P is for 道

P is for michi, or the Japanese word for Path. The trail marks the path, literally and figuratively, and Japan has no shortage of roads for you to travel. Whether you’re planning to embark on the 88-Temple Pilgrimage, or simply taking a short Sunday stroll, there is always a new one awaiting you. Paths line gardens, temples, shrines, the alleys of small town shops. Some roads are so small as to be more suitable for walking, than driving. There are paths (real and perceived) through the mountains, and forests.

I have noticed that the “paths” in Japan have been particularly artful. Their creation is measured and considered, not like the wild, or straight and narrow perpendiculars I am used to in the states. The paths are purposeful, yet feel natural. I regret that I could not walk them all before leaving.

Images hosted on Flickr. 

Genji Monogatari Rally - Uji

Sapporo Historical Village & Museum

Tokyo I

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Kurama & Kibune






Golden Week 2011

Kinkaku-ji & Ryoan-ji


Ichijoji 2-22-1530

41 thoughts on “P is for 道

  1. I’m enjoying your blog and all the wonderful pics. I walked the 88 Temples a couple of years ago – definitely some unforgettable paths!!


  2. I am planning on redoing the walkway along the south side of my home from the drive to the back. These pictures give me more ideas than I found online last night on Pinterest. Beautiful. thanks.


  3. I’m in the process of redesigning all my paths. I need one in front of my house, from drive to door. And I want to add another in the rock garden. You just gave me some great ideas. Thanks!

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    1. Awww, thank you. I had a lot of fun with this one, especially since I didn’t realize how many photos of paths I’d taken until I went looking for them!


  4. I’m really jealous now. I love to walk through natural paths rather than straight lines of pavement. That image you used for your header is amazing – it’s like being in some kind of ethereal world!

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    1. It’s a giant bamboo forest next to a wild monkey park. Really beautiful, but oddly, it doesn’t have a name! Just “Bamboo Forest.”

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Hi, Alex! 🙂 I usually see you on Andrew Leon’s blog… pleasure to have you here!


  5. I read that somewhere (in a garden book, I think) about paths being artful, measured and considered. I’d like to say I think of them like that… but sometimes it just has to get you form A to B. Maybe I’ll give it more thought.

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  6. Oh, Alex. Visually, this has to be one of my all-time favorite posts of yours. I am so drawn to paths, and the Japanese are truly first-rate in this department. Boy, do they have exquisite style and taste and art in their crafting of walkways. I’m now putting the 88 paths on my bucket list. I’ve got to find a way to cross a few of those off. I must see those bamboos!
    I hope your artful soul will not feel discouraged by settling back into what North America has to offer on a daily basis. Perhaps you can post a few of the exceptional snow plowed routes in an effort to encourage Canadians to take more artistic pride with the winter chores? 😛

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  7. What stories I’ve conjured in my mind from those images alone! I love exploring, and particularly enjoy to see where a path leads me. I’m always struck my inspiration when I’m out walking, surrounded by the beauty of our world 🙂

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  8. Those are amazing pictures. I love the one with the tree at the end that almost looks like the path extends into the sky. Those are gorgeous!


  9. Beautiful photographs. Japan is such a wonderful country. I have a friend who’s now in his tenth year over there, and he loves it 🙂


  10. I agree with Jazzfeathers. This is probably your most gorgeous collection of photos so far during A to Z. Especially the stone bridge, autumn (second from bottom), and bamboo path photos.

    And there’s something meditative about walking on a path. It’s as if you’re meant to survey your surroundings and get in touch with your feelings as you walk along. Lovely idea for your letter “P.” 🙂


  11. Okay, this could be an entire book, like a coffee-table book: your gorgeous photos of paths with short stories accompanying each one. It would be such a peaceful book to come home to after a busy day. I love these images; each path makes me so curious, and I want to keep walking beyond where the photo ends.

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  12. The Japanese have certainly deified the path and turned it into an art form. I’ve always loved Robert Frost’s “The Road Less Taken” and that would be a perfect introduction to these paths. I just had this real spiritual sense come over me just looking at your photos. I have also just remembered that our local art gallery has a Japanese garden and it is now autumn so the perfect time to viisit. I am defnitely going to make the most out of my local area instead of wishing I could be some place else. xx Rowena

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