Active + Adventure

Vacation Boot Camp

by Sarah Tuff

Walking Village to Village in Japan

Calories burned: Up to 7,500 over 11 days

Call to action: Sure, you could board a bullet train in Kyoto and pull into Tokyo about two hours and 20 minutes later…but then you'd miss all the fun! Nomads on Mountain Travel Sobek's 11-day village-to-village walk between Kyoto and Tokyo tone their muscles, tune up their cardiovascular systems, and notch sightings of 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Hot-spring soaks limber up tired legs; train transfers help span some of the distances. The pilgrimage's leisurely pace (2 to 13 miles per day, for a total of 46 miles) allows time to explore medieval fortresses, visit 100 monasteries, shop at lacquerware studios, and recharge at machiya inns converted from traditional wooden houses. The highlight is a night spent with monks at a mountainside temple, dining on vegetarian shojin ryori and meditating on the value of stopping to smell the Japanese roses.

The warm-up: If you can put one foot in front of the other for at least one hour, three to four times per week, you should be ready to walk the walk in Japan. Get psyched up with Shogun, a bowl of udon noodles, and several games of Sudoku.

When to go: Departures for 2010 are April 18–28, May 9–19, September 26–October 6, and November 21–December 1.

From $4,995 per person in a group of 5–15; $6,595 per person for a two-person trip, not including airfare

Next: Québec's winter wonderland >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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