Japan: the old Nakasendo Way

Yesterday morning, we walked eight kilometres of the old Nakasendo Way or ‘mid-mountain road’ between two of the post stations, Magome and Tsumago.

We started out with light rain falling, dropping in to a tea house with light coming only from the fire place and the front entrance. One man serves tea and pickled vegetables to walkers for a small donation. Joanna Lumley also visited here in her travel series on Japan.

By the time we reached Tsumago, the rain was dumping from the sky. Refuge was sought in a soba noodle restaurant followed by a visit to Okuya, the “Waki-honjin” of Tsumago. Inns like this were resting places for daimyos travelling between Kyoto and Edo (now Tokyo).

We took the local bus back to Magome to pick up our car and set off for a two hour drive to Takayama. The afternoon had other plans as we ended up sitting in a tow truck to Ichinomiya to deliver a damaged vehicle back to the rental company. A car ran a red light and collected the front of our car. Long story short, we had a long wait in the rain, the local police sorted it all out, the other driver was apologetic and Toyota Rent-a-Car very kindly had a replacement car ready for us when the tow truck arrived. (We had fun with the police swapping translated questions on our smart phones).

We took the expressway straight to Takayama, arriving around 8.00 pm instead of four in the afternoon. Safe and sound and happy for a hot meal and dry shoes and socks.


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