Walking the Kiso RoadPosted: April 5, 2016
Walking the Kiso Road: A Modern-Day Exploration of Old Japan
William Scott Wilson
Shambhala Publications (October 13, 2015), 288 pages
Kindle edition $9.99, Amazon paperback $12.16
The Kiso Road is an ancient travel route that runs through the middle of Japan. It is dotted with “post towns” that provide stopping points for travelers on the road. Wilson knows Japan very well, and has walked this road before. This book largely focuses on his most recent trek down the Kiso road, though he does offer flashbacks to previous journeys. He describes the inns and their owners, the shops and their shopkeepers, and the religious shrines and their guardians.
In addition, Wilson quotes from a nineteenth century Kiso Road guidebook, and quotes haiku from the masters of the form. He is literate in Japanese and often displays the poem in the original Japanese characters before providing the translation.
Walking the Kiso Road was a pleasant, highly enjoyable diversion.