How do you find an inn when you are walking along the old highway?

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食事のお供に新習慣 【糖脂リミット】

Securing a place to stay is one of the main concerns when walking along the highway

Highways connect cities almost in a straight line, so if you walk for a couple of days, you will end up tens of kilometers away. When this happens, it saves time to stay there rather than returning to your home each time.

Also, the farther the distance, the more cost-effective it is, as the cost of round-trip transportation will exceed the cost of accommodation.

Furthermore, there is a sense of fulfillment in knowing that you have walked a long distance on your own, without the help of civilization.

In other words, walking on the highway while staying overnight is beneficial in terms of time, money, and spirit, killing three birds with one stone.

However, is it easy to find a place to stay? You don’t want to stay out in the open in a strange land, do you?
Finding a place to stay is one of the biggest concerns when walking along the highway.

However, for the Tokaido Highway, I was able to secure a place to stay with little problem.

Consideration of where to stay

Needless to say, if you are good at planning and know the inn you want to stay at, it is better to make a reservation in advance.

I wanted to stay at Ohashiya in Tokaido Akasaka-juku, but when I called to make a reservation on the morning of the day, I was turned down because the inn was already fully booked. (Ohashiya went out of business in March 2015, so I won’t be able to stay there forever. It’s a shame.

However, when walking in the city, the distance you can walk in a day depends on your physical condition. Therefore, it is not possible to plan many days ahead.

After walking a couple of kilometers, I can usually tell how I’m feeling that day and how sore my feet are. If I thought I could walk about 40 kilometers, I would try to stay in a place within that range.

For a normal person who doesn’t usually walk, walking 40 kilometers in a day is quite a challenge. One kilometer at the beginning of the walk is one thing, and one kilometer after 10 kilometers is another. It becomes even more difficult if you are on a mountain path like Hakone. It is important to be on the safe side when estimating the distance you can walk.

Once you have determined the distance, open up the map and look for a train station near that distance.
There is usually an inn near the station.
Even if you don’t have a place to stay, you can take a train to a town that does.

Lodging Plan

What is your accommodation plan?

Since we are going to walk through the streets as they were in the Edo period, I think it would be better to follow the way they did in terms of time management. In other words, I think it is better to check in while it is still light and check out at dawn.

In that case, there is no “Kichin-yado”, so the basic plan is to stay overnight without meals. (“Kichin-yado” is an Edo-period inn where you pay for fuel and lodging and do not take meals.)

In recent years, it has become common for hotels to offer breakfast. However, I did not eat breakfast at all. Instead, I prepared bread and rice balls the day before, ate them in the dark, and departed when it was light.

This way, I could get a little further ahead rather than waiting for breakfast. Since we would be walking a longer distance, we would be staying fewer nights, and the total cost would be the same whether we stayed at an expensive inn or bought a rice ball for breakfast.

Next, let’s consider the choice between a hotel and an inn. Either one is fine, as long as it is not particularly dirty, has a bath, and you can sleep on a futon. I think the standard is the cost of accommodation.

To begin with, after walking around all day, I’m tired and don’t feel like doing anything at the inn. I once stayed at a luxury hotel with a hot spring to meet a friend, but in the end, I was too tired and used the room bath.

Anyway, when I walk around the city, I prefer to stay in a cheap hotel without food or luxurious facilities.

However, if there is a coin-operated laundry, it would be helpful to be able to do your laundry, so you may want to consider that.

How do I make an appointment?

So, when and how should you make the all-important reservation?
Do I make a reservation by phone? Make a reservation on the Internet?

My first thought was to use the accommodation information desk at the station.

That was my idea based on my travel experience as a student. When I was a student, I traveled around Hokkaido without making any plans. If I consulted the lodging information desk at the station in the evening, I could secure accommodation without any problem, even during summer vacation.

When walking the Tokaido Highway, I often stayed near a relatively large station on the Tokaido Line. As a rule, I did not make reservations as long as my arrival time was before around 4:00 pm. After arriving at the station, I could go to the station’s accommodation information center and they would tell me about affordable accommodations.
That’s how I found accommodations in Ejiri (Shimizu Station) and Fujieda.

In some cases, there are no lodging information centers, or it is too much trouble to go there. In such cases, I would feel like an old traveler and go to the front desk of the hotel and ask for information directly. This is the pattern in places like Yoshiwara, Fukuroi, Arai, Okazaki, and Minaguchi. Unless it is summer vacation or Golden Week, there is always a room or two available.

If the place to stay is far from the station, I made a reservation the day before or in the morning of the day. Especially in Kuwana and Shono, I made reservations because the lodgings were 1.3 km and 2.5 km away from the highway respectively, and it would be mentally painful if the rooms were full.

I often made reservations on the Internet because I could see the availability of rooms and prices in advance.

Tsunami Preparedness

The Tokaido Highway runs along the sea. I’ve read here and there that the road and inn towns were built to avoid tsunami. But it would be scary if a tsunami actually came.
If a tsunami came in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar place, you would probably panic.

If your hotel is located near the ocean, it is a good idea to ask about evacuation routes in case of a tsunami when you check in.

Conclusion

Staying overnight on the Tokaido Highway is easier said than done.

As for the Koshu Kaido, I think the above method is fine for Tokyo, Otsuki, and Kofu. However, in other places, it may be difficult to do so haphazardly.

I can’t say anything irresponsible about other roads, so I don’t know.

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