Hiro Arikawa won the tenth annual Dengeki Novel Prize for new writers for Shio no Machi: Wish on My Precious in 2003, and the book was published the following year. It was praised for its love story between a heroine and hero divided by age and social status, and for its depiction of military structures. Although she is a light novelist, her books from her second work onwards have been published as hardbacks alongside more literary works with Arikawa receiving special treatment in this respect from her publisher, MediaWorks. Shio no Machi was also later published in hardback. Her 2006 light novel Toshokan Sensō (The Library War) was named as Hon no Zasshi's number one for entertainment for the first half of 2006, and came fifth in the Honya Taishō for that year, competing against ordinary novels.
She often writes about the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) and her first three novels concerning its three branches are known as the Jieitai Sanbusaku (The SDF Trilogy); she also wrote about the fictional Library Forces in the Toshokan Sensō series. Raintree no Kuni, which first appeared as a book within a book in Toshokan Nairan was later published by Arikawa as a spin-off with another publisher.