On the road that runs from Tokyo to Kyoto there is an old inn called Minaguchi-ya, ""the most Japanese place I know"" says the author. His eleven years in Japan, his love for the country, his continuing interest in Japanese prints on which he has made himself an authority combine to make one feel that in this book he has provided a somewhat unique contribution to better understanding....Okitsu is a real town; the Minaguchi-ya a real inn; there have been twenty generations of one family, reaching back to the 16th century, connected with its operation. How much of what Statler incorporates into its story is fact based on searching the half legendary history, how much resumption built on fact, how much word of mouth handed down through the family, and how much actual record from available sources seems to matter very little. That it has been integral to the country's history. That it has seen warriors come and go, the feudal regime fall into disuse, local feuds flare into national incidents, strangers -- the Portuguese, the Dutch, the Americans- put their impress on the country, all this is certainly a part of its storied history. But it is as social history that it impresses the reader, who is caught up in the magic of acceptance, of shared experience, of the charm of a symbolic mirror of Japan and the Japanese. Famous names mean more against the setting. And recurrently, the bemused reader finds sharing with the enchanted writer a sense of so it must have been, so it must be today.