Boutique city guides are all the rage these days, promising an eclectic overview of popular destinations without the headache of trying to be comprehensive. À La Carte produces a range of hand-drawn maps printed on heavy-duty paper, accompanied by basic touring info and tips from the locals. My Tokyo À La Carte makes the city’s spaghetti road map look deceptively simple, but doesn’t skimp on the essential details. The recommendations range beyond the obvious (dirt-cheap beers at Imanari in Shimokitazawa, an onsen dip at Takaido), although you might want to check the À La Carte website for updates (“Montoak is not so hip anymore,” reveals one, with admirable candor). There are a few inspired touches, such as the guides to onigiri fillings and using the remote control at karaoke. You can also get a customizable version, which comes with stickers and ample space to scribble in your own recommendations.
Available for €8.90 at www.alacartemaps.com