links to APDL and KCC link to KCC homepage link to APDL homepage

Roads of Oku: Home

Inspiration ...

Matsuo Basho's Narrow Road to the Deep North, Translated by Nobuyuki Yuasa / Google Map: Bashō's Oku no Hosomichi ("Narrow Road to the Deep North")

Journeys ...

Spring 2004: On the Road in Kansai / Google Map
Summer 2005: Roads of Oku / Google Map
Fall 2006: Where Gods Alight / Google Map
Summer 2007: Hōkūle‘a in Yokohama / Map
Winter 2008: Snow Country / Google Map
Spring 2008: Full Bloom & Festivals / Google Map
Summer 2009: Fireflies & Sweet Fish / Google Map
Fall 2009: North Country Colors / Google Map
Summer 2010: Legends of the Land / Google Map
Spring 2011: On the Far Side of Disaster / Google Map
Summer 2012: Travels in the Fifth Moon / Google Map
Summer 2013: Far Roads: Finishing Touches / Google Map
Summer 2015: Saké-Tasting in the Kingdom of Local Brew

Memorable ...

Roads / Seacoasts & Coastal Roads / Bridges / Ferries / Walks & Hikes / Mountains / Ropeways / Rivers / Waterfalls / Lakes / Trees / Rocks / Caves / Hot Springs / Sakura / Fall Colors / Archaeology and History / Castles / Shrines / Temples / Gardens / Festivals / Food / Drinks
Photography: Dennis Kawaharada and Karen Ono

Note ...

On Driving in Japan

Roads of Oku: Journeys in the Heartland

A collection of essays on Japanese culture, history and literature. Available at (Far Roads Press, 2015).

Hot Springs

Kawayu, Mie. Spring 2004

Kawayu was our first hot spring experience in a natural setting. The river is fed by the hot springs and visitors dig pools into the rocky bed to soak their feet.

Kawayu mistPools

Lake Towada, Aomori. Fall 2009

When we arrived at the hotel, the first snow of the northern winter was fallilng. The rotemburo opened onto a scene of autumn leaves and snow.

OnsenMaple forest

Yubara, Okayama. Spring 2011

Yubara Hot Spring, in a narrow valley north of Maniwa, is famous for its outdoor mixed bathing pool open 24-hours a day. The town is also known for its Hanzaki, or giant salamander, a nocturnal and entirely aquatic creature endemic to the area. The town hold a Hanzaki festival in August, during which a giant salamander float is paraded through town. The food at Hakkei ryokan was excellent, and the owner, Hiroko, whom we had met in Honolulu at Hakkei restaurant, was gracious and full of energy.

Mountain Hot Springs

Clockwise from top left: 1. Hirayu, Nagano. Spring 2008. 2. Aoyama, Mie. Spring 2008. 3. Tone, Gunma. Fall 2009. 4. Ichirino, Ishikawa. Summer 2010. 5. Yudono, Yamagata. Summer 2010. 6. Mt. Bandai, Fukushima. Fall 2009.


Ako, Hyogo, Kansai. Summer 2009

The rotemburo in Ako overlooked the Inland Sea.


Nozawa, Nagano. Winter 2008

Left: Public Onsen (for residents only). Right: Private onsen on the deck of the ryokan room.

Public onsenPrivate onsen

Refre Kayanosato, Kaya, Kyoto. Spring 2004

“A herb resort that grows more than 200 different kinds of herbs, which are served in their restaurant. They also have a healing herb spa.”

Refre Kayanosato

Gifu. Spring 2008

The roykan had an onsen tub inside of it, with a view of the Nagara River and Gifu Castle on Mt. Kinka.


Suwa, Nagano. Summer 2010

The rotemburo was located above the city on the top floor of the building, overlooking Lake Suwa.

SuwaLake Suwa

Jigokudani (“Hell Valley”), Nagano. Winter 2008

This hotspring near Nagano is for monkeys only.

JigokudaniSoaking monkey