Walking the Invisible Way
Walking the Old Nakasendo Trail
November 1st - 8th, 2023
Join David Whyte and Gayle Karen Whyte for this mountain and forest trail through the ancient landscapes and villages of central Japan, walking in the footsteps of Japan’s most famous poet: Basho. Our tour begins in Kyoto, followed by train into the mountains. Once on the trail we will stay at traditional Ryokan Inns, many times bathing in their hot springs by night and during the days, walking through the central Japanese countryside, past temples and shrines, remote forest paths and tiny hamlets.
David will work every day, in the Ryokan, or along the trails, with themes of the moment, with Gayle adding to the content and facilitation.
Five years ago, David and Gayle walked this trail and found it an absolute delight - witnessing the daily life of rural Japan, fascinated by the history and not a little overwhelmed by the beauty of the landscapes. The Ryokan all provide a very traditional experience, with really marvelous food, from simple to luxurious depending on the inn.
THE PARTICIPANTS. An eclectic, often international group of 18 fellow adventurers with a shared interest in David’s work and the culture of Japan.
ACCOMMODATIONS: THE TRADITIONAL RYOKAN. Upon entering your ryokan, the first thing you’ll do is remove your shoes in the indicated area and slip on the slippers that have been provided for you. Ryokans are typically much smaller than hotels. They’re often family run, and in many cases have been handed down generation to generation. Upon arrival you’ll be shown your yukatas (robes) – you’ll be wearing these comfortable robes for the duration of your stay. In keeping with tradition, all rooms are shared by two participants. Bathrooms are most often communal, but always segregated by gender.
THE WALKING & HIKING. You need to be able to walk three to six hours on mountain forest paths. One of the days involves sustained elevation gain.
A WORD ABOUT MEALS AND DIETARY RESTRICTIONS.
Breakfast and dinner are provided. You will purchase your picnic lunch at one of the wonderful locations along the way. Vegetarians can be accommodated; however, seafood is a major part of the diet in Japan. If you have severe food intolerances, this trip may not be a good fit for you.
AMENITIES. Wifi and cellular service are available on and off.
ARRIVAL. We will meet at a specified hotel in Kyoto at 4:00pm on November 1st.
DEPARTURE. On November 8th, we will take the train back to the main railway station in Tokyo, arriving at 5:00pm. This is the conclusion of the tour.
PASSPORT. Each participant needs a valid passport.
COST. Cost for the tour is $5900.
WHAT THE TRIP PRICE INCLUDES.
David and Gayle’s services as seminar leaders, plus two local guides. All accommodations for the nights of November 1st through November 7th, inclusive. Breakfasts and dinners beginning with dinner on November 1st and ending with breakfast on November 8th. All transport in country during the trip, from arrival in Kyoto November 1st to return to Tokyo November 8th.
NOT INCLUDED. Airfare. Lunches.
APPLICATION PROCESS AND PAYMENT. We do not accept participants on a first come, first served basis. Instead, we collect applications through January 15th, 2023, and notify you of the status of your application on January 31st, 2023. If you are accepted on the trip, the first payment of $2950 is due January 31st in order to secure your place. If you apply after January 15th, 2023, we will notify you of the status of your application within 30 days. The second and final payment of $2950 is due September 1st, 2023. Please note, we only accept payment via credit card.
CANCELLATION POLICY. If, after acceptance, you need to withdraw your application prior to September 1st, Many Rivers will retain $500 of your deposit. If you withdraw after September 1st, Many Rivers will issue you a refund, minus $500, only if we are able to fill your spot. If Many Rivers cancels the tour at any point, all accepted applicants will receive a full refund.
CURRENCY AND SPENDING MONEY. There are ATM machines here and there along the way, however, it is best to withdraw money for the entire trip in Kyoto. Please budget $30USD per day for lunch and snacks. Credit cards are accepted for larger purchases.
WE STRONGLY ADVISE THAT YOU COVER YOURSELF FOR BAGGAGE, ACCIDENT AND TRIP CANCELLATION INSURANCE.