The Nakasendo or 'Road through the Central Mountains' was part of feudal Japan's network of highways. Travellers moving between Kyoto and Tokyo took several days to travel the Nakasendo, staying overnight in Juku post towns. Today's visitors can walk sections of the original route by day and stay in local inns by night.
All our self-guided Nakasendo Trail tours offer the opportunity to spend a leisurely second night at the traditional Japanese inn in Kiso-Fukushima, part-way along the trail. Please ask for information about our tour extensions; 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.
Learn more about how our resident staff support our guests in interacting with locals in the village of Tsumago along the Nakasendo trail, and how we we foster relationships with, and contribute to the community by visiting our local Nakasendo branch page.
Daily luggage transfer is available as an optional extra service - read about luggage options here
We happily welcome younger walkers on to our trips with an accompanying adult. We offer a 10% price reduction for children (6-11) and an 80% price reduction for infants (0-5). Please contact us for specific hiking, meal or bedding enquiries.
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.
Walking distance: 8.3km / 5.2 miles
Elevation gain: 326m / 1,069 feet of ascent and 430m / 1,410 feet of descent
Time required: About 3 hours
Accommodation: Minshuku (Family-run Guesthouse)
Daikichi Minshuku - Located in the post-town of Tsumago, Daikichi is run by three generations of the same family. We use a range of family-run Minshuku in the villages of Tsumago and O-Tsumago.
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 town. Complimentary transfer from the station is provided by the Ryokan. The Ryokan has lovely indoor and outdoor hot-spring baths.
Walking distance: 18.4km/ 11.5 miles
Elevation gain: 723m / 2,275 feet of ascent and 644m / 2,112 feet of descent
Time required: About 6 hours
We offer a shorter alternative of 1 hour (3.7km / 2.3 miles). You can choose which option you prefer on the day - no need to decide in advance!
Accommodation: Onsen Ryokan (Hot-spring Travellers Inn)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Komanoyu - A comfortable hot-spring Ryokan above Kiso-Fukushima, with indoor and outdoor baths - perfect after a day of hiking!
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 boarding your train for the journey onwards to Kyoto or to Tokyo, arriving late afternoon.
Walking distance: 6.2km / 3.9 miles
Elevation gain: 344m / 1,128 feet of ascent and 270m / 885 feet of descent
Time required: About 3 hours
In Kiso-Fukushima we offer an optional, fairly strenuous, circular walk to a local waterfall. The circular walk is 7km / 4.3 miles with 632m / 2,075 feet of ascent, 637m / 2,090 feet of descent and takes 2-3 hours. You can take this walk in the morning, before heading onwards to Yabuhara.