Taking pocket-sized to whole new extremes. 

Much like the Lonely Planet travel guides are the go-to resource for English-speaking travellers, in Japan the Chikyu no Arukikata (“How to Walk the Earth”) series is the bible for international jetsetters.

Like the Lonely Planet books, these information-heavy guides can be weighty volumes to take overseas with you, so the smaller they can make them, the better. That’s why, when we heard that the Chikyu no Arukikata series had been miniaturised into teeny tiny palm-sized versions, we immediately set out to buy them. 

How to Walk the Earth: Paris and Surrounding Areas

The tiny books are the latest addition to Bandai’s “Mame Gasha Book” capsule toy series. “Mame”, which translates to “bean” in English, is often used to describe small, bean-sized things, and these “mame” books were even smaller than we thought they’d be when we finally got our hands, or fingers, on them!

Each one is about five centimetres (2 inches) long and 3.3 centimetres wide, which is about the same size as a matchbox, or slightly smaller.

Despite their tiny sizes, the contents of each book are authentically replicated, which was a fantastic surprise. The page above, for example, describes the Louvre Museum, in teeny tiny detail. These books may be small, but they’re big on information.

▼ Parisian sweets never looked more adorable!

▼ Each small volume contains over 120 pages, printed in full colour.

There are no dummy pages to pad the volumes out, so you could throw a bunch of these in your pocket and have all the information you need to walk the globe with just your wallet and the clothes you’re wearing.

▼ There are four travel guides to collect, covering Paris, New York, Hawaii and Tokyo.

▼ Shinjuku, the home of our news team, makes an appearance in the Tokyo edition.

The pamphlet that comes with each book states that the information printed inside the guides comes from the editions published between April and September 2020. It also says that “some parts are difficult to read due to the font size”, and they’re not wrong.

A lot of pages can be read by the naked eye, but some of the fine print can be hard to decipher. However, you can always use a magnifying glass or take a photo and zoom in on the image to read all the little details.

The tiny travel guides are beautifully made and fun to flick through, and are reasonably priced at 500 yen (US$3.65) each. The books went on sale at Bandai’s gasha capsule toy machines nationwide from July, so keep an eye out for them during your travels.

If you’re in the mood for more miniature tomes, you can stock up on these equally tiny Showa-era books as well!

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[ Read in Japanese ]