TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

The Tokaido is a historic road which connects Kyoto to Edo (modern day Tokyo). Its name means “eastern sea route” and during the Edo era it was the most important road in Japan, as it connected the two great cities Kyoto (the former capital of Japan) with Edo (which became the capital in 1603). The route was used a lot by the feudal lords of Japan, travelling to and from their fiefdoms to the capital, as they were required to attend the court in Edo at regular intervals.
Along the Tokaido were 53 post-station towns which provided lodging, refreshment, and even souvenirs could be bought. The road was famous for its picturesque views, which were recorded in 1832 by the artist Hiroshige in a series of woodblock prints entitled “Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido”. It has also been immortalised in the haiku of Basho, one of Japan’s most celebrated poets.
Today, there are many historical remains of the old road and post-stations, and it has become popular to walk along the old path as people in ancient times did. This walking tour begins in Kyoto, and follows the old road, some parts by walking the old road, and some parts by private coach. We will also visit some other historical sites on the way, such as Lake Ashi, and Odawara Castle. This walking tour offers a truly unique way to visit Japan and understand its history at the same time.

TOUR ITINERARY

DAY 1|KYOTO TO NAGOYA, AICHI

A private coach will pick you up from your hotel in Kyoto, and take you to the starting location, Sanjo Ohashi, a bridge which historically marked the end-point of the journey from Edo to Kyoto.

Your guide will then take you on a walk (roughly 11km) along the Tokaido to Otsu, the 53rd post-station, and the last which travellers would have reached before Kyoto, a charming town built next to Lake Biwa.

From Otsu, a private coach will take to the 49th station, Tsuchiyama (located in the present-day city of Koka, Shiga prefecture).

Thereafter, partly walking, partly private coach, you will travel to Seki, the 47th station, roughly 17km. In Seki, many of the historical buildings have been preserved and the area has been designated as Important Preservation District.

Finally, you will be taken by private coach to the 40th station, Narumi, where a portion of the old town has also been preserved, and thereafter on to your hotel in Nagoya.

*Lunch: Japanese bento (packed lunch) will be provided and eaten en route.

 

Meal Breakfast Lunch Dinner Accommodation Nagoya

Accommodation Nagoya

DAY 2|NAGOYA TO HAMAMATSU, SHIZUOKA

Your private coach will drive you back to Narumi, the 40th station which you visited yesterday, and from there, your guide will take you on foot roughly 12km to the 39th station, Chiryu. In ancient times, Chiryu was famous for its horse market. This is why Hiroshige’s depiction of the 39th station features lots of horses tied to posts in a field.

From Chiryu, a private coach will take you to the 36th station, Akasaka, located in present-day Toyokawa, in Aichi prefecture. There is in Akasaka an inn that first opened in 1649, Ohashi, which still operates today.

From Akasaka, we will walk to the next station along the Tokaido, the 36th station, Goyu, which is only 2km away. The poet Basho wrote a haiku about Akasaka and Goyu, “By the summer moon, depart out from Goyu and reach Akasaka.” In the Edo era, the Shogun ordered that the part of the Tokaido near Goyu was lined with pine trees to offer shade to travellers. You will be able to see some of those pine trees on you walk, still standing tall today.

Your private coach will next take you to Shirasuka, the 32nd station, where there are still several buildings which remain intact from the Edo period.

Finally, your private coach will take you to your hotel.

*Lunch: Japanese bento (packed lunch) will be provided and eaten en route.

Meal Breakfast Lunch Dinner Accommodation Hamamatsu

Accommodation Hamamatsu

DAY 3|HAMAMATSU TO MISHIMA, SHIZUOKA

Your private coach will take you to Fukuroi, the 27th station (and therefore the middle station of the 53).

From here, you will walk to the next station along the Tokaido, Kakegawa, the 26th station, approximately 8km away. In Kakekawa, you will be able to visit Kakegawa Castle. You will be able to meet both ninja and samurai, who will also give you a tour of the castle, which features among other things a moat, secret floors, lots of weaponry, and fantastic views of the surrounding area. If the weather is good, you’ll be able to see Mount Fuji.

After Kakegawa, the group will head to the 16th station, Yui, by private coach. The Yui post-station has been partly restored, with an imposing tower in the station, and some historical displays.

After Yui, you will travel by private coach to the 13th station, Hara. This post-station is in current-day Numazu, and is right next to Mount Fuji. Hiroshige’s depiction of the post-station indeed features three small travellers walking in the foothills of the great Mount Fuji.

After Hara, your private coach will take you to the 11th station, Mishima. In Mishima, you will have the opportunity to visit the Mishima Grand Shrine, a very impressive Shinto shrine which dates back to the Heian era (10th century).

After you have had some time to explore the shrine and offer your respects, your private coach will take you to your hotel.

*Lunch: Japanese bento (packed lunch) will be provided and eaten en route.

Meal Breakfast Lunch Dinner Accommodation Mishima

Accommodation Mishima

DAY 4|MISHIMA TO HAKONE, KANAGAWA

Your private coach will take you back to Mishima station, and then your guide will walk with you to Hakone, the 10th station, approximately 14km. Once you arrive in Hakone, there is much to do. The Hakone checking point is a fully reconstructed checking point as would have existed in the Edo era. The buildings are free to explore, with historical explanations in each building. Near-by is the famous Hakone shrine, whose red torii gates are built on the shores of Lake Ashi, making it one of the most beautiful shrines in all of Japan. Do remember to bring your camera!

After you’ve had some time exploring Lake Ashi and the Hakone shrine, your private coach will take you back to your hotel.

*Lunch: Japanese bento (packed lunch) will be provided and eaten en route.

Meal Breakfast Lunch Dinner Accommodation Hakone

Accommodation Hakone

DAY 5|HAKONE TO NIHONBASHI, TOKYO

In the morning, you will partly by walking, and partly by private coach, follow the Tokaido from Hakone to Odawara, the 9th station. There, you will be able to visit Odawara Castle, a beautiful white castle sat in the middle of a park, with historical exhibits, and an exhibition deck at the top of the castle. The castle (which was destroyed in the Meiji era, and is therefore a restored castle) is designated as being amongst the 100 most beautiful castles in Japan.

Finally, your private coach will take you to Shinagawa, in Tokyo, formerly the 1st station on the Tokaido. At this point the tour will disband.

Then finally end of the route at Nihonbashi.

*Lunch: Japanese bento (packed lunch) will be provided and eaten en route.

Meal Breakfast Lunch Dinner

TOUR CODE
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