Microsoft Sway and OneNote help Road & Kingdoms create multimedia guided tour of Japan

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Microsoft Sway is a great tool for presenting stories using graphics and video, and OneNote is one of the best note-taking and organizational tools out there. It’s no surprise, then, that when Roads & Kingdoms wanted a set of tools to help them bring travel guides into the 21st century, they turned to Sway and OneNote to get it done.
In a joint project with the help of Microsoft and publisher HarperCollins, Roads & Kingdoms has produced a set of “digital travel collections” using Sway as the foundation, to go along with city guides built on OneNote. The tools are focused on the geography and culture of Japan, and take the concept of the travel guide to places it’s never been before.

Sway and OneNote help extend the travel guide to new dimensions.
Sway and OneNote help extend the travel guide to new dimensions.

According to Roads & Kingdoms founder Matt Goulding:

“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 guide allows travelers to create their own stories.
The guide allows travelers to create their own stories.

One example of how Sway can extend the paper travel guide is in how Roads & Kingdoms handles one culinary treat, ramen noodles:

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.

OneNote’s contribution is to provide the foundation for a personalized travel guide. You can download one of seven specific city guides as OneNote notebooks, and then mix and match information to create your own guided tour of Japan. Some of the things you can do include:

  • Combine travel guides
  • Create a custom sightseeing to-do list
  • Tag itinerary details
  • Access your customized OneNote guide even when offline

Of course, you can even use Sway to create your own multimedia trip down memory lane, and share it to friends and family.
The entire collection can be accessed and downloaded via, and the team also provides a helpful overview of how to best make use of the guide. Remember that you can download a free version of OneNote for just about any platform, as well access it online. Go to to get started.