Snow Patrol.

By Mark Andrews

Colours – Garuda Indonesia. February 2014

On a winter trek along the Nakasendo Way, Mark Andrews experiences hospitality as warm as the hot springs that punctuate this most historic Japanese trail.

Steam rises into the frigid night air. Few locals brave the below-zero temperature, yet here we are dressed in yukata (Japanese-style robes) with feet dangling in the heated waters of the grandly named Kiso River Hydrophilic Foot Spa.

Despite the name’s claims of grandeur, it is an illusion consisting of an open-air water channel with a covering to protect against the elements. The hot waters, though, are no illusion, and they comfort the soles of our feet after a punishing yet serene nine-kilometre walk along Japan’s Nakasendo Way.

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Mark Andrews has written about everything from Japanese houses to heli hikes on New Zealand glaciers, test drives of Chinese cars to bar and restaurant reviews. He currently specialises in travel articles and reviews of Chinese cars plus articles about the Chinese auto industry.

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