Culture · Non-Fiction · travel

Kyoto: City of Zen by Judith Clancy

What is it about? 

This is a book for those interested in Japanese culture, art, gardening and architecture, rather than for someone looking for a guide to plan a trip to Japan’s cultural centre. Enhanced by Ben Simmons’ wonderful photography, Kyoto: City of Zen is a tour through one of the most treasured cities on Earth.

Is it any good?

This book is neither bad enough to be branded a ‘bad’ book (if there is such a thing), but nor is it good enough to be called a ‘good’ book. Whilst the text is comprehensive, it is also very dry – one might even call it tedious; if I wanted to read a high school text book, I would have bought one. Whilst the photographs are beautiful (they could be considered the book’s saving grace), they are ruined in places by the book’s poor formatting – pictures are made too small to see properly, or are distorted by being placed on the centre crease. This book is good for a casual flick through, or to read a quick page whilst you’re waiting to go out somewhere – it is a coffee table book, if a somewhat overpriced one.

Rating: 4.5/10

How long did it take to read: three days

For fans of: travel magazines, essays, Memoirs of a Geisha (which is set in Kyoto), Japanese gardening, architecture

This book tastes like: cold mashed potato

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