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Walking in Hakone Hachi-Ri

The Hakone Old Highway, commonly known as "Hakone Hachi-Ri". Two travelers walked along this road, which gives a sense of old Japan.
  • Photograph:Nathalie Cantacuzino / James Koji Hunt / HERENESS
  • Text:HERENESS

The Hakone Old Highway, commonly known as "Hakone Hachi-Ri," is part of the Tokaido Highway, one of the five highways established at the beginning of the Edo period. It is a section of the Tokaido Highway connecting Tokyo and Kyoto, and stretches 8 ri (about 32 km) from Odawara-juku to Mishuku-juku. Two travelers walked along this road, which gives a sense of old Japan.

In the 24 solar terms, it is the time of "Shousho". The cicadas begin to be heard, the end of the rainy season is near, and signs of summer are approaching. Today is the seventh evening, a fine day in between the rainy season. The greens of early summer were lush and dazzling, and the shade of the trees on the trail felt like early summer in the breeze.

The Hakone Old Highway, commonly known as "Hakone Hachi-Ri," is part of the Tokaido Highway, one of the five highways established at the beginning of the Edo period. It is a section of the Tokaido Highway connecting Tokyo and Kyoto, and stretches 8 ri (about 32 km) from Odawara-juku to Mishuku-juku. Two travelers walked this road, which gives a sense of old Japan. Starting from Odawara Castle Town, the gateway to Hakone, they headed for the shores of Lake Ashinoko.


Photo:HERENESS

Natalie and James, who are traveling this time, met at the same place of work and have a lot in common. They each enjoy active hobbies and love photography. They are the same age and coincidentally even share the same month and day of birth (!). They are the same age and coincidentally even share the same month and date of birth! Walking along an ancient Japanese road, the two of them clicked their shutters at the moment they were drawn to each other.

The journey begins in Odawara Castle Town. Although few structures from before the Taisho era (1912-1926) remain due to the extensive damage caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake, the town is rich in history, with the town layout and topography of the castle town period and the aspect of a castle town, which is rare in Japan. The town also flourished as a seafood processing town overlooking the fishing port of Sagami Bay, and the atmosphere of a fisherman's town can still be seen in the old Kamaboko Street area.


 
(上)Photo:Nathalie (下)Photo:HERENESS

Before leaving, we stopped by Kagosei Honten, where you can take out freshly made deep-fried fish paste. Natalie and James bite into a piece of edamame and a piece of molokoshi, respectively, at the front of the store. After a quick snack, we headed for Mt.

Photo:James

Natalie, a photographer, model, and other multifaceted artist, hails from Stockholm, Sweden. She takes long walks on a daily basis as a way to refresh herself. On her days off, she enjoys trekking and mountain climbing in search of nature. In Sweden, where there are no high mountains, trekking on flat paths was the norm.

​「In Sweden, from the age of about 6, they have trekking classes at school and teach you the rules of the forest. If you get lost, you know how to find your way back to where you are. I remember that if you get lost, the first thing to do is to look for ants' nests. Ants always build their nests in the shade of trees, on the south side, so they know which direction to go. I was taught that kind of knowledge, and we also had the custom of picking mushrooms and berries while walking.( Natalie)」

Photo:James

One of her favorite things about climbing in Japan is to cook a simple meal together at the top and share the meal. This is Natalie's motivation, as she seems to be a food lover.

「Everyone makes something different and everyone shares. Someone makes coffee or something. I tend to make rice dishes, salads, and cakes. It tastes really good, because your body is tired and the air on top of the mountain is completely different.Natalie



Photo:HERENESS

The two reached the stone pavement of the old highway through Hakone Mountain. Shiromizuzaka" where the stone pavement maintained in the Edo period still exists, is more reminiscent of those days, and the thoughts of the travelers can be felt. The reason why the cobblestones are difficult to walk on is said to be because they were made bumpy in order to block the march to Edo (now Tokyo).

Photo:Nathalie

James lived in Berlin before moving to Tokyo five years ago. After working as a barista in a coffee shop, he now works in branding. He is usually a genuine cyclist. He rides more than 150 km a week to work and on weekend excursions.

「I also like long trips. For touring, I went from Tokyo to Sado Island last year. In Europe, I went from Berlin to Copenhagen and from Berlin to Venice through the Alps. Each trip lasted about a week. I wondered how far I could go with just my body. In Europe, I once passed through three countries in one day. ...... I was very happy and satisfied that I was able to accomplish this with just my body and bicycle.(James)」



Photo:Nathalie

「It's like being an old timer, using your own body to get there.(Natalie)」

「That's right. With a car, you have to think about finding a parking lot, getting gas, etc. With a bicycle, you can go anywhere you want. I like the freedom of being able to go at my own pace. I have also suddenly thought that it would be interesting to have a relationship with food. As Natalie mentioned earlier, the food tastes better, and I really feel that the food I eat gives me energy. I don't really think about it in town, but when I am touring, I feel that this meal is nourishment to keep my body moving.(James)」

Photo:HERENESS

After passing the seven bends, we are almost at the end of the mountain pass. On the way, we stop at the long-established teahouse "Amazake Cha-ya," which has been in business for more than 400 years and is still a place where hikers can rest and heal. We take a rest with cold amazake and chikqaramochi (rice cake).

Photo:Nathalie

The DRY WOOL T-SHIRT (UNISEX) worn by Natalie and James is a new product from HERENESS. They both said, "It dries very well!

"It's so hot today that I got sweaty right away, but it dries very quickly! I also like that it is designed to be worn as everyday clothes. When I choose clothes, the first thing I look at is the design. I like simple, basic designs. Next is fabric and functionality. Then I guess it's whether it fits my body or not. On long bike rides, I like to keep my luggage to a minimum, so I only carry a couple of T-shirts and a change of clothes. In that sense, wool is also good because I can wear it for a long time.(James)"

"It's dry and light. It's great for long walks like today. I wear a lot of black clothes when I shoot, so I think it's important to be able to move around easily. It looks sturdy and would be good for travel and business trips.(Natalie)"

The greatest feature of "DRY WOOL T-SHIRT (UNISEX)" is that it can be worn comfortably for a long time. You can continue to wear it comfortably for a long time, even when traveling, without worrying about the smell. And because they are durable, they can be worn over and over again for a long time. The blend of wool, a natural fiber with a pleasant texture, temperature control and odor control functions, and polyester, which dries quickly and is durable, makes the "LONG" in two ways possible.

Photo:HERENESS
A row of cedar trees planted in the early Edo period, over 300 years old, still remain.

Passing through the "cedar trees of Hakone Yado," we came in sight of our destination, Lake Ashinoko. If you go to the north side of the lake, you will find that the lakeside is calm and anglers are quietly casting their lines.

Photo:Nathalie

The feeling of having made it this far on your own, the scenery that cannot be reached by car. It may take time, but the appeal of long hikes is that you can experience such joy, which is common to running, mountain climbing, and cycling. HERENESS clothing will continue to accompany the joy and curiosity of long journeys.

Well, summer will be here soon. Where will your next trip take you?

Photo:James


Model Wearing Item
James (178cm)
Top:DRY WOOL T-SHIRT(UNISEX) CAMEL BROWN / L Size
Bottom:SUGARCANE LONG PANTS(MEN) BLACK / M Size

Nathalie (167cm)
Top:DRY WOOL T-SHIRT(UNISEX) HEATHER GRAY / M Size
Bottom:SUGARCANE LONG PANTS(WOMEN) OLIVE GREEN / L Size
Hat:MODERATE HAT  NAVY / GRAY One Size