These Walking Dreams: Day 99 (July 20, 2017)

Lake Towada, Akita → 📍 Oirase Gorge → Towada, Aomori

Map of Tōhoku with author’s route from Lake Towada to Towada, Aomori highlighted. 🗺 Open map in GaiaGPS ⇝


The pastel tones of early morning light across a very large lake.

📍 Lake Towada, Akita

A thick fog swirled across the caldera’s rim, and I wouldn’t see the lake until dawn, diaphanous clouds dissolving above its cerulean depths. Forty one days after I had turned left at the gate of the great Zen temple of Eihei-ji, I rejoined Alan Booth’s path across Japan. I had set out, in April, to retrace his steps, but I walked into the mountain world instead. At the serene waters of Lake Towada we met at last, and I greeted his spirit loudly, this great blond man of the back roads, and a summer breeze played across the water, and the village houses were crumbling into the forest, and I was on a great adventure.

Small metal figures of sparrow line a guardrail.

A tree half-submerged in the very clear blue waters of the lake.

A motorcyclist rides down a tree-shaded road. 📍 Lake Towada, Akita


A street sign points to what is purportedly the grave of Christ.

A blue Godzilla-shaped slide and a small brown dachshund stand guard in the front yard of a house. 📍 Towadako, Aomori


Very green leaves covered in brown-yellow dots.

Fronds of a fern backlit by the sun.

A fast-flowing stream in a dark forest captured with a long exposure.

A small, horseshoe-shaped waterfall in a dark forest lit by strong sunlight.

A man drives a low-slung green sports car, a Lotus Eleven, on a forest road.

📍 Oirase Gorge, Aomori

The only river out of Lake Towada’s caldera cascaded down a spectacular basalt gorge, and I followed its course for hours, on a gentle walking trail whose length was an exception in this country of short walks. The forest was green and black, not blue, and it closed in and climbed the near-vertical walls, and I walked on, lightweight with hunger and wonder, and I listened to the river, and also to a Lotus Eleven, and night came like cool bedsheets.


Kokedama, moss balls, hang from rails in a plant nursery. 📍 Towada, Aomori

Next → Day 100, July 21

Prev. ← Day 98, July 19


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.