Walk the Nakasendo Trail…

The Kiso Valley is famous for the Nakasendo Highway, built during the Edo period. Literally, meaning “mid-mountain road”, the Nakasendo was a trunk-and-trade route that connected Kyoto and Edo (now Tokyo) in the age of the samurai and shogun.

It once took three days on foot to traverse the rugged countryside with its dense forests and steep mountain slopes, creating a ready made market for inns where the weary traveller could eat, drink and rest. In the route’s heyday, 69 postal towns, or “juku” flourished however today  just 11 of the towns survive, with Narai, Magome and Tsumago offering the greatest indication of the past.

Walking the ancient Nakasendo highway offers travellers a glimpse into a Japan that has changed little over the centuries. The most popular section of the route is the 7.7km winding mountain road that links Magome and Tsumago, one of Japan’s biggest post-war community preservation projects, where there are many well-preserved and restored traditional buildings.

Variations and extensions of this itinerary are available, please ask your Japan Holidays consultant for further information.

Daily luggage transfer is also available as an optional extra service, to allow you to enjoy the walk comfortably with just a day pack.

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A scenic trek through meticulously preserved ancient villages along the Nakasendo Trail | Three hikes of between 1-6 hours

Availability:  Recommended from April to November
Price per person:  From A$1,120 per person
Trip level:  Active


  • Wander through meticulously preserved, ancient villages

  • Soak in relaxing natural hot springs

  • Stay in a traditional family run Minshuku (bed and breakfast) and Ryokan (Japanese style hotel)

  • Enjoy authentic, home made local food

  • Be immersed in history, travelling the path of feudal-era Japanese

  • Visit Fukushima-juku Historical Site & Joyama and Gongen Waterfall


  • 2 nights at traditional Japanese inns along the Nakasendo Trail

  • Breakfast and dinners at your accommodation

  • Train tickets to/from Kyoto or Tokyo to Nakatsugawa and local trains where listed on the itinerary

  • Local and Australian emergency contact

  • Daily itinerary, walking directions and maps


  • Flights

  • Beverages with meals not included

  • Entrance fees to museums & temples

  • Single room supplement if required

Day 1

Nakatsugawa – Magome

Japan Holidays can organise your travel from from wherever you are in Japan to Nakatsugawa. On your arrival at Nakatsugawa, you will board a local bus for the short journey to Magome. The trail between Magome and Tsumago is a well-maintained section of the former Nakasendo. The trail leads through the countryside and passes right alongside fields and traditional houses local residents. It is not difficult and is well marked in English. The trail leads over Magome Pass to Tsumago, one of the best-preserved and most evocative of the Nakasendo postaltowns. Enjoy a stroll through the village, wearing a Yukata (light kimono) supplied by your Minshuku (inn)

Walking distance: 8.3km Time required: About 3 hour

Day 2

Tsumago – Nagiso

Hike from Tsumago to Nagiso & Fukushimajuku Historical Site Walk Explore Tsumago village after a leisurely breakfast. Afterwards, you will walk from Tsumago to Nagiso. The walk following the Nakasendo, slopes through lush woodlands down to the main valley, where the Kiso river and the railroad are running. The trail travels through Tsumago Castle Ruins & Kabuto Kannon as well as small valleys, and you will pass beautiful forests of bamboo and Japanese cedar.

Walking distance: 3.7 km Time required: About 1 hour

Day 3

Yabuhara – Narai

After breakfast, catch a local train from KisoFukushima to Yabuhara and walk 6kms from Yabuhara to Narai. This could be one of the harshest parts of Nakasendo as it runs deep in the mountains. Torii Pass is the highest point on the historic Nakasendo highway. Narai-juku is designated as a National Important Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings where the old townscape still clearly remains. Your Naksendo tour ends in Narai. Japan Holidays will arrange your train travel for your on-wards destination.

Walking distance: 6.2km Time required: About 3 hours

The Nakasendo Trail

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