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 5 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.
|Tour Starts||Tour Ends||Price|
|Nakasendo self-guided walking 5 Days|
|Tour Starts||Kyoto or Tokyo||Tour Ends||Tokyo||Twin Share||AUD2,070||Single||AUD2,640|
4 Nights 5 Days
Kyoto or Tokyo - Magome - Tsumago - Nojiri - Yabuhara - Narai - Hirasawa - Matsumoto - Karuizawa - Yokokawa - Tokyo
4 nights accommodation, 4 Breakfasts and 4 Dinners, Train tickets (from Kyoto or Tokyo / To Tokyo), Detailed day-by-day itinerary and walking instructions, Topographical map, Local phone support
Flights, Airport transfers, Pay locally for drinks with meals and for lunches, Pay locally for bus journey on Day 1, Single room supplement(s) if required, Daily Luggage Transfer - Please enquire for luggage options
Recommended from April to November
|Day 1 (Meals : D)|
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
Welcome to Japan! We will have transportation services to take you to your hotel. Please refer to your tour handbook for more information. Rest at the hotel and be ready to start your exciting tour tomorrow.
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 : Minshuku (Family-run Guesthouse) in Tsumago
|Day 2 (Meals : B/D)|
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 : Onsen Ryokan (Hot-spring Travellers Inn) in Kiso-Fukushima
|Day 3 (Meals : B/D)|
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 : Minshuku (Family-run Guesthouse) in Narai
|Day 4 (Meals : B/D)|
Nakasendo Trail from Narai to Hirasawa
Walking distance : 2.5km
Elevation gain : negligible ascent and descent
Time required : About 1 hours
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 Karuizawa or Komoro for your final overnight stay. Both locations have lovely inns with a real sense of history and fine Japanese baths. Ride first to Matsumoto where you can visit the famous castle before connecting onwards to your final stop – total travel time by train is around three hours, not including the optional break of journey in Matsumoto. Arrive at your accommodation in time for a wonderful dinner with local produce.
Hotel : Ryokan (Travellers Inn) in Karuizawa
|Day 5 (Meals : B)|
Nakasendo Trail from Karuizawa to Yokokawa and transfer to Tokyo
Walking distance : 16.7km
Elevation gain : 372m of ascent and 862m of descent
Time required : About 5-6 hours *
After breakfast, your final walk on the Nakasendo Trail is from Karuizawa to Yokokawa. Leaving Karuizawa, the trail takes you over the Usui-toge Pass and down a gentle descent along one of the most beautiful sections of the Nakasendo, and certainly the least-developed. From Yokokawa, board the local train to Takasaki and change there for your ride on the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) to Tokyo. The train journey takes around two hours and you will arrive in Tokyo in the late afternoon or early evening.
* The walk can be shortened by 3.3km by a taxi ride at the start of the day.
Hotel : N/A
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