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The Soul of Japan: The Book!

Back in 2008 I published my first book on Japanese  onsen.  At that time, and even still today I think, it still  has the largest compendium of just onsen in full color in the world in hardback form.  I think it’s 234 pages of  onsen that I have personally been to, yes, every single one.


At first I was reluctant about self publishing it, so I spoke to Yurindo, second largest bookstore chain in Japan, about the book.  After looking at it, within five minutes, I was told that they wanted to start selling it immediately without any reservations at all. 


I was given top priority over all of the books in this genre section.  Within weeks the book sold out, along with my sake & food pairing guide, which was a mini book -both did very well.  I was also advised to seek a large publisher, which I didn’t.  I told him that I was merely interested in turning this book into a coffee table book for restaurants or waiting rooms.  I have no interest in selling to a larger market.


The book, however, wasn’t without any minor flaws.  For one, it was too big and bulky and way over priced, that’s included the printing too.  The second was that not enough narration was written up about the onsen(s).  I did this intentionally because I believe that just the pictures alone is enough and that no amount of wording would or could make a difference.  The pictures themselves were beautiful enough.  I am not trying to sell the onsen experience.  It’s not a travel guide.


This book is skewed towards northern Japan with a sprinkling of some places in West Japan.  The purpose for writing this book was to showcase the natural beauty of Japan.  The idea of “just the onsen” is perfect within itself.   There are no other elements in this book, no imbibing, no friends, no lovers, just hard core onsen with scenery.


The book is fully registered with the Library of Congress, ISBN and Jan coded.  They are no longer officially for sale, though.  I am redoing the book because I have more pictures to add.   I have verifiable records of all the places these pictures were taken, including the hotels I stayed at.  


I do not, and will not sell through amazon.  I wrote this book for spiritual reasons, not for monetary gain. 



I plan to release a much lighter and more compact version this summer if all goes well, and hopefully through a Japanese printer service.  This also may include onsen from a few other countries I have visited also, like Eastern Europe and other parts of Asia.


  1. It looks like a beautiful accomplishment. Did you sell enough, then, to make money on the book and to cover costs of publishing the new edition?

  2. Thx RNS,

    The books were printed in San Francisco so the delivery charges were very high, plus the cost for printing.


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