This year, The British School in Tokyo is marking its 25th anniversary. A yearlong program of events has been organized to celebrate not only a quarter-century of providing a British-style education to the international community, but also 25 years of warm ties between the U.K. and Japan. One of the highlights is a unique project that lets students get up-close and personal with Japanese history and culture while also raising funds for a planned school in Cambodia.

A team of 16 students, six staff members and two parents set out Saturday to run the Nakasendo, an ancient route linking Kyoto and Tokyo. Although imperial messengers, or more specifically their steeds, are reputed to have completed the 540 km journey in 48 hours during the Edo Period (1603-1868), the British School's team is covering the route in a slightly more leisurely six days.

Departing from the Sanjo bridge in Kyoto, the team's route will take them through all manner of terrain, including the Japan Alps, before they reach their destination of Nihonbashi in Tokyo on Thursday. The team is running in a similar style to the Olympic torch relay, with at least two runners tackling the route at any given time. They are being assisted in their endeavors by Walk Japan, a tourism company with a wealth of experience in leading treks off the beaten track across the archipelago.