Japan is an island country of East Asia in the northwest Pacific Ocean. On the surface, Japan appears exceedingly modern but traveling around it offers numerous opportunities to connect with the country’s traditional culture. Japan is also one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, and it isn’t hard to imagine why. With sprawling modern metropolises, gorgeous natural landscapes, spectacular cuisine, a variety of entertainment options, rich history, landmarks, and vibrant culture – there is something for everyone. If you’ve never visited or you’re simply longing to go back, these books set in Japan are sure to transport you there and inspire a future adventure!
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami (1987)
A magnificent coming-of-age story steeped in nostalgia, Norwegian Wood blends the music, the mood, and the ethos that were the sixties with a young man’s hopeless and heroic first love.
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (2016)
An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro (1986)
In the face of the misery in his homeland, the artist Masuji Ono was unwilling to devote his art solely to the celebration of physical beauty. Instead, he put his work in the service of the imperialist movement that led Japan into World War II.
The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea by Yukio Mishima (1963)
Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata (1937)
Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata’s Snow Country is widely considered to be the writer’s masterpiece: a powerful tale of wasted love set amid the desolate beauty of western Japan.
Audition by Ryū Murakami (2010)
Kokoro by Soseki Natsume (1914)
Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami (2001)
Geisha, A Life by Mineko Iwasaki (2002)
I Am a Cat by Natsume Sōseki (1905)
Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa (1996)
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami (1999)
Some Prefer Nettles by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki (1929)
The Old Capital by Yasunari Kawabata (1962)
The Pillow Book by Sei Shōnagon (1971)
Shogun by James Clavell (1975)
Schoolgirl by Osamu Dazai (1939)
The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama (1994)
Vibrator by Mari Akasaka (1999)
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (2013)
Full of Ozeki’s signature humor and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, A Tale for the Time Being is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.