Hidden Japan: An Astonishing World of Thatched Villages, Ancient Shrines and Primeval Forests

Tuttle. Sept. 2023. 256p. ISBN 9784805317518. pap. $15.99. TRAV
Environmentalist/travel writer/Japanese home restorer Kerr revisits touchstone sites in his ongoing journey to discover authentic Japan. Much of Kerr’s work focuses on degradation through modernization. These 10 essays were originally written in Japanese for his audience there, so non-Japanese readers may find location details a little cryptic. However, this is a travelogue and not a guide; Kerr is aware of the paradox in describing hidden worlds but discouraging visitation. Instead, he proposes a new travel philosophy: defining tourists more broadly as a larger community of a place, and in the case of this title, a community of people abroad who love Japan. The author cultivates this sense of connectedness by sharing his deep knowledge of everything from the commonplace (roofing, trade and pilgrimage routes, shrines, food) to the esoteric, such as Butoh dance, Shinto and Buddhism, tree heritage, and art collection.
VERDICT A title filled with fascinating, meandering cultural lessons. Great for casual readers and for fans of Japan, who will find a multidimensional lens for seeing the country up close and from the back door.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing