Mochizuki, Nagano β†’ Karuizawa, Nagano

Map of Nagano with author’s route from Mochizuki to Karuizawa highlighted. πŸ—Ί Open map in GaiaGPS β†’

A wet manhole cover shows Mount Asama, the volcano above Saku and Karuizawa.

Rain-soaked poppies in a field between houses.

White and pink variegating flowers in the rain. πŸ“ Saku, Nagano

β€œNo one knows how long the rainy season will last,” the girl at the bathhouse said. β€œIt’s usually over by the time school is out, the middle of July.”

We stood outside a striking Nordic cathedral of thermal water, where I had sat for hours, warming the tendons of my right hand. β€œSummer will come from the south,” she said.

The rainy season had come from the south, too, it came at the speed of a shinkansen, and in four hours it reached the hill station of Karuizawa, whose streams now ran turbulent with brown water, rushing past trees in variegating bloom.

β€œBut you are walking north,” she said with a rueful smile, and disappeared into the bathhouse.

These Walking Dreams is a visual field diary of a 4,300-kilometer walk from one end of Japan to the other, in the spring and summer of 2017.