This collection was published in 1959, nearly a decade before Kawabata would be the first Japanese to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. I would not necessarily call these 'short stories' but would probably call them novellas. I only say this because many Japanese short stories are 2 - 8 pages and are very concise and quick to read. These are more poetic and allow the reader time to adjust to the characters and settings. They are not as quickly gripping as a short story from, say, Murakami, but they have a depth to them that reminds me of Mishima and a few others. They average about 20 pages, some as long as 50, others around 10.
Some of the stories seem better than others, but they all kind of stand out. I really enjoyed 'Nature', it was simply marvelous. 'This Country, That Country' was another standout as was 'Chrysanthemum in the Rock'. Oh and knowing what a 'stupa' is really helps - it's a Buddhist burial 'heap' as it is literally translated, but often more of a mound like structure containing the ashes (and often other relics) of the deceased.
I've often had trouble really getting into his novels, though in the end I've felt rewarded, but Kawabata's short stories are magical. This is an amazing collection. And also check into his true short story collection: Palm-of-the-Hand Stories. The stories in this collection range from 1 to 4 pages and are amazing. Truly I feel Kawabata's strength was in the short story.