Writing guidebooks about Japanese Gardens

Since I started to explore all gardens and parks in and around Tokyo, I always dreamed to write a book about my tours and show uncommon sights.

With Real Japanese Gardens eBooks, this dream is now not so far away anymore, as I am finally able to write about my beloved gardens.
And I realized right after, that it is not as easy as I thought..
To write a blog and to write a guide book, which should sell, are two totally different things.
For the first time I had to think about what the readers really want to read, what pictures they might find interesting..
There are already a lot of books published about Japanese gardens. Every guide book for Japan has short introductions about the most famous gardens and when visiting one, one gets a free pamphlet with an overview of the garden and some scenic spots.
The goal was clear: I do not want to copy everything that has already been written. I want to introduce new sights of the garden.
I want to design a guidebook, which accompanies people around the typical route through the garden and explaining the things that can be seen and led the eye to unique features of the garden, which might be overlooked and combine the informations from all available media into one book.

So what are the steps I take when writing a new eBook?

When I did the research on Asakuka chosokan, there was almost only information in Japanese.


There is actually a lot of work behind one small book of 12 pages..

First of all I am checking our pictures in stock, reading our introduction, the pamphlets, official web pages in two languages and Wikipedia in three languages, to get a first image and writing down the outline dates and information.
Then I am starting to search for sources, which are not accessible for everyone that easy.
I’m browsing through Japanese Websites to get hints, searching through books in three languages and, if possible, I visit the garden one time during the writing process to take pictures and ask questions to the staff.
Normally, I have visited a garden I write about at least one time before starting the guidebook, to get the feeling it will give people who visit it.

When I have my notes together, I start writing the draft. If this is done, I will try to produce a better English as in the drafts and double check all information again. There is no chance I want to give false information! If you are able to read at least two different languages, you should once enjoy reading the same article at Wikipedia in different languages. You will be surprised how different the information can be!
When I need a break, I am selecting pictures I want to include in the book or searching for some on the internet we do not have in stock. Sometimes this is the hardest part, as I want specific pictures in the book, but have to find some with appropriate copyright allowance.

Finally I can start to bring everything in our book format.
Most of the time, I already know what I want to put into the boxes to the right, but sometimes the length gives me a hard time..
When all the editing and arrangements are done, I check if all the sentences are visible and the overall appearance of a page is ok.
And then.. It’s done!

And you can purchase a brand new garden guidebook by Real Japanese Gardens with all necessary information you will need when visiting a garden, and I hope, the one or other surprise about special features the garden offers.

Have a nice time reading and exploring!


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