Nakasendō Trail – The Kiso Road – Day 1 Nagoya to Ena

The Nakasendō, also called the Kisokaidō, was one of the five routes of the Edo period, and one of the two that connected Edo (now Tokyo) to Kyoto in Japan. There were 69 postal stations between Edo and Kyoto, crossing through Musashi, Kōzuke, Shinano, Mino and Ōmi provinces.

In late March we decided to walk this trail and signed up with Walk Japan for a 5-day guided walk on the Kiso Road starting from Nagoya and finishing in Matsumoto.

Day 1 – Nagoya to Ena

We flew from Malaysia to Haneda Airport, Tokyo and then took the airport limousine bus to Yokohama where we spent one night. The next day we travelled from Yokohama to Nagoya taking the incredible Shinkansen which took only 1 hour and 18 mins. By normal train this would have taken 4 hours!

The meeting point for the walk was Nagoya Station where our small group of 12 met with our guide Yuta Arai from Walk Japan. From here we took a local train to Ena where we would overnight prior to starting the walk the next morning.

Arriving in Ena we walked to our traditional local inn where we would spend the first night – the delightful ryokan, Ichikawa Inn.

We made a visit to the local museum to see some lovely examples of wood block printing and try it out for ourselves.

Our tatami mat room at the Ichikawa Inn was very spacious and the futon mattress very comfortable with lovely views out to the small, well tended garden with cherry blossom on the trees.

Before dinner we had our first onsen, or hot bath, experience before changing into our yukata for dinner.

The beautifully presented and tasty kaiseki traditional dinner at the inn was incredible and a great start to our trip. Over dinner the Walk Japan tour leader held a briefing to explain our itinerary and some basic rules and recommendations. At the close of the dinner the inn owners were introduced to us – they have had this inn for many generations.

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