Nakasendo self-guided walking (10 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 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.

We also offer 3-day, 4-day and 5-day versions of this trip.

Package Details


Price : Adult (age 12+)

AUD 3,750

Duration : 9 nights 10 Days
Tour Start : Kyoto or Tokyo
Tour End : Tokyo
Walking days : 5 days
Departure Date : Recommended from April to November
Route :
  • Kyoto
  • Magome
  • Tsumago
  • Nojiri
  • Yabuhara
  • Narai
  • Hirasawa
  • Matsumoto
  • Karuizawa
  • Yokokawa
  • Tokyo
Includes :
  • 9 nights accommodation
  • 9 Breakfasts and 4 Dinners
  • Train tickets starting from Kyoto and finishing in Tokyo
  • Train tickets for intermediate journeys on the Nakasendo Trail
  • Detailed day-by-day itinerary and walking instructions
  • Topographical map
  • Local phone support
  • One day of private guiding in Kyoto
Download : PDF Itinerary


Day 1

(Meals : None)

Arrive in Kyoto

Your tour begins with your arrival at your hotel or Ryokan in Kyoto. On our Standard tour, accommodation options include the Hearton Hotel or the Kyoto Royal Hotel - modern, western style hotels with private en-suite facilities. You can also opt for the informal, Japanese-style Yoshimizu Ryokan where you will sleep on futons in tatami-mat rooms; as with the Japanese inns you will experience on the Nakasendo Trail, bathroom facilities are not attached to your room bu 'along the hallway'. Airport transfers are not included, but whether you are flying into Osaka Kansai airport or arriving by train from Tokyo, we will happily advise you on the best way to reach your accommodation. Arm yourself with your favourite guide book and begin your discovery of the city of Kyoto - Japan's cultural and historical capital.

Hotel : Kyoto

Day 2

(Meals : Breakfast)

Sightseeing in Kyoto

A day to explore Kyoto with your own personal guide. One of our knowledgeable, friendly and professional guides will meet you at your hotel after breakfast and lead you on a full-day tour of Kyoto. You can opt to travel by bus and subway, or by taxi - you pay for travel and entry fees on the spot. We have devised five different itineraries for you to choose from; we have included some of the most famous sights and some lesser-known spots. We are proud of our guides - we engage them directly and not via agencies or other third parties. Your guide will return you to your hotel around 5pm or, if you prefer, will leave you in an alternative location of your choosing.

Hotel : Kyoto

Day 3

(Meals : Breakfast)

Sightseeing in Kyoto

Walking distance : 8.3km

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

Time required : About 3 hours

Another day in Kyoto to explore the city's riches. Or travel by train to the older capital city of Nara - there are regular Japan Railways departures from Kyoto to Nara. The journey takes under an hour and the fare is around JPY700 each way. Buy your tickets from the self-service tickets machines at Kyoto station.

Hotel : Kyoto

Day 4

(Meals : Breakfast / 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 5

(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 6

(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 7

(Meals : Breakfast / Dinner)

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 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 : Karuizawa

Day 8

(Meals : Breakfast)

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 / 2 miles by a taxi ride at the start of the day.

Hotel : Tokyo

Day 9

(Meals : Breakfast)


You have a full day in Tokyo to explore this vibrant city. Our Standard hotel options include the Shiba Park Hotel - just eight minutes on foot from Hamamatsucho station on the Yamanote loop line, so ideally located to reach any part of Tokyo. Visit the glittering Ginza area with elegant department stores and food halls crammed with all kinds of unfamiliar delicacies. Or spend time among the skyscrapers of Shinjuku and pass through Shinjuku station, the busiest transport hub in the world. Eat and drink in one of the myriad small bars and restaurants which cluster around most railway stations, or splash out on an elegant meal in an upscale restaurant.

Hotel : Tokyo

Day 10

(Meals : Breakfast)

Tour ends

Your tour ends today after breakfast at your hotel. If you are flying home, there are direct scheduled bus services from the Shiba Park Hotel to Narita Airport, and Monorail services from nearby Hamamatsucho station to Haneda Airport. Your hotel concierge will help you book a seat on the appropriate Narita Airport bus and sell you a ticket for the journey. Alternatively, you may choose to spend a few days longer in Tokyo or continue your travels elsewhere in Japan.

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
1-3 Kyoto Yoshimizu Ryokan or similar Hotel or Ryokan (Travellers Inn)
4 Tsumago Daikichi Minshuku Minshuku (Family-run Guesthouse)
5 Kiso-Fukushima Komanoyu Onsen Ryokan (Hot-spring Travellers Inn)
6 Narai Iseya Minshuku (Family-run Guesthouse)
7 Karuizawa Tsuruya Ryokan Ryokan (Travellers Inn)
8-9 Tokyo Shiba Park Hotel or similar Hotel


Tour Operator : Oxalis Holidays Limited
Hotels : 7 nights Japanese-style Rooms, 2 nights Western-style Rooms
Meal : 9 Breakfasts, 4 Dinners
Participants : Minimum 1
Single Room Supplement :

AUD 1,000

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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