A Beginner’s Guide to The Nakasendo Way.

Community Highlights Asia A Beginner’s Guide to The Nakasendo Way.


The Nakasendo Way (the central mountain route) was one of five main roads established by the shoguns of the Edo period and it has connected Tokyo to Kyoto since the early 1600s. Some sixty nine communities, known as post towns, sprang up along the 500 kilometre trail where traders and samurai could rest and be replenished with packhorses and porters as they travelled from place to place.
Much of the route is now paved highway, but remnants of the ancient path remain where it scales steep mountain passes and winds through pine and bamboo forests criss-crossed by scenic waterfalls and gurgling streams
Startled bears can be a danger in the forests, just as at home in Canada, so warning bells have been placed at intervals along the path and walkers loudly ring them as they pass…
However, while our feet may have trod the same cobblestones as shoguns and samurai, few of the post towns have survived in their original forms with the exception of a few in the beautiful valley of the river Kiso...
Towns such as Narai, Tsumago and Magome have numerous wooden buildings dating back more than two centuries, but many of these historic towns were virtually abandoned and the buildings left to rot until they were “re-discovered” and resurrected in the 1970s…
Now that the restored Nakasendo post towns are on the tourist maps they bustle with day visitors. But once the tour buses have left, and the knick-knack shops and ice-cream parlours closed for the night, the serene streets are left to the ghosts of samurai and shoguns and to those tourists who, like us, are walking ‘The Way’ and who are fortunate enough to stay in one of the centuries-old lodging houses known as ryokans…
We have experienced the most incredible hospitality in these traditional inns: the meals have been truly exceptional, (more later), the service unbelievable, the prices – beyond reasonable, and we were even entertained by our hosts. After six days of glorious weather, torrential rain hit in the night as typhoon Kammuri passed. And then the the sun returned. We are now headed to Kyoto on the legendary Shinkansen high speed train, but we will forever have wonderful memories of walking the Nakasendo Way.

This featured blog entry was written by Hawkson from the blog Blissful Adventures.
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By Hawkson

Posted Sat, Sep 27, 2014 | Japan | Comments