Hiking Through 17th Century Japan

It’s a romantic notion, to be immersed in Japan:

It’s a romantic notion, to be immersed in Japan:

  • Thousand year old paths that wander through hills and small villages.
  • One of the most stable democracies in the world,
  • Crime is almost nonexistent,
  • Chefs want to die there…best food in the world,
  • Yamato Culture: 2500 Years

People I know love to hike well maintained trails, does Japan have them?  The pictures I see say “yes.”

What are the best multi-day hikes in the world?

These are among the quests of the Western World.  The Latin world.  These are either World Heritage sites, or pass through them.  These are the places my friends and I talk about.  Europe is accessible because everyone there speaks English.  It’s the land of our fathers and their fathers. It is essentially the same for Latin America, due to its proximity to the U.S.

But what about Japan?

Japan has mountains, the Japanese Alps.  Some of the best skiing in the world.  And a rich heritage, a 2500 year old culture.  Japanese unique language, its closest relative is Korean.

I spent the fall taking Japanese 101 at the local community college.  Its the toughest class I’ve ever taken.   After taking this class, I have a working vocabulary of about 100 words… far from conversational.

Yes, the Language is perceived as a barrier to Japan.  Is it?

I’m going to find out.  I am headed to Japan to hike the 1000 year old trails.  To see what is there, gather information and share it.  Here are some of the places I will visit:

  • Nakasendo.  The old road between Kyoto and Tokyo, 534 km.  There were originally 69 Post Towns, some of which still exist with the Edo period architecture.  Along with connecting 700 year old paths.
  • Kumano Kodo.  The 1000 year old pilgrimage to the SanZen, or the three great shrines of Buddhism in Japan.  On the Kii Peninsula and the Wakayama Prefecture, also featuring some of the most remote parts of Japan.  Also represented on the World Heritage list of Cultural Pilgrimage Sites.
  • Shikoku Pilgrimage.  Over 1200 kilometers around the island of Shikoku, a pilgrimage to the 88 traditional temples of the Shingon Sect of Zen Buddhism.

These are the places I will hike.  I plan to visit Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Tokyo and anything else that time allows for…


Author: Cultural Explorer

Multi-Day Thru-Hiker. Cultural Explorer. Traveler of thousand-year old trails. Cool forests of Japan, South America, North America and Europe. The East and the West.

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