Tōkaidō – Walking West From Toyohashi

Well was there any point to that? Walking from Toyohashi to Meiden Nagasawa Station along the Tōkaidō seeing and chatting with no one along the way? Okay, that’s not strictly true, I did see people but they were mostly in cars. And when I did see somebody on the street they either looked too busy to chat or were on a busy road with cars and trucks roaring by. Parts of the walk were pleasant enough but the cars made enjoying even those sections hard work. I was expecting this though and actually chose it instead of walking the Nagoya section from Atsuta Shrine because I thought I’d have a quieter day. Ha!

Being alone with your thoughts is wonderful but if your thoughts are ‘why the hell are you doing this?’ set to repeat then is there any point? I could have spent time with my daughter in a park having a picnic or riding my mountain bike with her not alone in the middle of Aichi surrounded by bland urban sprawl.

  • A scrap metal yard on the Tōkaidō.

That said, I still want to complete the section of the Tōkaidō in and around Aichi, especially west of the Minami Alps as I dislike leaving things unfinished, but I’m not sure there’s much of a purpose to walking it in such short sections – half days here and there. I would need to be all in to get any real benefit and I no longer have that freedom. This time felt like I was half-heartedly scratching an itch that didn’t need scratching. This wasn’t how I felt walking the Kiso-ji/Nakasendō with its quieter roads, smaller villages and hamlets scattered between bigger towns, and its better scenery with occasional glimpses of the Alps. Maybe jumping back on the bicycle and riding the Tōkaidō instead is the answer? (It is the answer.) That would have been my default a few years ago – I’d see more in less time and be able to take multiple diversions and explore more.

The sticking point for me would be trying to slow down, something I’ve never been good at when riding. Maybe an oritatami bike mixed with train rides is the solution or as I mentioned in a previous post, bringing my daughter along, although I’m not sure she’d enjoy it.

But the main problem is actually having a destination to aim for. This time it was Motojuku Station although I eventually gave up one stop further west at Meiden Nagasawa after a meager 15 kilometers. When a destination is a goal that becomes my main objective and I single-mindedly go all out to get there instead of spending enough time looking around and enjoying where I am. That’s on me and I need to fix it.

But however frustrating the day was it beats sitting around on the sofa zoning out to YouTube junk. On the walk I saw a new part of Japan, got some exercise, and stretched my creative muscles with a bit of photography. I even walked across the actual Toyo Hashi (Toyo Bridge) which made me smile. That beats staying at home but it doesn’t beat the park and family. 

Have anything to say? Feel free to email me or leave a comment below. Perhaps subscribe to Restless, too?

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