Nakasendo Walking Trail
Kiso Valley, 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
Meet our specialists
Call us on 858 345 1762 to start planning your vacation to Nakasendo Walking Trail or take a look at our itineraries to Kanazawa and the Kiso Valley
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.
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.
Location & Directions
Kiso Valley, 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.
When to go
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. Fall is an equally good time to travel, with pleasant temperatures and soothing autumn colors, 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.