April, 2019 - The Nakasendo trail, developed during feudal times for use of the samurai, is a 332 mile mile rural route through the mountains linking Tokyo and Kyoto. By using the Bullet train we hiked only the most scenic sections of the trail. Lodging was in 400 year old Ryokans (small family run inns), where we slept on the floor on tatami mats and ate traditional local food.
This gallery shows some of the things seen in towns along the way: hand made combs and dinnerware, Shinto shrines and temples, prayer or wish cards filled out by temple visitors, free roaming deer in the town of Nara, and Jizo statues among the 200K gravesites in the Takayama cemetery. Jizo statues protect the spirits of children and are dressed in hats and bibs by local citizens in colder months. We shared this part of the journey with eight hikers from Australia, New Zealand, and England.