Book Review: Cool Japan Guide by Abby Denson (+ Win a Copy!)

Cool Japan Guide

Cool Japan Guide by Abby Denson (published by Tuttle, 2015) is fabulous! I liked it from the moment I set eyes on it, and I really don’t have a bad thing to say about this colourful, fun book. American artist, comic creator and illustrator Abby Denson clearly loves Japan, and her passion for the land of the rising sun shines in abundance on every page of this ‘comic book writer’s personal tour of Japan’.

Cool Japan Guide is the perfect book for anyone with a love for Japan, especially those planning a first trip. It covers everything from the practicalities (basic phrases, what to pack, how to buy a Japan Rail Pass), to when to go, where to go, and what to see and do. There’s an emphasis on pop culture (manga, anime, games, Akihabara) but the book also covers more traditional aspects (such as onsen, shrines and festivals).

Cool Japan Guide

Visiting Nara and feeding the deer

Abby takes the reader with her on her trip to Japan, along with her husband Matt  and their sidekick cat Kitty Sweet Tooth. In Japan they meet their friend Yuuko and show what it’s like to stay in a Japanese house. This book ticks all the boxes most first time travellers to Japan would have, and does it in a humourous and informative way.

Cool Japan Guide

Woah… toilets!

One of my favourite sections was the visit to Ooedo Onsen Monogatari in Tokyo, which is an Edo-themed hot spring amusement park. Not only did this introduce somewhere unique and new (to me), it also explained how to take a bath the traditional Japanese way with cute illustrations.

Cool Japan Guide

How to enjoy a hot spring bath in Japan

This is just a lovely book. Denson’s comic approach to a travel guide is refreshing and new, and I’m sure this would appeal to lots of Japan fans. It would be great to see some follow ups to this book – perhaps with Abby and Matt visiting other parts of Japan and experiencing different aspects of Japanese culture.

As well as being an award winning writer and comic artist, Abby Denson is also author of a blog, The City Sweet Tooth, which is an online tour of New York’s best bakeries, pastry shops, and cafes. She can also be found online at

Buy Cool Japan Guide by Abby Denson from and and read more at


Would you like to win a copy of Cool Japan Guide by Abby Denson? All you need to do is leave a comment on this blog post telling me what you think is the coolest thing about Japan. Please make sure you leave a valid email address with your comment (this will not be published), as this will be used to contact the winner. The closing date for entries is Friday 27th March at midnight GMT.

Would you like a second entry? If you’d like to double your chances of winning, please share this post on Twitter and make sure to mention me (@Ali_Haikugirl) in your Tweet!

Please note that only comments left on this blog post will be accepted as competition entries, and comments left via social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) will not be counted. To qualify for the ‘second entry’ via Twitter, you must also post a comment on this blog post.

This competition is open to EVERYONE, wherever you are in the world! After the closing date has passed, a winner will be selected at random and that person will be contacted directly using the email address provided. The winner will need to supply a postal address for the prize to be sent to, and the prize will be mailed out directly by the publisher. If the selected winner does not respond with a postal address within 14 days of being contacted another winner will be selected in their place.

14 thoughts on “Book Review: Cool Japan Guide by Abby Denson (+ Win a Copy!)

  1. Hey,

    Great Post – thank you!

    I think, for me the coolest thing in Japan is clearly and simply the incredible kindness of the Japanese people.

    I visit my Japanese friends regularly (more or less) and I’m each and every time AMAZED of HOW friendly I’m not only treated by my friends and their families, but simply by most of the people I meet… Awesome!

    Take care,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oooh, I would love to win this book!

    I think the coolest thing about Japan is the crazy amount of flavours available with drinks! Melon Soda, Salty Watermelon Pepsi, Cucumber Soda etc. Some you’ll love, some you’ll hate but they are all so interesting and definitely flavours you won’t find anywhere else.



  3. The book looks amazingggg 😀

    I think the coolest thing about Japan is the fact they have such a large variation of delicious foods and just the simplicity and elegance of their cuisine. Just thinking about it is making me salivate now…

    – Mel


  4. There are so many things I love about Japan, and I have yet to visit! If I had to choose, it would be the culture. I love how strongly rooted tradition is in Japan and yet, they are so technologically advanced!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Awa Dance Festival, thousands of dancers on the streets – it’s one of the most fantastic festivals in the world! I’ve been lucky enough to see it, and desperately want to go back again


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