5 Best Japanese Lifestyle Books in 2023

Books are extremely important to understand any culture because there are thousands of years of history and traditions explained in them.

For thousands of years, humans have learned from books and created them so that the coming generations can learn about their lifestyle and how they used to do different things.

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Today we would be looking at different books related to the Japanese lifestyle that would help you to understand Japanese culture in a better way.

japanese book in hand

1. WA: The Essence of Japanese Design by Stefania Piotti and Rossella Mennegazzo

It is a book in which the Japanese concept of “WA” is explained in detail. It is about finding harmony with the help of the community in a social manner.

The book tells the readers about placing individual needs below the collective needs and it explains the virtues of a true Japanese in detail. It is written by Stefania Piotti and there are 250 different photographs included in it as well.

These photographs visually represent the native culture and these include bento boxes, traditional teapots, calligraphy, sliding doors, kimonos, butterfly stools, etc.

The overall look and feel of the books are really aesthetic and are pleasing to the eyes of the reader.

There are various illustrations on the craft paper placed in a traditional manner that encapsulates traditional Japanese art in itself.

2. A Beginner’s Guide to Japan: Observations and Provocations by Pico Iyer

The writer of this book Pico Iyer spent 32 years in Japan before writing this book about the country and how a foreigner can make it his/her home.

This book is basically a recollection of personal anecdotes of how as a foreigner the writer dealt with different circumstances and adapted to the country’s culture after decades of struggle.

The writer conversed with a number of Japanese people to understand the culture in-depth so that it could be explained properly in book form.

It is an amazing piece of writing that would help you understand the Japanese lifestyle and culture thoroughly and you won’t regret reading it.

3. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

It is a New York Times bestseller and it looks at a cross-generational outlook of the Japan of the 20th century.

It is based on the experiences and observations of Korean immigrants and it captures the story of a young Korean lady who in the 1930s was impregnated by her lover and she gets into the circle of an ill minister.

The lady follows the minister to Japan leaving her life behind. It is a tale of a strong lady in a foreign land who finally makes peace with her decisions and takes another culture and country as her own.

An impactful story about the sacrifices of an immigrant and how the compassion of the Japanese woman made her feel secure and protected in a completely new place.

4. Rice Noodle Fish: Deep Travels Through Japan’s Food Culture by Matt Goulding

This is the Best Travel Book of the Year award winner as announced by the Society of American Travel Writers and it is definitely worth reading.

It is written by Matt Goulding who is also the co-founder of Roads & Kingdom. He has created an amazing guidebook depicting the true colors of Japanese culture.

Even if you know a little bit about Japan you would be stunned by the detail in which the writer has explained everything.

Every scenario in the book is written in a manner that you would feel it happening in front of your eyes and this is the actual beauty of this book.

The research and the attention to detail behind the magnificent work are mind-blowing as the writer has gone to extreme lengths to present a true picture to the readers.

You would get to know about ramen shops to okonomiyaki counters and from shokunin to culinary masters of Japan who have spent their entire lives mastering the art of a single dish.

Apart from the overall storytelling, there are amazing photos in the book as well that would make you fall in love with this brilliant effort.

5. Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

This book is written by none other than the great Banana Yoshimoto who is known as one of the best contemporary Japanese authors in the world.

The story revolves around an orphan who searches for the meaning of life after losing her grandmother tragically. She finds peace in the home of a classmate.

The affection of the mother of the classmate becomes the solace for her pain but the story takes a turn of tragedy the moment she finds herself regaining control of her life.

It is a story of love and grief, happiness and tears, struggle and failure. The interesting turns in the story make it all the more special.

It is a fictional story but the way the writer presented the Japanese culture and lifestyle in it even the non-fictional writing literature lovers would fall in love with it.


There are hundreds of thousands of books written on the Japanese lifestyle but we have chosen a few of them to give you the best of the choices.

These books are not just boring guidebooks or history books but the writers have used their storytelling art to depict the true colors of the culture interestingly.

As a reader, you won’t get bored reading any of these books and you would also be able to learn a lot about the country and its people.

This is the only reason why we have selected such a versatile collection of books including historical novels, culinary books, and fictional literature.

All the writers mentioned in this piece are extremely well-known and these books have already entertained millions of people.

You can buy any of these books and you would not regret this decision. Most of these books are available online as well so you can easily read them in PDF form.

If you want to increase your knowledge about Japan and the way people live their lives in this amazing country you have to give these literature treasures a chance.

You may also want to check the Japanese floor culture here.