The original plan was to walk to Mitake with my daughter, but with the route covering more than 20 kilometres, as well as moderate spring summer heat meant I chose instead to walk solo and meet up with her and my wife at a friend’s house for a wonderful sansai (山菜) lunch. In hindsight it was the right thing to do – it would have been too much for myself and my daughter.
This section of the Nakansedō was straightforward on roads that I’d cycled on before – either on my road bike through tiny Gifu hamlets or on my mountain bike along the forest paths.
All in all it was a mixed bag.
The destination though has left me geographically in limbo. Finishing roughly 6 kilometres east of Mitake station and more than 12 kilometres to the north of Toki means getting to the start point next time won’t be as easy as catching a train and simply starting. Instead the plan will be to wait until my wife visits her friends again where I’ll be able to hitch a lift and continue on walking west. No sansai lunch then.
If I’m honest though I’m in two minds about continuing. The roads are familiar and I know that as the mountains get left behind they’ll be replaced with the Gifu plains and the concrete urbanization that the Pacific coast of Japan is infamous for. In short it means walking side by side with cars for the majority of the day.
There is potential, of course, for some interesting discoveries in urban areas but I might just walk the final 6 kilometres to Mitake with my daughter then call it a day. The alternative, which I like the idea of, would be to walk it all again with more intent over shorter distances and really slowing down.
Let’s wait and see.
You can see an interactive map of the whole walk from Shiojiri to Mitake here.