Swiss man walking across Japan

Thomas Köhler's walking route.

I would call it the ultimate travel adventure in Japan. A man from Switzerland, 44-year-old Thomas Köhler, is undertaking a walking trek across Japan, from the northern-most point of Cape Soya in Hokkaido to the southern-most tip of Kyushu at Cape Sata. That’s about 2,500 km (1,550 miles).

He started walking on Aug. 1, 2011 and plans to finish by mid-December 2011. He walks at least 22 km a day. He has a daily blog called Walking Through Japan at:

http://www.japanfenster.ch/japantrip/en/

He posts a short note for each day together with a good number of photos. He’s doing it to bring attention to Japan to the tourists in the Western world who are avoiding Japan after the earthquake and Fukushima accident on March 11, 2011. Thomas is a former travel agent specializing in Japan and felt compelled to help Japan get those tourists back.

His adventure is self-financed, but he’s getting a lot of support such as occasional complimentary hotel rooms. Otherwise, he stays in a tent. He’s meeting a lot of friendly people along the way and he makes time to see the sights as well. Amazing.

Since he’s walking along the Japan Sea Coast, those of us in Tokyo won’t be able to see him. But it was a wise plan to walk along the largely rural Japan Sea coast rather than on the Pacific Ocean side which is much more urban and hazardous.

I wish I had his stamina and gall to do something like this. I would never walk it though. I enjoy bicycling too much. I’ve done long-distance bicycling trips in Japan, but none lasted more than 8 days or so. It was great fun and a great way to see Japan.

Good luck to Thomas!

*Also see The Japan Times article about his trek.

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