Nakasendo self-guided walking (4 days)

Nakasendo self-guided walking

In feudal times people travelling between Kyoto and Tokyo would use the Nakasendo way – the road through the central mountains – one of a network of ancient highways. Along the route travellers rested at juku - post towns -and it is still possible to walk the original route by day, and stay at the small local minshuku - guest houses - by night.
The walking is mostly paved village paths and unpaved mountains trails, with some gentle ascents and descents. This walk is highly customisable; there are 4 Days of walking ranging from 1 to 6 hours, and we can advise on which days to leave out if you want a shorter or more gentle walk.

We also offer 3-day, 5-day and 10-day versions of this trip.

Package Details


Price : Adult (age 12+)

AUD 1,540

Duration : 3 nights 4 Days
Tour Start : Kyoto or Tokyo
Tour End : Kyoto or Tokyo
Walking days : 4 days
Departure Date : Recommended from April to November
Route :
  • Kyoto or Tokyo
  • Magome
  • Tsumago
  • Nojiri
  • Yabuhara
  • Narai
  • Hirasawa
  • Kyoto or Tokyo
Includes :
  • 3 nights accommodation
  • 3 Breakfasts and 3 Dinners
  • Train tickets (from/to Kyoto or Tokyo)
  • Detailed day-by-day itinerary and walking instructions
  • Topographical map
  • Local phone support
Download : PDF Itinerary


Day 1

(Meals : Dinner)

From Kyoto or Tokyo; Nakasendo Trail from Magome to Tsumago

Walking distance : 8.3km

Elevation gain : 326m of ascent and 430m of descent

Time required : About 3 hours

We supply train tickets for your journey from Kyoto or from Tokyo to Nakatsugawa, including a ride on the world-famous Shinkansen (Bullet Train) to Nagoya. At Nakatsugawa, you board a local bus for the short journey to Magome. Walk over Magome Pass to Tsumago, one of the best-preserved and most evocative of the Nakasendo post-towns. Spend the night at a family-run Minshuku in Tsumago or the nearby hamlet of O-Tsumago, with a delicious home-cooked Japanese dinner and breakfast included. After dinner, enjoy a stroll through the village streets in the magical quiet of the evening, wearing the yukata gown supplied by your inn.

Hotel : Tsumago

Day 2

(Meals : Breakfast / Dinner)

Nakasendo Trail from Tsumago to Nojiri

Walking distance : 18.4km

Elevation gain : 723m of ascent and 644m of descent

Time required : About 6 hours *

The longest day on the trail is a beautiful and varied hike from Tsumago to Nojiri. Or choose the shorter alternative to Nagiso instead. The trail travels through small valleys and past forests of bamboo and Japanese cedar, through some of the least-developed scenery on the tour. Continue by train to Kiso-Fukushima. Stay at a lovely hotspring Ryokan set in a peaceful valley above the t. Complimentary transfer from the station is provided by the Ryokan. The Ryokan has lovely indoor and outdoor hot-spring baths.

* We offer a shorter alternative of 1 hour (3.7km). You can choose which option you prefer on the day - no need to decide in advance!

Hotel : Kiso-Fukushima

Day 3

(Meals : Breakfast / Dinner)

Nakasendo Trail from Yabuhara to Narai

Walking distance : 6.2km

Elevation gain : 344m of ascent and 270m of descent

Time required : About 3 hours

The Ryokan will drive you back to Kiso-Fukushima after breakfast. We supply train tickets for the short journey from Kiso-Fukushima to Yabuhara, starting point for the hike over the Torii pass to Narai. Explore this atmospheric village before check-in at your family-run inn in the heart of the village. Your hosts will serve a home-cooked Japanese dinner and breakfast.

Hotel : Narai

Day 4

(Meals : Breakfast)

Nakasendo Trail from Narai to Hirasawa

Walking distance : 2.5km

Elevation gain : negligible ascent and descent

Time required : About 1 hour

After breakfast, walk the short distance to the small town of Kiso-Hirasawa, famous for its lacquerware. There are many small shops selling beautifully-crafted tableware and furniture. Board a train at Kiso-Hirasawa station for your onward journey to Kyoto or to Tokyo, arriving mid-afternoon. If you are heading to Tokyo, you have the option to break your journey in Matsumoto to visit the famous castle (a small additional train fare is payable locally).

Hotel : N/A


Most of our accommodation is Japanese style guest house and they are share bathroom.

Komanoyu Komanoyu Room Komanoyu Bath

※ Example images, actual hotels may vary.

DayCityHotel NameHotel Type
1 Tsumago Daikichi Minshuku Minshuku (Family-run Guesthouse)
2 Kiso-Fukushima Komanoyu Onsen Ryokan (Hot-spring Travellers Inn)
3 Narai Iseya Minshuku (Family-run Guesthouse)


Tour Operator : Oxalis Holidays Limited
Hotels : 3 nights Japanese-style Rooms
Meal : 3 Breakfasts, 3 Dinners
Participants : Minimum 1
Single Room Supplement :

AUD 440

Type and level of walking : Active - Our Active tours generally have dedicated days of trail walking, with some days of over four hours and with some ascent and/or descent.
Walking Season : Recommended from April to November
Departures : Any day Accommodations are busy and may charge extra during the following Japanese holiday periods: Golden Week (29 April - 05 May), and O-bon (09 - 17 August). Please enquire for availability and pricing if your trip falls within those dates.
International Flight : We offer the option of purchasing air inclusive tour packages, or land only tour packages, giving our customers the freedom to source their own flights. However, we are always more than happy to arrange your flights.
Optional extra days : We can arrange extra days at the beginning or end of the trip in the following destinations :

Additional Night in Kiso-Fukushima

If you would like to have a rest day during the hike, we recommend spending a second night in Kiso-Fukushima, between Day 2 and Day 3. On this extra day, you can explore the old Nakasendo area of Kiso-Fukushima town and there are also optional hiking courses to Gongentaki Waterfall and Kiso-Fukushima-Jo, the former site of the town's castle. Please note that if you request this additional night, your trip will end a day later than the regular tour.


Video courtesy of Oku Japan

  • Nakasendo Walk 01
  • Nakasendo Walk 02
  • Nakasendo Walk 03
  • Nakasendo Walk 04
  • Nakasendo Walk 05
  • Nakasendo Walk 06
  • Nakasendo Walk 07
  • Nakasendo Walk 08
  • Nakasendo Walk 09
  • Nakasendo Walk 10


Contact Us

  • +61 2 9264 7384
  • c/o Books Kinokuniya,
    Level 2 The Galeries,
    500 George Street, Sydney,
    New South Wales, Australia, 2000
  • Mon-Fri: 10:00 - 18:00
    Sat: 12:00 - 16:00
    Sun, Public Holiday: close

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