Friday, 20 October 2017

It was ten years ago today...

Nihonbashi, 13 November 2007
Ten years ago today, on 20 October 2007, I flew out of Christchurch bound for Osaka to begin my first epic walk - the Nakasendo. Two days later I met up with my friend Erik in Kyoto and on 23 October the two of us set off on the first leg of our 22-day, 534-km hike to Tokyo.

We arrived in Nihonbashi in fading light on the evening of 13 November. I remember feeling a mixture of exhaustion, relief, fulfilment and joy. But I also felt sad. Sad that the walk, which I had been planning, writing about and thinking about for more than eight months, was over. There was only one thing to do. Plan the next one.

I have since completed four more epic walks in Japan, the latest back in May this year. Soon after returning to New Zealand I began thinking about my next adventure. And today I can announce I am in the middle of planning not one, but two more treks in Japan.

In May next year I intend to hike Route 16, the 241-km national highway that all but encircles Tokyo, from Yokosuka on the Miura Peninsula to Kisarazu on the opposite side of Tokyo Bay on the Boso Peninsula. Along the way I will pass through such scenic spots as Hachioji, Kawagoe, Saitama, Kashiwa and Chiba. I have set aside ten days for this journey.

Then, in October 2019, I will be teaming up with Erik again to do the Shikoku pilgrimage. At 1150 km, this will be by far the longest walk I have ever attempted. It will take us around a month and half to complete. I can hardly wait!

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