Tokyo (A Book Lover's Guide)

Tokyo is a vibrant city that has been an inspiration for many writers over the years. Here is a literary guide to Tokyo that includes some of the most notable works of fiction set in the city.

  1. "Norwegian Wood" by Haruki Murakami - This novel is a coming-of-age story set in Tokyo in the 1960s. It follows the story of Toru Watanabe, a college student who is torn between two women. The novel explores themes of love, loss, and the search for identity.

  2. "Kitchen" by Banana Yoshimoto - This novella is set in Tokyo and tells the story of a young woman named Mikage who is dealing with the death of her grandmother. The book explores themes of grief, loneliness, and the search for connection.

  3. "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" by Haruki Murakami - This novel is set in Tokyo and follows the story of a man named Toru Okada who is searching for his missing wife. The book explores themes of memory, identity, and the supernatural.

  4. "Out" by Natsuo Kirino - This crime novel is set in Tokyo and follows the story of four women who work in a factory and become involved in a murder. The book explores themes of gender roles, class, and the criminal underworld.

  5. "Tokyo Ueno Station" by Yu Miri - This novel is set in Tokyo and tells the story of a homeless man named Kazu who dies in Ueno Park and becomes a ghost. The book explores themes of social inequality, displacement, and the legacy of Japan's history.

  6. "The Tale of Genji" by Murasaki Shikibu - Although not set in Tokyo, this classic work of Japanese literature provides insight into the culture and history of Japan. Written in the 11th century, it tells the story of the life and loves of a nobleman named Genji.

  7. "Kokoro" by Natsume Soseki - Another classic work of Japanese literature, this novel is set in Tokyo and explores the relationship between a young man named Sensei and his student. The book explores themes of isolation, morality, and the challenges of modernity.

These books offer a range of perspectives on Tokyo, from the perspectives of both Japanese and Western authors. They provide insights into the city's culture, history, and people, and are an excellent starting point for anyone looking to explore Tokyo through literature.


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A big hello and thank you for reading! Passionate about literature, psychology, and life I launched Book Therapy as an alternative form of therapy using the power of literature. I train mental health professionals, librarians, teachers as well as readers on using bibliotherapy in their own work through our online Bibliotherapy, Literature and Mental Health course. We also curate reading lists/personalised book prescriptions for clients based on their individual needs. This is our signature personalised reading service.

You can also check out Book Therapy’s other free reading lists and A- Z of book prescriptions (covering both fiction and non-fiction). These suggest books based on your existing life situation (e.g. anxiety, job change, relationship heartache) as well as interests (e.g memoir, historical fiction, non-fiction, crime etc). There’s also a Children’s A — Z of Book Prescriptions. Feel free to check out the blog for more literary gems. There’s also a post on my personal story of how I entered the world of bibliotherapy and book curation.

In this role, I have had the opportunity to publish two books called Bibliotherapy: The Healing Power of Reading and The Happiness Mindset, and write various literary essays and pieces for newspapers and magazines. I have undertaken bibliotherapy workshops for The United Nations, various libraries in New York and corporate organisations in the UK and US. My book recommendations have featured in the Guardian, Marie Claire, NBC News, Asian Voice, New York Observer, Sydney Telegraph and various other publications. If you are a parent you might enjoy a podcast I’ve recorded with speech and language therapist Sunita Shah on Raising A Reader & Storyteller. And if you’d like to connect, email me at or

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