The Best Books By Haruki Murakami You Should Read

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami | © Pablo/Flickr
Laura Walkley

The world-renowned Japanese author Haruki Murakami is best known for his works of realist-come-absurdist fiction. For a writer of international appeal who by rights should be on everyone’s to-read list, the first question that comes to mind is always the hardest: So, where should we start?

Loved by over 40s
‘Norwegian Wood’

Norwegian Wood (1987)

The book that propelled Haruki Murakami to fame, Norwegian Wood follows the student years of Toru Watanabe and his experiences with two women. Set in Tokyo in the 1960s, the novel was a huge hit among students in the 1980s, as it saw one of the first depictions of student revolution, and inspired many with a passion for contemporary politics and social action. All in all, this one is both a compelling and revealing read, and a fine place to start a journey through Murakami’s works.

1Q84 (2009)

Perhaps the most widely read of all of Murakami’s works, 1Q84 reached the one million sales mark just one month after its publication. The title, a reference to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, introduces the theater of action: a fictional Tokyo in a fictional 1984. The book’s premise is based on the idea that a single action will change the entire path of an individual’s life, much in the same vein it did in, say, Tolstoy‘s Forged Coupon. In this case, it’s the life of protagonist Aomame. A compelling read ensues.


Kafka on The Shore (2002)

Kafka On The Shore, published in 2002, narrates two separate yet interrelated plots, interchanging between them with each paragraph or chapter. Like Murakami’s other novels, Kafka on the Shore blends pop culture, magical realism, and sexuality, albeit this time with a larger focus on Japanese religious traditions. There is also an overarching tendency to absurdity in this one, poking through with the protagonist’s prolonged conversations with cats and curious pseudo-nuclear goings on.

A Wild Sheep Chase (1982)

This mock detective novel has an unnamed protagonist; very unusual yet intriguing and typical of Murakami’s style. In truth, the device is there only to enhance the themes of Japanese cultural identity post World War II, sexuality and Japanese religious traditions that are present in the book. The third installment of the writer’s so-called Trilogy of the Rat, this parodic and animist narrative brings Murakami’s first famous franchise to an end with trademark magical realism.

Dance Dance Dance (1988)

For readers who enjoyed A Wild Sheep Chase, the sequel, Dance Dance Dance, is a must. Yes sir, what was apparently Murakami’s favorite book to write will likely be a favorite to read too. Dealing with themes of loss and abandonment, the novel indirectly includes many of Murakami’s real life experiences, which may be why the story is told so beautifully and compellingly, and is rarely forgotten once put down!

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.