Using local publications and web sites, and information from local residents and friends, Peter researched hundreds of hot springs, which are known as "onsens" in Japanese. Over a 15-month period, he visited more than 140 establishments catering for day visitors, and tried out most of the baths. He then compiled his top 100, based on a range of criteria, including setting, architecture, water quality, history, remoteness, or uniqueness.
Some hot springs are in hotels and inns that only allow overnight guests to use their onsen baths. In a bonus final chapter, Peter details five elegant accommodation establishments that provide an unforgettable overnight onsen experience.
"Nagano is less than two hours from Tokyo by train so it is very accessible for weekends or day trips," Peter says. "It has some of Japan’s best winter sports facilities and summer hiking, which can be complemented with onsen-hopping for relaxation and recuperation."
In addition to location maps, 100 high-quality color photographs and detailed English descriptions, the book includes the name of each establishment in Japanese, addresses and telephone numbers, entry prices, opening hours, directions by car and public transport, GPS coordinates, descriptions of the types of baths and water qualities, and information about other facilities provided such as restaurants, lockers, and vending machines. For the uninitiated, the book includes a guide to how to use a Japanese bath.
The book has been published on the Createspace Independent Publishing Platform at https://www.createspace.com/