On the Nakasendō/Kiso-ji.

Walking the Nakasendō/Kiso-ji – Niekawa to Yabuhara

Another walk on the Nakasendō/Kiso-ji. Starting at Niekawa Station (贄川) — where I finished last time — I passed through Kiso-Hirasawa (木曽平沢), Narai (奈良井), and then over the Torii Pass (鳥居峠) to Yabuhara (藪原). It wasn’t a long walk, around 15kms in all, but the mountain pass, at just over 1000m, made it more challenging.

  • The view near Niekwa Station on the Nakasendō/Kiso-ji.
  • On the Nakasendō/Kiso-ji.
  • On the Nakasendō/Kiso-ji.
  • On the Nakasendō/Kiso-ji.
  • Remnants of not so long ago. On the Nakasendō/Kiso-ji.
  • On the Nakasendō/Kiso-ji.
  • On the Nakasendō/Kiso-ji.
  • Narai-juku on the Nakasendō/Kiso-ji.

I wonder if I should have waited another month before doing this, though? The lack of colour as this part of Nagano slowly emerges from winter made photography difficult and there’s no doubt that walking while spring is in bloom would be more pleasing. The light, too, was harsh and unforgiving. That’s one up vote for re-walking, perhaps multiple times, and looking more closely. Speaking of looking more closely. Wonderful as always.

In all honesty though, I’m struggling to find a photographic voice again. This always happens and now as I’m doing more walking, on roads that many others have already walked, I find myself struggling to take anything original.

  • On the Nakasendō/Kiso-ji.
  • Ontake Shrine at the top of Torii Pass on the Nakasendō/Kiso-ji.
  • Nakasendo: Niekawa - Yabuhara
  • Abandoned tyres (of all things!) on the Nakasendō/Kiso-ji.
  • Abandoned truck on the Nakasendō/Kiso-ji.
  • On the Nakasendō/Kiso-ji.
  • Self portrait on the Nakasendō/Kiso-ji.

There should be ample opportunity to get decent photographs, but the constraints of family combined with the gradual gentrification of, well, everywhere, makes it more difficult still. Even the traditional post towns tend to be repetitive and alike — tourist theme parks for tourists that no longer visit.

But these are all excuses. Put in the time and good things will happen eventually.

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Based in Japan since 2001 I spend free days adventuring into the mountainous regions of central Honshu and occasionally Hokkaido. In 2021, I plan to slow down and talk to more people. Feel free to email me.