Sunday, 30 August 2009

I Have XXX Days, What Would You Recommend?

I have XXX days, what would you recommend?
So I've been asked, several times, by people who came across this blog, who wish to explore the Nakasendo but have no desire or opportunity to complete the entire route.

In my opinion, the Kiso Valley stretch (Shiojiri - Nakatsugawa) is easily the most scenic. The forbidding terrain saved the region from over-development. Craggy peaks, the cobalt blue Kiso River, quaint towns and ample tourist facilities (its a popular spot for domestic tourism), the region has plenty going for it. I took 2 days to cross the valley, though I would not recommend anyone do the same. Take your time, give it 3 to 4 days at least.

If you are really short on time, I would recommend Tsumago and Magome, at the Nakatsugawa-end of the valley, they are the two most well-preserved post stations along the Nakasendo. The 2-hour trek between the two is easy and a real joy. An easy day trip.

If walking is not your thing, you can visit the more interest towns and cities along or near the Nakasendo easily by rail. My personal favourites...

10 comments:

  1. hello, i found your blog few days ago while looking up on reads on nakasendo. i realize they were written 5 years ago. after reading all your post (i read 98.9% of your entries - a literary version of the Naka, almost :-), i wanted to let you know i enjoyed them tremendously and...this a compliment btw, i fell in love with your writing more than the Nakasendo. You really should consider making a living out of travel writing, or at the very least, write on free-lance! Now I am rethinking my desire to walk the trail with my sister, at least not in the way you walked it. we're both untrained and inexperienced. BUT i would love to read your diaries on your other travel adventures, especially on Korea. Do you write about them like you do the Naka? If so, where can i find them?
    Lastly, your mind-numbing frustration and deep sense of meaninglessness over the sameness of the ordinary everyday life of work-home-family-church resonated with me. Are you an intp btw? You sounded somewhat like one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello rk. Thank you for your comment. :)

      Had other adventures since but I had not found the time to journal it as I have this. It was definitely an experience. I hope it will be too for you and your sister. The Nakasendo is largely flat and Japan is very travel-friendly,

      Never did the Seoul-Busan walk. Might do so this autumn. Am much more fulfilled now than I was 5 years ago. Found my place in life doing what I love for a living. Am working as a scientist in Germany now. Not sure if I am an intp, its been years since I did the Myers-Briggs test.

      Do you blog?

      Delete
    2. Hello yeowatzup
      I hope this works... I have spent the past couple of days reading through your posts while on the Nakasendo Way. I too am dreaming of doing this later in the year and I am finding it difficult to find pertinent, helpful information about this route. I will be a first time visitor to Japan and wish to travel by foot - seeing the world this way seems so much more exciting to me. Would I be able to ask you please, how can I get more information/maps on the route one takes from Kyoto to Tokyo? Is it a specific path or does one follow the vehicular road in most cases? I would be so very happy if you could help me please, my home email is abaggio@mac.com and if you could, please email me there.
      Thank you so much. My knid regards,
      Aaron

      Delete
  2. i think i gonna try nakasendo next year

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi,
    My partner and I discovered the Nakasendo recently and we're thinking of doing it for our honeymoon. We want to do it solo though and I wonder if it's possible to talk the Nakasendo without booking accommodation? Did you find you needed to book or can you just turn up in a town? We wanted to take our time with it and just see where it takes us. This may be stressful but we find you discover more things this way. I would be so grateful for you thoughts, although I'm sure you are asked questions like this all the time!

    Thanks,
    Fiona

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you take care to end your walk each day at a sizable town or city you will have no trouble finding accommodation. There has not been an instance where I was turned away because the B&B or hotel is full. Good luck and congratulations on your marriage! :)

      Delete
  4. Hi there, I hope you're still active on this blog! I'm hoping to do this walk solo in December, and I was wondering if you could share a precise walking map that you used to navigate during your walk? The overall route on Google Maps is not that helpful (unless thats how you navigated).

    Thanks a lot. Hello from Singapore too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is exactly how I navigated. There are detailed maps available from any decent bookstore in Japan but they are of course only in Japanese.

      Delete
  5. Hello, I've enjoyed reading about your walk on the Nakasendo Way. My husband and I want to walk part of it (I like your idea of doing 3-4 days through the Kiso Valley). At the risk of sounding redundant to other commenters, I'm a bit concerned about following the trail, needing a good map, etc. We speak a little Japanese, but don't really want to get totally lost either. Would you say that this stretch of the trail is easily navigable? Is it signed occasionally? Thank you for any advice.
    Joan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kiso Valley is incredibly easy to navigate even without a map. It is really a straight valley. It does not branch anywhere.

      Delete