Nakasendō Trail – The Kiso Road – Day 3 O-Tsumago to Kiso-Fukushima

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 3 – O-Tsumago to Kiso-Fukushima

Group photo outside Maruya Inn taken by our guide Yuta Arai

After a wonderful breakfast at the Maruya Inn in O-Tsumago we headed off along the trail and towards the centre of the town of O-Tsumago which is a beautifully maintained traditional post town.

We spent some time exploring this small town and once again I found a small coffee shop to satiate my coffee addiction. There was a unique doll shop and a food store selling freshly steamed pau. We visited the small local museum where the owner made a presentation to our group.

Heading on from O-Tsumago we later stopped at the beautiful small temple, Kabutokannon.

Further on we came to the small town of Nagiso where we saw a wonderful old steam train at SL Park and some cute Jizo statues with small knitted red caps. The primary role of Jizo is to protect children. Jizo also protects the souls of unborn babies and children who have died before their parents. In Japanese beliefs, the souls of children who died before their parents passed away, cannot cross the river to the afterlife.

We had a bento box lunch at Nagiso station and then caught a train to Kiso-Fukishima. From the Kiso-Fukushima station we then took a taxi up to the starting point of a trail over the Kaida Plateau on the old Hida Road trail that connected with the Nakasendo Trail. By this time it was raining so the trek up and over this pass was fairly miserable. There was however the beautiful Karasawanotaki Waterfall at the start of the trail to appreciate before we headed up over the steep pass. Trudging through the forest there was snow and ice lying in numerous places. At the top of the pass there was another Jizo statue complete with red knitted cap.

After descending at the other side of the pass we walked past the Kaida Farm horse stable and made a brief visit to see the wonderful small Kiso horses which reminded me very much of Icelandic ponies.

We then caught a bus back to Kiso-Fukushima and checked in to the Iwaya Inn for a much needed hot onsen bath prior to another wonderful dinner.

Passionate Photographer …. Lost in Asia

Stuart Taylor of HighlanderImages Photography has been making images for over 30 years and can offer a diverse range of photo imaging services with a focus on Asia and a documentary/photojournalistic style. These services include planning and executing a photo shoot on location but importantly all the post-processing and image preparation needed for the specific finished media format required by the customer. Stuart’s experience and knowledge in all of these aspects make HighlanderImages Photography a one-stop-shop for a comprehensive and professional image production service.

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