Saturday 10 June 2017

YA in Japan

(View from Kawagushi Shrine)

YA Set in Japan 

Hey lovely people!

 So while I was in Japan, I put together this post on all my favourite YA books that have a Japanese theme or setting. 

These are the same books that first seeded my desire to see Japan, then later became even more enjoyable when I started to recognise and relate to the words and culture now so familiar to me. 

I want to share these book with you today because each story is beautifully unique, and they all capture the real flavour of Japanese life. Everything from the culture, scenery, customs, food, etiquette… even the folklore. 

I hope you will enjoy these as much as I did. Now in no particular order, here they are:

The Ink Trilogy 

Amanda Sun

YA Fantasy - but with a modern-day setting!

I really enjoyed the imagination behind this book. The main character is western girl whose life is suddenly up-rooted to Japan and I found her reactions to be really relatable. She of course meets a gorgeous Japanese guy… but he has dark secrets and an even darker power…

You can find my review of the first book HERE

Shadows on the Moon 
 Barefoot on the Wind 

 Zoe Marriott

YA Fantasy/ Retelling

These books are simply beautifully and are re-tellings of the classic fairytales, Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. Given a Japanese twist, and set in a fantastical version of feudal Japan, they are a definite must read!

Find my reviews HERE and HERE

The Name of the Blade Trilogy 

Zoe Marriott

YA Fantasy with modern day setting!

Yes, Zoe Marriott gets a second mention because her books are just that awesome! And although this trilogy is actually set in London, the main character is of Japanese heritage and her adventures are something straight out of a manga. Another must read!

My Reviews for the first all three books are HERE and HERE and HERE

The Red Winter Trilogy

Marie Annette

YA Fantasy with modern day setting!

I only recently discovered this series, and am desperately waiting to get my hands on the last book. Its got everything! Romance, Demons, a heart-pounding plot and so much page-turning goodness!!

I’ve reviewed Book’s one and two HERE and HERE.

Tales of the Otori
 (Across the Nightingale Floor)

Lian Hearn

YA Fantasy

It’s been a few years since I’ve read this series (back in my pre-blog days) but there was a lot to like about it. In fact… I think its time I gave this one a re-read myself!

Chat to me!

Any that I’m missing? If you know of any more great Japanese themed books please shout them out to me in the comments. I’m always on the lookout for more - whether they be Middle Grade, YA, NA or Adult :)

Take care guys and happy reading!


  1. I haven't read a book set in Japan yet, and that's something I really need to rectify as soon as possible. This is a wonderful list; I'm definitely going to be looking into some of these and adding them to my TBR. :)

    ~ Aimal @ Bookshelves & Paperbacks

    1. Ah, I love books set in Japan. Such an amazing whirlwind of culture, food and magic... I hope you end up loving these books as much as I did!

  2. Such an amazing post! I love the look of all these books, and their covers are all stunning.
    I've heard so many excellent things about the Red Winter Trilogy - it looks fantastic. Hopefully I'll get to read them soon :)

    Thanks for the recs!

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

    1. The Red Winter Trilogy is completely epic, but Zoe Marriotts books are fab too - and a great way to ease into the Japanese culture since both Shadows on the Moon and Barefoot in the Wind can be read as stand alone :)

  3. I'm a massive Japanophile! <3 I spent a month there by myself last year in autumn and honestly it was one of the best times of my life! I've only read Shadows on the Moon so far, didn't even know there was a sequel! Thanks for the list. :)

    Cass @ Words on Paper

    1. You got to spend a whole MONTH in Japan! Ah I'm so jealous! I've been three times but only ever for 10days or so. A month there would be a dream. I you definitely need to check out Barefoot in the wind. Its not a sequel per-say, since it is a standalone but it is set in the same world as Shadows on the Moon. Happy reading!

  4. I've read 'Ink' and 'Barefoot on the Wind', and want to read pretty much everything else :D Do you read comics? If so you might like 'Wayward' by Jim Zub, which is a nice look at Japanese mythology.

    1. I've read a lot of manga, but not comics - However I'll definitely check it out! You had me sold at Japanese Mythology! Thanks for the recommendation! :)

  5. This is such an amazing post! After reading Red Winter I've definitely been in a Japan-mood and these all seem perfect, so thank you so much for the recommendations! I already knew about Zoe Marriott through you, and now I have even more to add to my TBR right now :) Thanks so much!

    1. Ha ha - you've made me feel guilty for adding even more books to your TBR pile - But I promise they are all worth the read! Hope you enjoy them all as much as I did!

  6. Sooo. Funny story. I just stopped by because I found a comment on my blog that you left me SIX MONTHS AGO that totally slipped through all the cracks. But this is me, returning your comment love!

    Then I see this post and had to come check it out because I recently read the Red Winter trilogy and I LOVED IT SO MUCH! SO I'm interested to see what else there is out there!

    The Ink Trilogy already sounds so interesting. I think I need to go add that to my TBR. Shadows on the Moon I"ve heard of but I must make sure it's on my TBR too!

    I've never heard of Tales of the Otori so I must check that out too!

    These are some great recs.

    I've also just recently read Flame in the Mist and while it didn't blow me away it was a pretty solid entry to Japanese YA Books and is a big enough one that a lot of people will have heard of it.

    1. I'm so Happy you enjoyed red winter - that trilogy is utterly amazing! And I will definitely be checking out Flame in the Mist - I've seen some mixed reviews of it floating around the blogosphere but I'm looking forward to seeing for myself what its all about :) Thanks for stopping by!