In the old days there were several routes from the land-locked ancient capital of Kyoto to the Japan Sea. These supply roots were vital in order to bring various marine goods to Kyoto residents from the port cities along the coast.
The ancient roads have been traveled for nearly thirteen centuries, dating back to the Heian Period (794 to 1185), and were collectively known as saba kaido, or mackerel highways.
Our tour begins from the bustling streets of Kyoto heading “upstream” on the saba kaido and circling counterclockwise back to Kyoto. The total distance covered is about 230 kilometers.
The route is dotted with many attractions including old post towns with historic townscapes and fishing villages along the coast. The route is particularly enjoyable in autumn with the backdrop of koyo (changing leaves) while slipping into the past.
Be warned, however: the city and its environs become very crowded during this golden season, especially in late November when the colors are at their peak.