Hike, Walk, Bike, and Drive the Mackerel Highway!

About Mackerel Highway/Saba Kaido

In early 12th century, marine products were sent over countless roads called the "Sabakaidou(Mackerel highway)" to the capital, Kyoto and the latest culture was carried back from Kyoto, bringing prosperity to Obama. Particularly, it was taken a lot of mackerels from Wakasa/Obama bay. When people carry those food to Kyoto, they had to walk and ride horses in those days. 

Saba Kaido (Mackerel highway) is around 80km. Now, a lot of tourists try to walk and bike the road following the history!

How to walk?

Hiking aficionados will be happy to know that it is still possible to walk Mackerel Highway, in whole or in part. If you’d like a guided tour, Chosho Sugitani and other guides host “Saba Kaido Walking” once every year in early May. The Golden Week holiday running from the end of April to early May is the perfect time to do the trek, with budding broad-leaved trees creating a veritable shower of green.


The two-day walk stops at a mountain cottage at the halfway point where trekkers can rest up for the next leg of the trip (breakfast included). Sugitani says the trail is imbued with history even beyond mackerel; in 1570, shogun-to-be Tokugawa Ieyasu reportedly traveled this road to return to Kyoto after a battle.


Visitors can also undertake the walk without a guide—and those who prefer to sleep rough can camp along the trail. There is one camping ground at the halfway mark, in Kyoto’s Kuta district, suited for that purpose. For an even more authentic experience, walkers might also want to try carrying 40-kilogram (88 lbs) packs to closely replicate the journey of the mackerel porters.


The Route of Mackerel Highway

Saba Kaido had five routes to get to Kyoto, but people mostly used the road through Kumagawa and Kutsuki village.

Today, it is easy and too convenient to get to everywhere by trains and cars, but why don't you give it a try and feel Japanese history on the Mackerel Highway?