The first thing you notice about this guidebook from UK based publisher Cicerone, is the weight – it is 460 grams and so is on the heavier end of the scale when compared to the Kumano Kodo guide book we recently reviewed (which is 270 grams). Having said that, this is a ‘catch all’ type of guidebook that covers the northern, central and southern Alps of Japan rather than just one specific area.
Aside from the weight, this guidebook is typical of the style that Cicerone produces being a nice compact size of 17.2 x 11.6 x 2.1 cm. Why other publishers don’t use a similar sizing I’ll never know because for those of us who are carrying our worldly goods in a backpack, it just makes so much sense.
This guidebook, as mentioned, pretty well covers the Japanese Alps and you could be forgiven in thinking this is a large area. When you look at the map below that shows the area covered, it’s actually quite small, relatively speaking.
The walks covered in this book vary and what surprised me was instead of walks being hundred of kilometres long, the majority of walks are around the 5-25 km mark with the odd long walk ranging up to 60+ km. So in this respect it’s similar to many Australian based guidebooks and discusses hikes that are suitable for all levels of hikers. Like other Cicerone guidebooks I have reviewed, the background information you need to get to Japan, to organise accommodation and to do the walks is all there.
While each book is unique, Ciccerone has a formula for their guidebooks that caters for the specifics of the walk. As part of the formula there isn’t an index which from my perspective is a shortcoming – I just find it easier to negotiate a book when I can go to a specific piece of information that doesn’t quite fit into a specific category. The second negative is the limited information on flora and fauna, but in all honesty to do this information justice, it would be likely to make this book excessively large.
I have Japan on my list of hiking at some stage in the future and this book is certainly an excellent resource for both planning and implementation.
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AUD $41.75 RRP
Map showing the areas covered within the book
Japan Alps and Mount Fuji front cover
The Japan Alps and Mount Fuji back cover
The Japan Alps and Mount Tsurugi-Dake Elevation map
The Japan Alps and Mount Fuji map page
Walk 7 – Mt Kiso-Koma-Ga-Take information, photo and map
This review was done with product provided for review by the publisher