"Unbeaten Tracks in Japan" is compiled of the letters she sent to her sister during her 7 months sojourn in Japan in 1878. Her travels there took her from Edo (now called Tokyo) through the interior - where she was often the first foreigner the locals had met - to Niigata, and from there to Aomori. There she crossed over to Yezo (Hokkaido), and her account on the life of the Ainu, an indigenous people of Japan, provides an interesting glimpse of days long past.
This classic travel book details Isabella Bird's 1878 trip, where she set out alone to explore the interior of Japan - a rarity not only because of Bird's sex but because the country was virtually unknown to Westerners. The Japan she describes is not the sentimental world of Madame Butterfly but a vibrant land of real people with a complex culture and hardscrabble lives.