Since Oliver Statler's best-selling chronicle of the classic Japanese inn immortalized the "inn experience," seeking out a traditional resort has become one of the cherished goals of those visiting Japan. Like England's engaging B&Bs, the refined taverns of Japan constitute one of the world's great traditions of inn-keeping. The tan tatami rooms, the soft light filtering through shoji screens, the epicurean banquets, the impeccable service-all of these are elements that make a visit to one of Japan's classic inns a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Yet, unbelievable as it may seem, until now there has never been a guide devoted to these world-class purveyors of Japanese hospitality. The reason is simple: to visit and appraise the best from among thousands of contenders would require endless research and a seemingly bottomless pocketbook. But columnist, translator, and travel writer Margaret Price has managed to combine business with pleasure to bring us, after years of effort, the first such guidebook.
From the $1,000-a-night fantasy weekend retreats where visiting celebrities from Chaplin to Clapton have stayed, to the $40-a-night hidden gems run by a kimono-clad innkeeper, Ms. Price has culled the best from a vast field with a discerning eye. What each inn provides is atmosphere, exotic cuisine, and tasteful decorations(tm) n other words, a special inn experience as enchanting and memorable as anything Japan has to offer.