16 Books Set In Tokyo To Experience The City From Home

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Next up in my Japan book series is books set in Tokyo! I have a massive list for general books set in Japan but I’m trying to break that down into some shorter lists as well and this is one of them!

I’ve only read one from this list (Tune in Tokyo) but there are quite a few others I either have but haven’t read yet or would like to read.

As I read or find more I’ll update this list like usual. There is a prretty good variety of genres here I think including romance, contemporary, horror, mystery, and travel (memoir not guide).

Hopefully you’ll be able to find a book or two set in Tokyo on here to pick up (let me know which ones if you do!) and I would love to hear any I may have missed that you love!

  • If you want to listen to some of these, consider trying Audible! You can get your first month free (one free book) plus tons of others they have for free.  Get that Audible deal here.
  • If you’re on more of a budget, try Scribd!  You can get your first month free there. You can read books and listen to audiobooks. It is unlimited (especially the reading) but if you listen to tons of new audiobooks you may be restricted after a few. I don’t listen to enough to confirm this, but I do use Scribd myself and like it a lot. Sign up for Scribd here!
  • Shop my collection of bookish goodies on Etsy! These aren’t my shop items, but other shops I’ve curated into a book-themed collection. Shop my Etsy bookish goodies here!
  • If you want to read more on your Kindle but don’t want to buy books, Kindle Unlimited is a wonderful option. It’s $9.99 a month but if you read a lot and like to read more than just new releases, it could be worth it. Get Kindle Unlimited here!
  • Get $5 off of $25 from BookOutlet! This is a great place to find new books for pretty cheap. They also have sales quite a bit, so keep an eye out for those. I tend to check here for books I want if they’re more expensive other places. They don’t have everything but they do have a lot. Shop BookOutlet here!
  • Thrift Books has become my go-to when I’m looking for a book and want it cheap. It’s great if you like buying used books. With this you can get a free book after spending $30!
  • Shop my book lists here! You can find every book list I have on Bookshop.org (except my monthly round-ups) and I add everything I can but they occasionally won’t have some. I do occasionally add extras though. If any lists are empty, they’ll be filled in shortly! Shop my bookshop.org book lists here.

Tokyo Ever After

Being Japanese American means Izumi never really felt like she fit in in her mostly white small northern California town. It’s always be Izzy and her mom against the world but one day she discovers her father is the actual Crown Prince of Japan, which means she’s literally a princess.

Before she knows it she’s off to Japan to meet her father and see the country she always dreamed of, along with some conniving cousins, press, and a handsome bodyguard who may just be her soulmate.

Lost in Tokyo

Nineteen-year-old Erin hopes visiting Japan with her best friend Adam will be life changing. Her mother disappeared when she was four years old and the only hint to her whereabouts is a hand-written itinerary for a dream trip to Japan.

Just hours after landing they end up in bed together and as they visit places on her mother’s list she struggles with their new tension and trauma from her past.

Strange Weather In Tokyo

Tsukiko works in an office and lives alone and one night she happens to meet a former teacher at a bar. He’s retired, thirty years her senior, and likely a widower. As the seasons change, their relationship develops from casual to hesitantly intimate to love.

Lost in Tokyo: A Year of Sex, Sushi, and Suicide in the Real Japan

Garrett Wilson thought nothing could shock him after half a decade in Japan but then he got a job at a high school in downtown Tokyo. He got to see the real Japan here and it was more thrilling, heartbreaking, and beautiful than he imagined.

Tokyo Ueno Station

Kazu is dead now, but was born in Fukushima in 1933, the same year as the emperor. His life has been tied to the Imperial family by a series of coincidences and at every turn of modern Japanese history.

His life was also marked by bad luck and in death he is unable to rest and is doomed to haunt the park near Ueno Station where his life began and ended.

He started as a laborer in preparation for the 1964 Olympics and ended living in the vast homeless village in the park, traumatized by the 2011 tsunami destruction and shattered by the 2020 Olympic announcement.


This is the story of a young mother working in the suburbs of Tokyo placing boxed lunches who strangles her abusive husband and looks for help from a coworker to dispose of the body.

Masako soon realizes this killing is just the beginning of a dangerous foray into the violent underbelly of Japan.

This is a Japanese horror novel I’ve seen quite a few times and it’s on my TBR.


Yuriko and her unnamed sister exist at opposite ends of the prestigious Q High School for Girls in Tokyo, with Kauze Sato trying to fit in among them. Years later Yuriko and Kauze became prostitutes and were killed. Their stories are woven together within the conventions and restrictions of Japanese society.

I would like to read this one!

Tune in Tokyo

Tim needs to get away from his life in North Carolina so he decides to pack up and move to Japan to teach English.

These are his (mis)adventures stumbling his way through navigating life abroad in a new country.

This is the one Tokyo book I’ve read so far. It’s fun but not a favorite.

The Tokyo Zodiac Murders

Kiyoshi is an astrologer, fortune teller, and self-styled detective who has to solve a 40 year old murder mystery in just one week.

With the help of his illustrator friend, they set out to find who murdered the artist Umezawa, raped and killed his daughter, then chopped up the bodies of six others to create Azoth, the perfect woman.

It sounds like this might be an epistolary novel with maps, charts, and illustrations which makes me want to read this even more!

The Pachinko Girl

This is actually four books in the series all in one here. Smith is an American business man who spends his nights lingering in pachinko parlors where he meets Misa, a hostess working there. Soon he finds out she’s wrapped up in a web of gang–controlled operations and he gives her his winnings to help her change paths. Instead, it incriminates them in a false accusation of sex trade.

Tanaka is a director investigating the death of his idol filmmaker, Sergey Ribery, who happened to film Misa in his last work where she was seemingly strangled to death. He seeks help from a psychologist to untangle the web of characters but the doctor is later murdered.

People Who Eat Darkness

This true crime book takes us to the streets of Tokyo. Lucie Blackman stepped out in Tokyo in the summer of 2000 and disappeared, only for her dismembered remains to be found buried in a seaside cave the following winter.

Richard Lloyd Parry covered and followed the case closely. Over the following ten years he earned the trust of her friends, family, and detectives, and even gained unique access to Japan’s convoluted legal system to tell the story here.

I don’t usually read true crime books but I will definitely be reading this one.

The Tattoo Murder Case

Kinue Nomura survived World War II only to be murdered in Tokyo. Her severed limbs were found in a room locked from the inside, but her beautiful tattoos were gone.

Kenzo Matsushita is the young doctor who was the first to discover the crime scene. He feels compelled to help his detective brother with the case but what his brother doesn’t know is that Kinue was his lover.

Last Stop Tokyo

Starting a new life in Tokyo, 6000 miles from home, seems like the perfect way to make Alex’s life better. He is transfixed by the city which feels like an unsolvable puzzle.

Then he meets Naoko and the peace he sought slips even farther away. He’s about to learn there is no rock bottom, that things can always get worse.

I’m intrigued. I would really like to read this one!

Salvation of a Saint

Yoshitaka is about to leave his marriage when he dies from arsenic poisoning. His wife is the logical suspect but she was hundreds of miles away when it happened. Detective Kusanagi is smitten with her immediately and refuses to believe she could be responsible.

His assistant, however, is convinced she is guilty, but the facts don’t quite say so. She calls in Dr. Yukawa to help but even he is stymied. Now he must find a way to capture the murderer.

The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida

Miwako Sumida is a sophomore at university and she has left those around her reeling when she hangs herself. Leading to her death she was hiding away in a mountainside village.

Ryusei is a fellow student who had feelings for Miwako. After her death he convinces Chie, his best friend, to take him to the village where she spent her final days.

While he is gone, his older sister, who took Miwako on as an apprentice in her art studio, receives an unexpected guest at her Tokyo apartment, distractiing her from her fear that Miwako’s death may ruin what is left of her brother’s life.

Shinjuku Shark

The only person with the courage and connections to catch the serial cop killer in Shinjuku is The Shark.

If you want a Japanese crime novel that has a typical crime book feel, this sounds like a good choice.

Have you read any of these Tokyo books? Which ones? Are there any other books set in Tokyo I should check out?

Author: Megan Johnson

I'm Megan, a cheesehead at heart currently residing in the Sunshine State. You can probably find me reading, watching Forensic Files, or both.

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