In 1689 Matsuo Basho, Japan’s greatest poet, set out on his last and longest journey, to the remote northern provinces. His moving account, rich in strange and sometimes comic encounters along the road, is the most famous and much loved work in Japanese literature.Three hundred years later, inspired by Basho’s writing and her passion for Japan, Lesley Downer set off in his footsteps. Walking and hitchhiking towards the Sacred Mountains with their legendary hermit priests, meeting people who had never seen a Westerner and dining on flowers and sautéed grasshoppers, she discovered — a world which many Japanese believe vanished centuries ago.‘She is the perfect guide — expert, intrepid, following a dream’ - John Carey in The Sunday Times‘One of the principal charms of On The Narrow Road To The Deep North is that it deals with aspects of Japan which are quite outside any of our stereotyped assumptions … Downer has an instinctive insight into the way the Japanese think — a rare commodity which she uses with a marvellous delicacy of touch’ - Katie Hickman in The Literary Review Lesley Downer first went to Japan in 1978, and has lived there for a total of eight years. She writes on Japan for, amongst others, The Independent, The Sunday Times, Vogue, Tatler and Harpers & Queen, and is the author of Step By Step Japanese Cooking, which won the Glenfiddich award for Food Book of the Year 1986. She also co-authored The Economist Business Traveller’s Guide To Japan. On The Narrow Road To The Deep North was short-listed for the 1990 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award and has been made the subject of a Channel 4 film.