It’s been a long time since I walked a section of the Nakasendo (中山道). Back then it was the mountainous trail between Magome (馬籠宿) and Tsumago (妻籠宿), an insanely popular section for both Japanese and foreign tourists.
On this occasion the Nakasendo walk was from Kiso Fukushima (木曽福島) to Agematsu (上松). Nothing crazy as I’d be doing the walk with ten kilograms + backpack of baby girl on my back and a wife that likes to keep the adventures more relaxed than I do. Kiso Fukushima to Agematsu was perfect. Eight kilometres in total – no major climbs, and mostly, but not always, avoiding the monstrosity of Route 19. Two hours tops. That was the plan.
We stayed in a friend’s family home which meant we were only minutes away from Agematsu station enabling us to catch an early train to Kiso Fukushima and then walk back early morning. In hindsight we probably left too early as the trail wad void of both locals and hikers, just a few stray cats scattered in the shadows.
Despite the lack of people it was a pleasant morning. Crisp temperatures, a quiet mountainous environment and a stillness in the air that made for a welcome break compared to the daily assault on the senses that living in and around Nagoya entails.
Bite-sized walks are nice and although I’ve never had any desire to walk the full Nakasendo I could see myself lazily strolling through the western section, taking in the Kiso Valley and the area east of Mitake over the coming years.
Getting to Agematsu or Kiso Fukushima from Nagoya is easy. Just hop on the Shinano from Nagoya station, or if you’re on a budget catch a local JR Chuo line train from Nagoya to Nakatsugawa and change there to another local train to complete the journey.
*I think it’s actually the Nakasendō with an ō but all the signs I saw say otherwise.
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