overview of the area, this guide records the city that Chavouet got the know during his adventures – full of ordinary people going about their daily lives.
Hello Sandwich is the blog of Australian/Lithuanian artist, designer, photographer and blogger Ebony Bizys, recording her daily life in Tokyo.
Bringing street style from Japan to the rest of the world, this Instagram account is the ultimate feast for your eyes (and inspiration for your wardrobe).
Scrolling through this feed of moody, stunningly-shot images by Tokyo-based freelance photographer Yuma Yamashita will keep you entertained and inspired for days (and tempted to hop on the next flight to Japan).
In need of a laugh? Look no further than the Instagram of Norwegian YouTuber Mr Yabatan, whose cultural comedy (playing a silly foreigner) has become a hit in Japan and around the world.