Nakasendo and Kamikochi Further walking 10 days

Villages of old Japan and beyond

Highlights

  • Bathe in thermal waters at hot-spring Ryokan on every evening
  • Village to village walking on the loveliest parts of the old Nakasendo Trail
  • Visit the exquisitely-preserved villages of Magome, Tsumago and Narai
  • Visit the the engaging castle towns of Matsumoto and Takayama
  • Walking 9 hikes in the picturesque Kiso Valley, secluded Oku-Hida and biodiverse Kamikochi and Nikko
Enjoy the best forest walks and Juku post towns on the feudal Nakasendo route, before heading into the Oku-Hida mountains to explore the biodiverse Kamikochi, ending the tour with excellent hiking and Onsen in Oku-Nikko.
Enjoy the best forest walks and Juku post towns on the feudal Nakasendo route, before heading into the Oku-Hida mountains to explore the biodiverse Kamikochi, ending the tour with excellent hiking and Onsen in Oku-Nikko.

Please ask for information about our tour extensions; spend more time in the Hida region with our Takayama extension, visiting the UNESCO thatched-roof community of Shirakawa-go and the wonderful teahouses of Kanazawa; enjoy spectacular views of Mount Fuji from the Hakone hot spring area and the rural village of Oshino Mura, or the peaceful, agricultural community of Asuka at a charming Japanese inn or with a local family for a unique homestay experience.

 
Daily luggage transfer is available as an optional extra service on some sections of the trail - read about luggage options here
 
This tour offers more advanced hiking. Please see here for trips best suited to families.
 
 Downloadable PDF itinerary 

What′s included

  • 9 nights at Japanese Onsen Ryokan inns
  • 9 breakfasts and 9 dinners
  • Train tickets from Kyoto or Tokyo to the trail and ending in Tokyo
  • Train tickets for intermediate journeys on the Nakasendo trail and on to Nikko
  • Detailed day-by-day itinerary and walking directions
  • Topographical maps
  • Local support by telephone

What′s not included

  • Flights
  • Airport transfers
  • Pay locally for drinks with meals and for lunches
  • Single room supplement(s) if required
  • Pay locally for bus journeys on Day 1 and 4-10

Day 1 Hike from Magome to Tsumago and Nagiso

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. After another short optional section along the Nakasendo trail, spend the night at an Onsen Ryokan, a short drive from the main village of Tsumago.

 
Walking distance: 11km / 7.5 miles
Elevation gain: 425m / 1,400 feet of ascent and 545m / 1,795 feet of descent
Time required: About 4 hours
All hiking is skippable, and a shorter hike of 3 hours (8.3km / 5.2 miles) is also possible today.
 
Accommodation: Onsen Ryokan (Hot-spring Travellers Inn) or Onsen Hotel in Tsumago
Meals: Dinner

 

Day 2 Hike from Nagiso to Nojiri

The longest day on the trail is a beautiful and varied hike from Nagiso to Nojiri. The trail travels through small valleys and past forests of bamboo and Japanese cedar, with some of the least-developed scenery on the tour. Continue by train to Kiso-Fukushima and stay at a lovely hot spring Ryokan set in a peaceful valley above the town. Complimentary transfer from the station is provided by the Ryokan). The Ryokan has lovely indoor and outdoor hot-spring baths.
 
Walking distance: 14.7km/ 9.2 miles
Elevation gain: 625m / 1,945 feet of ascent and 530m / 1,730 feet of descent
Time required: About 5 hours
 
Accommodation: Onsen Ryokan (Hot-spring Travellers Inn) in Kiso-Fukushima
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
 

Komanoyu

A comfortable hot-spring Ryokan above Kiso-Fukushima, with indoor and outdoor baths - perfect after a day of hiking!

 

 

 

 

Day 3 Hiking in the Kiso-Fukushima region

A day to relax and explore the historic Kiso-Fukushima. Our optional walk today travels through a quiet scenic forest before taking in key areas of the town.

Stay at another lovely hot spring Ryokan in the town.

Walking distance: 7km / 4.3 miles
Elevation gain: 630m/2,075 feet of ascent and 635m/2,090 feet of descent
Time required: About 2-3 hours of optional walking

Accommodation: Onsen Ryokan (Hot-spring Travellers Inn) in Kiso-Fukushima
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

 

Day 4 Hike from Yabuhara to Narai and Hirasawa

Today travel by train for the short journey from Kiso-Fukushima to Yabuhara, the starting point for the hike over the Torii pass to Narai. Explore this evocative village before a short walk to Kiso-Hirasawa, an historic lacquerware town. From here head on by train and bus to your inn for the evening; another wonderful Onsen Ryokan.

Walking distance: 8.7km / 5.5 miles
Elevation gain: 345m / 1,130 feet of ascent and 270m / 885 feet of descent
Time required: About 4 hours
An easier walk of 6.2km / 3.9 miles taking 3 hours is also possible.
 
Accommodation: Onsen Ryokan (Hot-spring Travellers Inn) close to Matsumoto
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

 

Day 5 Hiking in the Kamikochi wetlands

Travel by bus to the biodiverse wetlands of Kamikochi; a popular site for nature hiking, featuring dramatic mountain and lake scenery. Head onwards to a secluded Onsen Ryokan village in Oku-Hida for the evening.

 
Walking distance: 10.2km / 6.4 miles
Elevation gain: negligible ascent and descent
Time required: About 3-4 hours of optional hiking
A shorter walk of 3.2km / 2 miles and 1.5 hours is also possible.
 
Accommodation: Ryokan (Travellers Inn) in Oku-Hida
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

 

 

Day 6 Hiking in Oku-Hida and transfer on to Karuizawa

Today enjoy a hike in the mountains of Oku-Hida (also referred to as Okuhida), providing stunning views out over the local range. Travel by bus to Matsumoto first and Karuizawa where you will stay this evening. As an alternative to the walk, you may like to visit Takayama, an engaging historic town before heading onwards. Takayama is well-known for its crafts, particularly yew-wood carving, Shunkei lacquerware, pottery and furniture. You may also wish to explore the ruins of Takayama castle and walk along the east-side temples before visiting Karuizawa.
 
Walking distance: 6.6km / 4.1 miles
Elevation gain: 700m / 2,300 feet of ascent and descent
Time required: About 3-3.5 hours of optional hiking

Accommodation: Onsen Ryokan (Hot-spring Travellers Inn) or Hotel in Karuizawa
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

 

 

 

 

 

Day 7 Hike from Karuizawa to Yokokawa and transfer to Nikko

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 three hours and you will arrive in Nikko in the late afternoon.
 
Walking distance: 10.4km / 6.5 miles
Elevation gain: negible ascent and 830m / 2,800 feet of descent
Time required: About 3-4 hours
The walk can be shortened by 3.3km / 2 miles by a taxi ride at the start of the day.

Accommodation: Onsen Ryokan (Hot-spring Travellers Inn) in Nikko
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

 

Day 8 Hike from Ryuzu Falls to Yumoto Onsen

This morning, take a bus further into the mountains to Oku Nikko (also called Okunikko).  The forests and mountains here have been sacred to the Japanese for 1,200 years, and your first hike in the area is a gentle introduction to the region following the Yukawa River towards the Onsen village of Nikko Yumoto where you will spend the evening. The hike also takes in two spectacular waterfalls - Ryuzu and Yudaki Falls.

Distance: 8.4km / 5.2 miles
Time required: 3-4 hours
Ascent/descent: 295m / 970 feet of ascent and 90m / 295 feet of descent
 
Accommodation: Onsen Ryokan (Hot-spring Travellers Inn)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
 
Typical Accommodation
Itaya Onsen Ryokan
Located in the Onsen village of Yumoto to the west of central Nikko, Itaya Onsen Ryokan affords a relaxing base to explore the area, with comfortable Japanese-style rooms, good meals and terrific natural thermal baths.

 

 

 

 

Day 9 Hiking in the Oku Nikko plains

Heading north-east from Yumoto Onsen, today's hike offers exceptional scenery along the Oku Nikko plains, skirting both Mount Mitsudake and Mount Orogura. The trail loops around to the south before returning to Yumoto Onsen for a second night. Sightings of both monkeys and deer are common on this wonderfully rural trail.

Distance: 14.8km / 9.2 miles
Time required: 6-7 hours
Ascent/descent: 560m / 1,840 feet of ascent and 570m / 1,870 feet of descent
It is also possible to reduce the hike by 4.7km and 2 hours by skipping the final section of the walk with a local bus
 
Accommodation: Onsen Ryokan (Hot-spring Travellers Inn)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

 

 

 

Day 10 Return to Nikko and Tokyo

This morning, return by bus to central Nikko and then continue onwards to Tokyo by train. You can spend time exploring Nikko town if you wish, or you may prefer to connect straight onwards to Tokyo before lunch.