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One of the many joys of visiting Japan is sipping sake and contemplating your existence, which is best done after walking the Nakasendo Way, a picturesque trail used by Imperial warriors.

The Nakasendo Way will take you on a physical and spiritual journey steeped in history through the mountainous Kiso region. In parts, the trail has scarcely changed in hundreds of years. The verdant valleys, tranquil forest paths, stunning mountain passes and restored post towns will capture your heart.

The route is quiet and calming. The forest sections are vibrantly green with lovely, elegant maple trees dappled amongst the pines. You’ll sometimes walk on sections of ishidatami, the original paving stones that were laid down over rough and slippery patches of road to help porters carry the nobility in palanquins.

Many other relics of the old highway remain, including frequent rows of stone guardian deities known as jizo, protectors of children and travellers.

Stay the night in wonderful ryokans – traditional atmospheric inns – and enjoy exquisite, elegant Japanese meals - a highlight of this trip.

Specialist walking tour operator RAW Travel has one place left (for a female walker) on its 8-day Nakasendo Way Group Trip departing 20 May 2019. This self-guided walk combines the freedom and flexibility of a self-guided trek with the support and company of other like-minded travellers.

● Daily distances: Moderate (12–25km).
● Access: Fly into the international airport at Nagoya (1½ hours from the start of the walk in Mitake) or fly into Tokyo and travel by train to Nagoya.
● More info: awtravel.com/tours/nakasendo-way-8-days-group-departures/

 

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