In collaboration with Microsoft and HarperCollins, Roads & Kingdoms—an independent media company backed by Anthony Bourdain—has reimagined the travel guide by inviting you to go beyond the pages of their new book, “Rice, Noodle, Fish: Deep Travels through Japan’s Food Culture,” with an immersive web experience built with the Microsoft Office apps: Sway and OneNote.
Get inspired with all seven robust digital travel collections, built using Sway, and get going with the OneNote city guides to customize and capture your story while on the ground in Japan—all available today, free at RoadsandKingdoms.com/Japan. We even included a Sway Collection titled “R&K Japan Guide: How to Use & the Basics” to help you fully appreciate these digital travel guides here.
First, experience the story of Japan with the inspiring Sway Collections that include beautiful photography and maps. Next, with the mobile OneNote app, import the collection of must-do sightseeing lists from Bourdain and other experts in Japan for the seven most important culinary regions of the country: Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hokkaido, Fukuoka, Hiroshima and Kanazawa/Noto Peninsula. While food and drink is the focus of the Sway guidebooks, we also deliver indispensable travel information that make this digital guide the only one you need if you’re traveling to Japan. Once you’re on the ground in Japan, document your own experiences while following our paths with the mobile OneNote app.
The Sway Collections and OneNote travel guides are all available for download today at RoadsandKingdoms.com/Japan.
How it started
The idea for the project began when HarperCollins and Bourdain sat down with Roads & Kingdoms co-founders Matt Goulding and Nathan Thornburgh to figure out how to reinvent one of the dustiest shelves of any bookstore—the travel guide section. Read their recounting of the birth of the idea here.
“The guidebook genre has long been in need of a reboot,” says Goulding. “We see the way forward as a two-part experience: a deep, narrative-driven book to give readers the inspiration they need to travel to Japan, plus a detail-rich digital guide to arm them with the information they need once they get there. Microsoft, with its variety of excellent digital platforms that fit perfectly into the food and travel space, is the perfect partner to bring that second part to life.”
The result is a transformation of the inspiration provided in the hardcover book to concrete information in the seven digital guides created using Sway and OneNote. “Rice, Noodle, Fish” is a literary narrative adventure through Japan, and the digital guides give travelers the chance to continue the story themselves. Even those who haven’t read “Rice, Noodle, Fish” will be inspired to create the trip of a lifetime using the more than 200 detailed reviews of restaurants, bars and hotels in each of the guides’ seven destinations: Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Kanazawa, Fukuoka and Hokkaido. All of the tools that travelers need—maps, pricing, reviews, photos, hotel options—have been written by Goulding and Roads & Kingdoms researchers on the ground in Japan and are included in the digital guides.
Bourdain even offered up his top picks for traveling and eating in Japan, along with his cinephile recommendations for the best movies to watch to get you prepared for the trip. There are additional original primers on the finer points of Japanese cuisine and etiquette from Bourdain and Roads & Kingdoms. Japan is a notably complex culture and destination. With the new digital guides, the traveler can not only eat where the locals know to eat, but can also navigate each meal with the ease and confidence of the locals themselves.
“At Roads & Kingdoms, we believe that when it comes to travel, people want a deeper, more fully fleshed out experience,” says Bourdain. “Ideally we’d like to provide the ability to hold a book in one’s hand, read at length about the places you’re thinking of going, the people you might encounter there, and the lesser known but fascinating aspects of the culture. We also want to add a digital guide: the hard information you’ll need to reproduce those carefully curated, personal experiences. Not just information but context. Not just what you need to know but a heartfelt argument for why you should know it. People are traveling differently, in ever-changing ways, and for very different reasons. We hope to be at the forefront of those changes.”
Take ramen as an example of the depth and breadth of the Sway guidebooks. There’s an entire digital guide to the iconic noodle soup in Fukuoka—the spiritual home of ramen, where more than 2,000 ramen shops ply their trade. Not only are there a series of recommendations for the best bowls in Fukuoka, the Sway travel guide includes a specialty map outlining the ultimate ramen crawl, an infographic on Japan’s regional ramen styles and a video clip from “Tampopo,” Japan’s most famous ramen film. This is the ultimate ramen digital guide in the palm of your hand, making it not just a vital collection of expert recommendations, but also an educational and entertainment tool. To set the bar as high as possible, Matt Goulding and his team in Japan and the U.S. wrote and edited the digital Japan guide from scratch. Interact with the example Fukuoka Sway guidebook below:
Swipe, tap, scroll and click to interact with the map, infographic, video and more in this ultimate Sway digital travel guide on ramen in Fukuoka. Experience the rest of these digital travel guides here.
Install the OneNote app on any device you’ll be using to plan your trip, so that when you download all seven city guides in OneNote, you have the best local in-app experience at OneNote.com (desktop and mobile). All seven OneNote travel notebooks are free to download and fully functional on all platforms, even offline. Once you have the OneNote travel notebooks, you can edit across devices or with friends simultaneously while connected to Wi-Fi. You can even allow friends to follow your journey from home by providing access to your OneNote notebook, so they can see your notes, photos and videos from your travels.
Once you have the OneNote mobile app installed on your device, download each guide:
Combine travel guides in OneNote
You can also combine all seven notebooks into one Japan travel notebook with sections from each guide. You can then open sections of the notebooks and then move or copy sections from one city’s notebook to another. On your desktop, just right-click in the notebook and then select Move or Copy. On your mobile device, select the Export icon on the top right of the screen to send or move the page to another notebook. Click anywhere within your OneNote travel notebook to add photos, sketch or draw or write notes to make the guide most useful for you.
Create your sightseeing to-do list for your trip
To create a sightseeing to-do list for your trip, click the To-Do tags at the top right of the Home section in the app’s navigation pane when using OneNote on your PC or Mac. We even added some examples at the bottom of the reviews in the Where to Eat, Where to Drink and Where to Sleep tabs. Check out our lists—including Anthony Bourdain’s top picks and his pre-trip movie recommendation list for inspiration—while planning your trip.
Use custom tags in your itinerary
Use the information in your OneNote guides to find hotels and then add custom tags to itinerary details in your notebook to easily search and find all your flight, hotel and reservation details within OneNote.
Being offline is not a worry
If you’re editing or adding to OneNote on your phone while offline, it will sync up next time you connect to Wi-Fi back at your hotel. You never have to worry about losing precious content.