Nakasendo Walking Trail

Tsumago, Japan

At a Glance

  • Incredible mountain scenery especially wonderful in the season changes from April to May and October to November

  • The perfect way to get off the tourist trail and experience traditional Japanese towns and villages

  • Allows for a completely unique experience of Japan uncovering ancient highways and a wealth of culture and history on the way

  • The self guiding allows for a flexible schedule to take the trail at your own pace

  • Traditional Japanese service and hospitality makes the route a truly special experience

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Best time to Visit

Good time to visit

Average time to visit

The best and most popular times to visit Japan are the climatically stable seasons of spring (March to May) and autumn (late September to November). The highlight of spring is the cherry-blossom season, which usually arrives in early April. Autumn is an equally good time to travel, with pleasant temperatures and soothing autumn colours, which usually peak between late October and mid-November. Of course, you can visit Japan anytime although the summer, from June to August, can be very hot and humid, and winter can be a little chilly for some people’s taste.

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To start planning your holiday to Nakasendo Walking Trail


Step back in time as you make your way along the Nakasendo Way, a network of ancient highways used by people travelling from Kyoto to Tokyo. Along the four day walk you will trek along village paths and forested trails getting a unique taste of Japan.

The Nakasendo Way or 'the road through the central mountains' was one of the five major highways linking Tokyo to the provinces in ancient Japan and today provides is an incredible and unique way to experience the country, walking the most beautiful part of the original route from Tokyo to Kyoto.

Along the way after days soaking up the incredible scenery and beautiful villages you are welcomed at night with stunning Japanese hospitality at small Minshukus and Ryokans (guesthouses). The trail weaves through the mountain valleys found between Tokyo and Kyoto along paved village walkways and forested mountain trails.

The walk is self guided giving you complete freedom on pace, so that you can enjoy your surroundings at your own speed. The trail varies, taking you through forests of bamboo and Japanese cedar to picturesque mountain towns. In order to experience the very best that the trail as to offer along the most beautiful sections there will be a few train transfers which equally are an iconic Japanese experience.

The Ryokans, traditional Japanese Inns, where you will stay along the way are the height of Japanese hospitality with faultless and gentle service. Each night you will be warmly welcomed at these family run establishments and served delicious traditional Japanese cuisine using only the finest and freshest of ingredients. The style of the Ryokans are simple and traditional but wonderfully comfortable.

As the walk is self guided you will you be provided with all your necessary train tickets prior to setting off along with a detailed day-by-day itinerary and walking instructions including a topographical map.

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In complete harmony with the walk, the Minshukus and Ryokans dotted along the way provide the perfect balance for the walk with incredible and traditional Japanese hospitality. Essential to enjoying every moment your adventure is a good night's sleep and the service at your guesthouses will make you feel at home. During your journey you will stay in small, family-run inns with superb local cuisine which will give you an insight into Japanese traditions and customs.

After a day’s walking slip into your cotton yukata robe, experience a delicious and home cooked Japanese dinner and afterwards enjoy a hot bath to unwind. Your accommodation will depend on how long you travel for and which route you take. However, all our self-guided Nakasendo Trail tours offer the opportunity to spend a leisurely second night at the comfortable ryokan in Kiso-Fukushima, part-way along the trail.

During the walk you also have the option to take a small day bag and your luggage will be sent by courier to your onward destination after the walk or it can be arranged to meet you at your Ryokan half way through.


The walk is suited to active adults and children over the age of 10. Please note that you are required to carry a pack containing all of your own personal gear throughout the walk, so this will need to be taken into consideration when deciding on the suitability of this walk for your children.


Each evening you will be treated to a delicious and freshly prepared traditional Japanese dinner, expertly prepared by your guesthouse hosts.


  • Day 1 - Nakasendo Walking Trail (Magome - Tsumago)

    Trek from Magome to Tsumago today, a beautiful part of the Nakesendo Highway and arguably the most famous route.

  • Day 2 - Nakasendo Walking Trail (Tsumago - Kiso Fukishima)

    Today you have two options for your route, either a 1-2 hour trek from Tsumago to Nagiso and from there a train to Kiso Fukushima. Alternatively, opt for a longer trek from Tsumago to Nojiri. You can decide on the way depending on the weather.

  • Day 3 - Nakasendo Walking Trail (Kiso Fukushima - Narai)

    After a comfortable night in Kiso Fukushima, enjoy a short train ride to Yabuhara this morning. From here you'll trek to Narai via the Tori-touge pass.

Holiday Ideas

  • Exceptional Japan

    Tokyo, Kiso Valley, Kyoto, Miyajimaguchi & Lake Kawaguchi (Mount Fuji)

    from £9600 pp inc flights & transfers for 11 nights

    • A chance to see Japan off-the-beaten-track and enjoy its incredible scenery
    • An incredible journey from nearly the north to south of Honshu taking in a huge amount of the island
    • Amazing adventure and chance to explore a more rural side of Japan on the Nakasendo Walking Trail

Location & directions

Tsumago, Japan

The trail starts from Magome, which can be accessed by bullet train from Tokyo or Kyoto to Nakatsugawa. From Nakatsugawa a bus can be taken to Magome.

How to get there

An 11 hour flight from the UK to Tokyo followed by a three hour train to Nakatsugawa

Speak to our specialists 020 3993 8860

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