Konbumori, Hokkaido β†’ Akkeshi, Hokkaido

Map of Hokkaido with author’s route from Konbumori to Akkeshi highlighted. πŸ—Ί Open map in GaiaGPS β†’

The red sign of a car wash with barely legible, faded English text.

View above a shrine gate of a Japanese fishing village under a grey sky. πŸ“ Konbumori, Hokkaido

A fox walks down a road.

Steep, verdant cliffs fall away to the grey Pacific Ocean.

A motorcycle rounds a bend on a coastal road.

Green hills above a grey ocean. πŸ“ Senposhi, Hokkaido

A barefoot couple stand on the asphalt, visible from the waist down. πŸ“ Oboro, Hokkaido

The third time they saw us, they stopped the car, right on the side of the narrow highway, blinkers on, BMW style. The road had run in a beautiful, desolate, verdant arc atop the cliffs, Ezo foxes lurking in the undergrowth and strolling down the village roads, Pacific waves crashing on the black rocks, ponies facing the wind in harsh fields of wildflowers, and now it curved inland, and they got out of the car, bare feet on the cold asphalt. They were delighted to see us, this man and this woman, they exulted in the dim halo of our great and pointless adventure, they hugged us and smiled their beatific weekend smiles, then they waved and drove off. The Oyashio fog came for the last time, and drenched our hair and our clothes, and sucked the light from the sky.

More than a dozen horses graze in a field on a foggy evening. πŸ“ Akkeshi, Hokkaido

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.