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Nakasendo Trail

 

 

The Nakasendo trail linked Kyoto to Tokyo during Japan’s feudal period. It was the ‘road through the mountains’ (as opposed to the Tokaido route which travelled the Pacific coast) travelled by feudal lords and their retinues, samurai, merchants, and travelers. Along the route were 69 ‘post towns’, where weary travelers could rest before continuing on the next leg.

Our journey will start in Tokyo, known as Edo during Japan’s period of rule by the Shoguns. We will then spend four days walking along the Nakasendo. By day we will walk along the ancient route as it passes through beautifully-preserved villages along an easy path, and by evening we will stay in traditional country inns enjoying exquisite regional cuisine prepared from the freshest ingredients, soak in natural hot springs, and enjoy the warm hospitality of our hosts. Enjoy bathing in hot spring water after a day on the trails!
NatGeo
National Geographic Traveler magazine has named our Nakasendo Trail tour as one of their "50 Tours of a Lifetime" for 2013!

 

Tour style
Easy/moderate - 4 days of walking and hiking from 2 to 5 hours per day on flat paths and mountain trails with some short climbs
Places visited:
Tokyo • Nakasendo Trail • Nara • Yoshino • Mount Koya• Kyoto
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HIGHLIGHTS

Four days of village-to-village walking on the old Nakasendo trail – Imperial Nara and Kyoto – modern Tokyo - the mountaintop village of Yoshino - visit sacred Mount Koya and stay in a shukubo (temple lodging) – relax in the bath at a lovely hot spring ryokan – travel on the bullet train

Nakasendo Trail map

 

INTRODUCTION

The Nakasendo trail linked Kyoto to Tokyo during Japan’s feudal period. It was the ‘road through the mountains’ (as opposed to the Tokaido route which travelled the Pacific coast) travelled by feudal lords and their retinues, samurai, merchants, and travelers. Along the route were 69 ‘post towns’, where weary travelers could rest before continuing on the next leg. Our journey will start in Tokyo, known as Edo during Japan’s period of rule by the Shoguns. We will then spend four days walking along the Nakasendo. By day we will walk along the ancient route as it passes through beautifully-preserved villages along an easy path, and by evening we will stay in traditional country inns enjoying exquisite regional cuisine prepared from the freshest ingredients, soak in natural hot springs, and enjoy the warm hospitality of our hosts. Enjoy bathing in hot spring water after a day on the trails! We’ll then continue by bullet train to Osaka, enjoying this lively city by night and the nearby former imperial capital of Nara by day, wander the old town and see the famous Todaiji temple, Nara park. From Nara we will continue to Yoshino, a beautiful village famous for its cherry blossoms in springtime and also for its ‘warrior’ monks. We will walk in the hills and relax in the evening in a lovely ryokan. After Yoshino we visit Mount Koya, in the mountains of the Kii Peninsula, a temple complex founded in the 9th century by the monk Kobo Daishi, where we will stay in a ‘shukubo’ (temple lodging), enjoying the vegetarian shojin-ryori cuisine. Finally, we travel by train to Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, at the western end of the Nakasendo, with time to explore some of the most important temples and shrines, as well as the craft shops and food markets. Our tour ends here and we say farewell.

ITINERARY OVERVIEW

Day 1 Meet in Tokyo

We meet at the hotel in central Tokyo in the evening, and walk to a local restaurant for our welcome dinner.

Day 2 Tokyo

Our first full day in Japan will be spent on a walking tour of Tokyo, starting at Nihonbashi (the ‘Japan Bridge’) considered to be the ‘centre of Japan’ and the zero marker point for all Japan’s main roads since the Edo period. Afterwards, we visit Ueno and the Tokyo National Museum to see exhibits illuminating Japan of the Edo era, the heyday of the Nakasendo Trail. (If the Museum is closed because of a national holiday, we will visit the Kappabashi district, famous for selling kitchenware and small plastic models of food used in restaurant displays.) We continue on to the grand Meiji shrine and the fashionable Harajuku district. In the evening your tour guide will be on hand to offer suggestions for restaurants for dinner.

Day 3 Nakasendo Trail walking day 1

Our journey through rural Japan begins with a journey from Tokyo to the remote Kiso valley. Over the next three days we will walk by day from village to village, staying by night in small country inns (ryokan and minshuku). After a lunch of buckwheat noodles in the local town of Shiojiri, we will walk 1.5 miles to Narai from Hirasawa, one of 11 ‘post-towns’ along the Kiso valley section of the Nakasendo. Post-towns were resting places, where travelers could find accommodation and food as they walked between Kyoto and Edo (as Tokyo was then called). Hirasawa is known for its locally-produced lacquer ware, and there may be a chance to see the craftsmen at work. Stay in Narai, a beautifully-preserved post-town. Our lodgings will be an atmospheric traditional ryokan.

Day 4 Nakasendo Trail walking day 2

On our second day there will be a 5-mile walk from Narai to Yabuhara over Torii Pass and then we will continue by train to Kiso-Fukushima. There we will stay in a lovely traditional ryokan with its own natural hot spring. Soak in the indoor baths made of cypress wood or try the outdoor baths surrounded by trees.

Day 5 Nakasendo Trail walking day 3

We will transfer from Kiso-Fukushima to Nojiri by train and walk 9 miles along the Nakasendo Way to Tsumago. Another of the post-towns on the former Nakasendo trail, Tsumago has been preserved by strict self-imposed rules that prohibit the sale, rental or destruction of the handsome houses. It’s a living museum, but one which is still inhabited by the local residents. We will arrive in the afternoon, with a little time to wander the streets, tasting gohei-mochi, skewered balls of pounded sticky rice covered in a sweet paste of miso, sesame and walnuts.

Day 6 Nakasendo Trail walking day 4 & Osaka

From Tsumago we will walk the 4 miles to Magome, our last stop in the Kiso Valley. You will have lunch in Magome and time to explore the many small shops. We will transfer by train to Osaka and check in to our hotel.

Day 7 Nara

We will take the train to Nara and have a guided walk in the morning. Many of Japan’s greatest cultural treasures are concentrated in and around the city, with eight UNESCO World Heritage sites - Todai-ji Temple, Kofuku-ji Temple, Kasuga Taisha Shrine, Kasugayama Primeval Forest, Nara Palace Site, Ganko-ji Temple, Yakushi-ji Temple and Toshoda-ji Temple. Many of these sites are in or near Nara Park, home to a thousand or more free-roaming deer. We will visit two of these World Heritage sites including Todaiji temple -its Daibutsu-den is the largest wooden building in the world, housing a 16-metre tall image of the Rushana Buddha in bronze and gold. Prior to being rebuilt three hundred years ago, the awesome wooden structure was even bigger than it is today. In the afternoon we will visit Nigatsu-do or Kasuga Taisha Shrine. There will then be some free time to relax or wander through the old town before returning to Osaka by train.

Day 8 Yoshino

From Osaka our journey takes us to the ridge top village of Yoshino, and a comfortable ryokan. We will visit Yoshimizu Temple (connected to historical figures such as Minamoto no Yoshitsune, Emperor Godaigo, and Toyotomi Hideyoshi), and explore the area.

Day 9 Mount Koya

From Yoshino we will take the scenic train to Mount Koya, situated in a bowl-shaped valley filled with stands of cedar trees 800 metres up in the mountains of the Kii Peninsula. Since the 9th century, when the monk Kukai (also known as Kobo Daishi) founded the first temple and the Shingon sect of Buddhism, Mount Koya has been a place of religious devotion and ceremony. Today there are more than 100 monasteries, many of which have shukubo (temple lodgings). We will stay in one of the elegant temples, run by the monks, and dine on shojin-ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine). There will be a guided walk through the vast Okuno-in cemetery, with thousands of graves and memorials to feudal lords and other past luminaries.

Day 10 Transfer to Kyoto

There will be the opportunity to get up early and join the Buddhist morning service if you wish. Afterwards, we will visit Kongobu-ji temple, the head temple of the Shingon sect. After lunch, we will travel by train to Kyoto. After checking in at the hotel, we can enjoy an evening walk in Gion, Kyoto’s geisha district and there is always the possibility of seeing a geisha or maiko (apprentice geisha) making their way through the narrow streets.

Day 11 Kyoto

There will be a half-day walking tour this morning. First of all we will visit the Sanjo-ohashi Bridge - the western end of the Nakasendo. From there, we will then stroll through Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka streets where there are many old shops. Afterwards we will visit the famous Kiyomizu-dera temple - built in the 8th century - which has one of the most beautiful views of the city. There will be free time in the afternoon so you can explore the area further or shop for crafts. In the evening, there will be a farewell dinner with your guide.

Day 12 Tour ends

On our final day we say farewell. If you wish to stay a few days longer we will be happy to help.

 

WALKING LEVEL

Easy/moderate - 4 days of walking and hiking from 2 to 5 hours per day on flat paths and mountain trails with some short climbs. This tour is suitable for those who are in reasonable shape and can walk over rough ground for up to 5 hours. Whilst on the trail you will need to carry a small to medium daypack.

 

 

PDFDownload detailed itinerary  

 

ACCOMMODATION ON THIS TOUR

Line
Ootaya Spacer

arrow Daikichi minshuku

Located along the Nakasendo trail in the post-town of Tsumago-juku, Daikichi is run by three generations of the same family and is one of the family-run minshuku we use in Tsumago.

Rengejoinarrow Saizenin

One of the many temples in Mount Koya that cater to pilgrims, Saizenin is run by the monks and you are welcome to join the early morning prayer service if you wish.

 

 

 

 

Other accommodation on this trip

 

Chozo-goya

arrow Ise-ya (Narai) - one of several family-run minshuku in the village of Narai that we use. The building is a traditional merchants house.

Nyuto Onsen arrow Ryokan Kato (Yoshino) - a wonderful location in the small mountain-top village of Yoshino

 

Also

Koma-no-yu (Kiso Fukushima) - a luxurious hot spring ryokan in the hills above the Kiso Valley.

 

Shiba Park Hotel (Tokyo) - a modern and comfortable hotel in the heart of Tokyo

 

ACCOMMODATION NOTES

We have chosen each accommodation carefully for their comfort, service and personal service. On several nights we use Japanese-style accommodation with shared bathrooms and toilets. These generally have seperate male and female bathing areas. Couples or those travelling together will have their own room, while single travellers may be asked to share with another member of the group (same sex only).

Line

 

TOUR COMMENTS

"Group size was perfect! ...We would like to thank Kazuyo for her helpfulness and willingness to accommodate everybodys wishes and needs. Her energy and passion for introducing is to Japanese culture, beliefs and way of life were a big asset for this trip." D Fischer, Germany

More comments...

 

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Travel by regular and bullet train, local bus, accommodation, entrance fees, breakfasts & 7 evening meals are included.

Not Included are international flights, drinks with meals, lunches and 4 evening meals, airport transfers. The trip ends at the hotel in Kyoto.

SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT

There is a single room supplement of $450 per person. We ask our solo travellers to pay a single supplement, which guarantees you a room to yourself at the western-style hotels on the tour. At the Japanese inns on the tour, tatami-mat rooms are culturally less 'intimate' spaces than western bedrooms and Japanese guests travelling with acquaintances are accustomed to sharing. We follow this Japanese custom and will ask you to share a tatami-mat room with another group member of the same gender. We will never ask you to share with someone of the opposite gender or someone outside our group. If you are a solo traveller willing to share a room throughout the tour with another solo traveller of the same gender, please let us know. We will happily refund the single supplement if we can find you a room-mate before the tour starts. Please see our booking conditions for further information.

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12-13 Minimum: 4

1. Send us your phone number and we will call you

2. Fill in our contact form

3. Call toll-free 1-888-683-4929 (from 6am to 1pm EST Monday to Friday

 

Reserve now Ask a question

 

Tour Itinerary

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Day 1 Meet in Tokyo

Meet at the hotel in the evening. There will be a welcome dinner at a nearby restaurant.

 

Accommodation: Hotel (4*)

Day 2 Tokyo

Our first full day in Japan will be spent on a walking tour of Tokyo, starting at Nihonbashi (the ‘Japan Bridge’) considered to be the ‘centre of Japan’ and the zero marker point for all Japan’s main roads since the Edo period. Afterwards, we visit Ueno and the Tokyo National Museum to see exhibits illuminating Japan of the Edo era, the heyday of the Nakasendo Trail. (If the Museum is closed because of a national holiday, we will visit the Kappabashi district, famous for selling kitchenware and small plastic models of food used in restaurant displays.) We continue on to the grand Meiji shrine and the fashionable Harajuku district. In the evening your tour guide will be on hand to offer suggestions for restaurants for dinner.

 

Accommodation: Hotel (4*)

Day 3 Nakasendo Trail walking day 1

Our journey through rural Japan begins with a journey from Tokyo to the remote Kiso valley. Over the next three days we will walk by day from village to village, staying by night in small, family-run country inns (ryokan). Our luggage will be taken by road allowing us to carry just a light daypack. After a lunch of buckwheat noodles in the local town of Shiojiri, we will walk 1.5 miles to Narai from Hirasawa, one of 11 ‘post-towns’ along the Kiso valley section of the Nakasendo. Post-towns were resting places, where travelers could find accommodation and food as they walked between Kyoto and Edo (as Tokyo was then called). Hirasawa is known for its locally-produced lacquer ware, and there may be a chance to see the craftsmen at work. Stay in Narai, a beautifully-preserved post-town. Our lodgings will be an atmospheric traditional ryokan.

 

Walking: 1.5 miles, 1 hour (negligible ascent or descent)

 

Accommodation: Minshuku (guesthouse)

Day 4 Nakasendo Trail walking day 2

On our second day there will be a 5-mile walk from Narai to Yabuhara over Torii Pass and then we will continue by train to Kiso-Fukushima. There we will stay in a lovely traditional ryokan with its own natural hot spring. Soak in the indoor baths made of cypress wood or try the outdoor baths surrounded by trees.

 

Walking: 5 miles, 3 hours (ascent and descent of 270 metres)

 

Accommodation: Hot spring Ryokan (travellers' inn)

Day 5 Nakasendo Trail walking day 3

We will transfer from Kiso-Fukushima to Nojiri by train, and then there is short transfer by taxi, followed by a 9-mile walk along the Nakasendo to Tsumago. Only twenty years go it was falling into disrepair, but through a concerted effort of its residents, it has been saved and restored. We arrive in the small village in the afternoon, passing along the way through delightful small villages and rice fields. Another of the post-towns on the former Nakasendo trail, Tsumago has been preserved by strict self-imposed rules that prohibit the sale, rental or destruction of the handsome houses. It’s a living museum, but one which is still inhabited by the local residents. We will arrive in the afternoon, with a little time to wander the streets, tasting gohei-mochi, skewered balls of pounded sticky rice covered in a sweet paste of miso, sesame and walnuts.

 

Walking: 9 miles, 4 hours (ascent 620 metres and descent 860 metres)

 

Accommodation: Minshuku (guesthouse)

Day 6 Nakasendo Trail walking day 4 & Osaka

From Tsumago we will walk the 4 miles to Magome, our last stop in the Kiso Valley. You will have lunch in Magome and time to explore the many small shops. We will transfer by train to Osaka and check in to our hotel.

 

Walking: 4 miles, 2.5 hours (ascent 415 metres and descent of 240 metres).

 

Accommodation: Hotel (4*)

Day 7 Nara

We will take the train to Nara and have a guided walk in the morning. Many of Japan’s greatest cultural treasures are concentrated in and around the city, with eight UNESCO World Heritage sites - Todai-ji Temple, Kofuku-ji Temple, Kasuga Taisha Shrine, Kasugayama Primeval Forest, Nara Palace Site, Ganko-ji Temple, Yakushi-ji Temple and Toshoda-ji Temple. Many of these sites are in or near Nara Park, home to a thousand or more free-roaming deer. We will visit two of these World Heritage sites including Todaiji temple -its Daibutsu-den is the largest wooden building in the world, housing a 16-metre tall image of the Rushana Buddha in bronze and gold. Prior to being rebuilt three hundred years ago, the awesome wooden structure was even bigger than it is today. In the afternoon we will visit Nigatsu-do or Kasuga Taisha Shrine. There will then be some free time to relax or wander through the old town before returning to Osaka by train.

 

Accommodation: Hotel (4*)

Day 8 Yoshino

From Osaka our journey takes us to the ridge top village of Yoshino, and a comfortable ryokan. We will visit Yoshimizu Temple (connected to historical figures such as Minamoto no Yoshitsune, Emperor Godaigo, and Toyotomi Hideyoshi), and explore the area.

 

Accommodation: Ryokan (travellers' inn)

Day 9 Mount Koya

From Yoshino we will take the scenic train to Mount Koya, situated in a bowl-shaped valley filled with stands of cedar trees 800 metres up in the mountains of the Kii Peninsula. Since the 9th century, when the monk Kukai (also known as Kobo Daishi) founded the first temple and the Shingon sect of Buddhism, Mount Koya has been a place of religious devotion and ceremony. Today there are more than 100 monasteries, many of which have shukubo (temple lodgings). We will stay in one of the elegant temples, run by the monks, and dine on shojin-ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine). There will be a guided walk through the vast Okuno-in cemetery, with thousands of graves and memorials to feudal lords and other past luminaries.

 

Accommodation: Shukubo (pilgrim's lodging)

Day 10 Transfer to Kyoto

There will be the opportunity to get up early and join the Buddhist morning service if you wish. Afterwards, we will visit Kongobu-ji temple, the head temple of the Shingon sect. After lunch, we will travel by train to Kyoto. After checking in at the hotel, we can enjoy an evening walk in Gion, Kyoto’s geisha district and there is always the possibility of seeing a geisha or maiko (apprentice geisha) making their way through the narrow streets.

 

Accommodation: Hotel (4*)

Day 11 Kyoto

There will be a half-day walking tour this morning. First of all we will visit the Sanjo-ohashi Bridge - the western end of the Nakasendo. From there, we will visit the Gion district then stroll through Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka streets where there are many old shops. Afterwards we will visit the famous Kiyomizu-dera temple - built in the 8th century - which has one of the most beautiful views of the city. There will be free time in the afternoon so you can explore the area further or shop for crafts. In the evening, there will be a farewell dinner with your guide.

 

Accommodation: Hotel (4*)

Day 12 Tour ends

On our final day we say farewell. If you wish to stay a few days longer we will be happy to help.

WALKING LEVEL

Easy/moderate - 4 days of walking and hiking from 2 to 5 hours per day on flat paths and mountain trails with some short climbs. This tour is suitable for those who are in reasonable shape and can walk over rough ground for up to 5 hours. Whilst on the trail you will need to carry a small to medium daypack.

 

 

PDFDownload detailed itinerary  

 

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Travel by regular and bullet train, local bus, accommodation, entrance fees, breakfasts & 7 evening meals are included.

Not Included are international flights, drinks with meals, lunches and 4 evening meals. The trip ends at the hotel in Kyoto.

CONTACT US

1. Send us your phone number and we will call you

2. Fill in our contact form

3. Call toll-free 1-888-683-4929 (from 6am to 1pm EST Monday to Friday

 

Reserve now Ask a question

 

Dates & Prices

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Tour dates Availability Price  
       
2015      
23 March - 03 April Guaranteed $4030 BOOK
30 March - 10 April Full $4030 BOOK
06 - 17 April Guaranteed $4030 BOOK
13 - 24 April Full $4030 BOOK
19 - 30 April Guaranteed $4030 BOOK
04 - 15 May Guaranteed $4030 BOOK
13 - 24 July Spaces $4030 BOOK
05 - 16 October Guaranteed $4030 BOOK
14 - 25 October Guaranteed $4030 BOOK
19 - 30 October Guaranteed $4030 BOOK
02 - 13 November Guaranteed $4030 BOOK
       
To book, please select 'Book' from the link above.
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Tour starts in Tokyo and ends in Kyoto. The first day of the tour is the arrival day, and you will depart one day earlier from most international destinations.

 

Legend  
Spaces Tour is available
Guaranteed Tour is available and guaranteed to run
Please enquire Tour has limited space available - please contact Oku Japan
Full Tour is full

 

 

 

PDFDownload detailed itinerary  

 

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Travel by regular and bullet train, local bus, accommodation, entrance fees, breakfasts & 7 evening meals are included.

Not Included are international flights, drinks with meals, lunches and 4 evening meals. The trip ends at the hotel in Kyoto.

SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT

There is a single room supplement of $450 per person. We ask our solo travellers to pay a single supplement, which guarantees you a room to yourself at the western-style hotels on the tour. At the Japanese inns on the tour, tatami-mat rooms are culturally less 'intimate' spaces than western bedrooms and Japanese guests travelling with acquaintances are accustomed to sharing. We follow this Japanese custom and will ask you to share a tatami-mat room with another group member of the same gender. We will never ask you to share with someone of the opposite gender or someone outside our group. If you are a solo traveller willing to share a room throughout the tour with another solo traveller of the same gender, please let us know. We will happily refund the single supplement if we can find you a room-mate before the tour starts. Please see our booking conditions for further information.

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12-13 Minimum: 4

WHAT'S INCLUDED

1. Send us your phone number and we will call you

2. Fill in our contact form

3. Call toll-free 1-888-683-4929 (from 6am to 1pm EST Monday to Friday

 

Ask a question

 

Accommodation on this tour

Spacer Spacer
Line
Ootaya Spacer

arrow Daikichi minshuku

Located along the Nakasendo trail in the post-town of Tsumago-juku, Daikichi is run by three generations of the same family and is one of the family-run minshuku we use in Tsumago.

Rengejoinarrow Saizenin

One of the many temples in Mount Koya that cater to pilgrims, Saizenin is run by the monks and you are welcome to join the early morning prayer service if you wish.

 

 

 

 

Other accommodation on this trip

 

Chozo-goya

arrow Ise-ya (Narai) - one of several family-run minshuku in the village of Narai that we use. The building is a traditional merchants house.

Nyuto Onsen arrow Ryokan Kato (Yoshino) - a wonderful location in the small mountain-top village of Yoshino

 

Also

Koma-no-yu (Kiso Fukushima) - a luxurious hot spring ryokan in the hills above the Kiso Valley.

 

Shiba Park Hotel (Tokyo) - a modern and comfortable hotel in the heart of Tokyo

 

ACCOMMODATION NOTES

We have chosen each accommodation carefully for their comfort, service and personal service. On several nights we use Japanese-style accommodation with shared bathrooms and toilets. These generally have seperate male and female bathing areas. Couples or those travelling together will have their own room, while single travellers may be asked to share with another member of the group (same sex only).

Line

 

PDFDownload detailed itinerary  

 

CONTACT US

 

Reserve now Ask a question

Tour Reviews

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"The office support was very good from the people behind the scenes. I would have no hesitation in recommending Oxalis Holidays especially the Nakasendo Trail"
A Hill, England

 

"The tour has an excellent mix of walks and visits to places of interest. It's amazing what was included in only 12 days"
A Watkinson, England

 

"Couldn't have been better - [the guiding] made an excellent holiday very very special"
P Haynes, England

 

"We are very impressed with the relevant information supplied a few months before the trip. Most helpful. This has been a well-thought out and executed trip in order to give us an authentic Japanese experience. Well done! Thank you."
V Dart, Australia

 

"Group size was perfect! ...We would like to thank Kazuyo for her helpfulness and willingness to accommodate everybodys wishes and needs. Her energy and passion for introducing is to Japanese culture, beliefs and way of life were a big asset for this trip." D Fischer, Germany

 

"My husband and I just returned this morning from "The Nakasendo Trail." It is really a tour worth waiting for (3 Years). We could not make it during the 1st Year as it was already too late - we had other commitments. However we paid to join the following year, then the "Tsunami' came and finally we made it this year. We are immensely impressed by Ms Kana Hattori who organized everything, getting our group ready to be on time for the trains and buses; weather reports for the day and after; description of the routes that we are going to take, the lunch breaks - and explanation of each individual item of food on our menu plus her knowledge of the history of the towns along the trails... Well I would say she really pack "a huge wallop". I did not walk as fast as the others, but she and the group were fantastic, encouraging and waiting for me. I am very proud to be able to complete the trail - at the age of 70 years old. I learned so much, seen so much, ate so much, talked too much, and lastly I will definitely come again. Thank you."

C K Chang, Malaysia

 

 

PDFDownload detailed itinerary  

 

CONTACT US

1. Send us your phone number and we will call you

2. Fill in our contact form

3. Call toll-free 1-888-683-4929 (from 6am to 1pm EST Monday to Friday

 

Reserve now Ask a question

 

Trip level

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Our Nakasendo Trail tour includes four days of walking in the Kiso Valley from two to five hours per day, along a mixture of paved village paths and dirt trails. The trail is well-maintained however there are some steady climbs over low passes which require some stamina. On the longest day (Day 5) it is possible to opt for a shorter one-hour section.

We also have guided walking in Nara, Yoshino and Kyoto as a part of the sightseeing there.

 

We recommend bringing a day pack on the trail to carry overnight items such as rain gear, water bottle, etc. Your main suitcase will be sent ahead by overnight courier on three occasions to avoid the need for you to carry it when travelling. Traditional Japanese accommodations provide yukata (cotton robes) for wearing after checking-in, slippers, towels, soap, shampoo, etc. so it is possible (and much more pleasant) to travel lightly in Japan. You won't need a second pair of shoes or evening wear, except possibly in the cities. It's worth noting that Japanese trains and buses rarely have a dedicated place to put large pieces of luggage.

You will need sturdy footwear, ideally boots which are water-repellant and have a firm sole and good ankle support. Break-in any new footwear before you come to avoid blisters. Trekking poles will be useful on some sections if you have them. We provide a full packing list which will be sent to you after booking.

Who is this walk for?

  • We recommend this walk for anyone who does occasional walking or hiking, and is comfortable to walk for half a day with some climbing and descending.
  • If you do not excercise regularly, then we highly recommend a program of walking to prepare and get the most out of your trip. We will be happy to give you tips, but it is best to prepare by doing walks of two to three hours starting about three months before your trip.
  • This walk can be completed by people of all ages, though we advise you to check with your doctor if you are unsure and especially if you have any medical conditions.
  • Generally doing the route in the spring or autumn is less physically demanding as the summer is fairly hot and humid at lower altitudes.

Walking or hiking?

We use the term 'walking' to describe what might be also be called hiking, rambling, tramping, randonee (French), wandern (German), senderismo (Spanish) or escursione (Italian); depending on what country you live in. For some, walking is what you do on level paths, whereas hiking is in the hills. Our trips involve a mixture of the two, but we use the term walking as the trips follow old trails used for travel and trade in medieval Japan and keep below the 'tree line', and to distinguish from many hiking trails in Japan which lead to mountain summits. For example, climbing Mount Fuji in the summer season when it is free of snow is more accurately called hiking!

 

 

 

PDFDownload detailed itinerary  

 

CONTACT US

1. Send us your phone number and we will call you

2. Fill in our contact form

3. Call 'toll-free 1-888-683-4929 (from 6am to 1pm EST Monday to Friday)

 

Ask a question

 

Call toll-free 1-888-683-4929

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