Yedo and Peking
When Scottish botanist Robert Fortune (1812–80) travelled to Japan in 1860, shortly after it had reopened to foreign visitors for the first time in centuries, he found the islands to be both mysterious and dangerous. This work, first published in 1863, is Fortune's spirited account of his travels, from Nagasaki to Yedo (modern-day Tokyo) and then on to Peking (Beijing). Fortune had previously spent several years in China researching tea plants and tea-growing technology, which he later introduced to the plantations of India. (His books on his experiences in China are also reissued in the Cambridge Library Collection.) An engaging raconteur, Fortune includes here not only detailed horticultural information, but also his observations and opinions on Japan's 'strange people and their very beautiful land'. This remains for scholars and general readers an illuminating piece of travel writing, enhanced by the illustrations throughout.