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Walking the Kiso Road: A Modern-Day Exploration of Old Japan

de William Scott Wilson

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473424,458 (3.56)9
"Step back into old Japan in this fascinating travelogue of the famous Kiso Road, an ancient route used by samurai and warlords, which remains much the same today as it did hundreds of years ago. Travel with William Scott Wilson, esteemed translator of samurai philosophy, along Japan's famous Kiso Road (Kisoji in Japanese), an ancient and historic route that runs from north to south through the Kiso Valley in the Japanese Alps. The road was officially established in 1602, but ancient records show that it has been in use since at least 701, probably by merchants and hunters. In the seventeenth century, the road was a route for the daimyo (warlords) to travel on their biennial trips--along with their samurai and porters--to the new capital of Edo (now Tokyo). The natural beauty of the route is renowned--and famously inspired a series of woodblock prints by the artist Hiroshige. Walking the Kiso Road is a window into old Japan, and Wilson shares its rich history and lore, literary and artistic significance, cuisine and architecture. Wilson is a delightful and expert guide. His storytelling ability; vast knowledge of Japanese history, literature, and culture; and warm and readable writing style make this a book that will be treasured as much by armchair travelers as by tourists"--… (mais)
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Exibindo 3 de 3
Read 2016. ( )
  sasameyuki | May 8, 2020 |
(I actually listened to the audiobook version, read by Brian Nishii - he is so good! His Japanese and Chinese pronunciations are perfect, and his English is melodious).

This is a wonderful book. Unlike many a Japan travel memoir written in English this is not couched as some kind of 'discovering myself in the mysterious and quirky land of Japan'. Rather it is written by someone who has visited Japan, and specifically this part of Japan, many times over the years. While peppered with quotations and the occasional deep thoughts about walking, travel and self, it is actually a mildly humorous, very entertaining travelogue of a walk through part of Japan that has deliberately retained many traditional features surrounded by natural beauty. We follow Wilson as he makes new friends and connects with old ones while walking most of the Kiso Road (occasionally blisters got the best of him). Whether you love Japan, or just like to share interesting travel stories, this is a book worth spending time with. ( )
  ForrestFamily | Mar 26, 2020 |
I won my copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway.

My sister studied Japanese in college, so I thought this book might be interesting and a good gift for her when I finished reading it. I think she'll enjoy it. This is a travel journal type of book, describing a walk along a very old road in Japan, sort of the equivalent of the Hadrian's Wall walk I've read books about in the past. I may never go to Japan, but I still enjoyed the imagery of this account. I think I would get more out of it if I was a tourist in Japan visiting the same places. The chapters provide walking times and distances for each leg and some idea of where one might stay at each stop. It sounds as if many of the traditional stops along this route are losing their last inns and may not be hospitable for hikers looking for lodgings, and the author did not provide any camping information. In fact I wondered at the author's camping skills, since he was so unprepared for treating his feet for blisters and he never camped during this adventure. Still, the route in this book seems like a great way to experience some of traditional Japan. ( )
  JBarringer | Dec 30, 2017 |
Exibindo 3 de 3
Many — some might say too many — travel writers build their books around a version of themselves. In spite of all the interesting places Paul Theroux visits, for example, the most memorable thing in most of his travel writing is “Paul Theroux.” William Scott Wilson, in “Walking the Kiso Road: A Modern-day Exploration of Old Japan,” takes a different approach . . . .
adicionado por dcozy | editarThe Japan Times, David Cozy (Mar 20, 2016)
 
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"Step back into old Japan in this fascinating travelogue of the famous Kiso Road, an ancient route used by samurai and warlords, which remains much the same today as it did hundreds of years ago. Travel with William Scott Wilson, esteemed translator of samurai philosophy, along Japan's famous Kiso Road (Kisoji in Japanese), an ancient and historic route that runs from north to south through the Kiso Valley in the Japanese Alps. The road was officially established in 1602, but ancient records show that it has been in use since at least 701, probably by merchants and hunters. In the seventeenth century, the road was a route for the daimyo (warlords) to travel on their biennial trips--along with their samurai and porters--to the new capital of Edo (now Tokyo). The natural beauty of the route is renowned--and famously inspired a series of woodblock prints by the artist Hiroshige. Walking the Kiso Road is a window into old Japan, and Wilson shares its rich history and lore, literary and artistic significance, cuisine and architecture. Wilson is a delightful and expert guide. His storytelling ability; vast knowledge of Japanese history, literature, and culture; and warm and readable writing style make this a book that will be treasured as much by armchair travelers as by tourists"--

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