At a Glance
Master the art of time travel in Japan on this thrilling 4-day adventure through the 17th-century Nakasendo Trail. Soak up the Kiso Valley's beautiful nature, discover fascinating history and indulge in regional culinary delights as you hike through Edo-era villages, ancient forests, and dramatic mountain passes that adorn this iconic region from Kyoto to Matsumoto.
Begin your hike in the beautifully preserved post town of Magome, follow the trail and marvel at some of the most well-preserved treasures of the Nakasendo Way. Relax and savour culinary delights at the local restaurants before walking over Magome Pass to Tsumago. Visit the twice-right-angled Masugata Street and enjoy the feeling of stepping back in time as you explore the wonders of the pretty town. Walk through picturesque scenery as you tour Nojiri, turn around ...
- Enjoy Kiso region's culinary delights, with ingredients sourced from local and surrounding lush mountains. 3x breakfasts, 3x dinners
- 3 nights handpicked boutique accommodation along Nakasendo Way on a twin share basis. All rooms have ensuites
- Luggage transfers during walking
- Train tickets from Kyoto Station or Tokyo Station to Nakatsugawa Station (reserved seats, standard class) Upgrade to Green Class (First Class) train tickets are available at an additional cost
- Tickets for local trains
- Info pack (Nakasendo map, trip notes, train tickets) to be mailed to your nominated hotel in Japan
Level 2, Approx. 8 km (5 miles), 2-3 hours walking
Today, depart from Kyoto for the beautifully preserved village of Magome, a post town along the Nakasendo Way, to arrive at Kiso Valley, where your Nakasendo walking adventure begins. Situated in Nagano Prefecture, the Kiso Valley runs alongside the Central Alps mountains and is one of the five roads that branched off of the former Japanese capital. Along the valley, the Kisoji, a historic 70-kilometre trade route that served as an important means for trade in the region was established.
Make your way to Kyoto Station to begin the rail journey to Tsumago. After arriving in Nagoya on the Shinkansen, you will transfer to a limited express train bound for Nakatsugawa. From the station, a bus will take you to Magome (fee included). The entire trip takes roughly 2.5 hours.
At Nakatsugawa Station, your luggage will be transferred to your hotel for tonight.
After arriving in Magome, take a moment to refresh before continuing your walk to Tsumago. Ascending the hill in Magome, you'll come across vintage wooden eateries offering the three regional delicacies of gohei mochi, oyaki dumplings, and soba noodles. Savour the delicacies to your satisfaction and then follow the meandering path that leads up into the rural countryside, to see the breathtaking views of the mountains.
The picturesque village of Tsumago awaits you at the end of your stroll. Unlike Magome, all of the homes here are over 200 years old, and many people still live there. Among the post-towns that prospered throughout the Edo Period was Tsumago. During its Golden Age, traders and other aristocratic and notable individuals regularly travelled through the city for business and other official engagements. The residents of this small town worked together to save the majority of the remaining historic buildings, and in the later part of 1970, this town was designated as a Nationally Designated Architectural Preservation Site.
After soaking up the wonders of Tsumago, it's time to call it a day. Your accommodation tonight is the Hotel Fukinomori, a home away from home resort nestled amidst picturesque mountains and forest offering a great place to unwind. Nothing beats a relaxing dip in the hotel's outdoor hot springs in the cypress bathtub, which offers views of the forest, after a strenuous day of hiking the Nakasendo Way. Enjoy a restful night's sleep in either the Western or Japanese design cosy rooms all equipped with en suite facilities.
Savour a mouthwatering dinner consisting of regional cuisine, including the well-known Kiso Beef and hand-kneaded soba (noodles) prepared with buckwheat from the neighbouring Kaida Highland.
THREE HIKING OPTIONS:
We will transfer your main luggage to the hotel you will stay at tonight.
Savour a traditional Japanese breakfast before beginning today's journey to Nojiri, which is primarily uphill (on an elevation). Today's route takes you off-the-beaten track through cedar forests and tall bamboo groves connected by footbridges made of wood and rural mountain pathways.
Continue further on the trail to reach Nagiso, a town brimming with rich history, intriguing culture, stunning scenery, and the 1920s-era wooden Momosuke bridge. This is an ideal location to purchase beverages and snacks for the day. Don't miss the opportunity to savour the breathtaking scenery of the magnificent Kiso River that flows through the heart of Nagiso.
After walking 4 kilometres more on the Nakasendo Way, you will reach the popular Junikane Station, from where you can board a train (36 minutes) to Kiso-Fukushima. If you are in the mood for more kilometres, you can continue the walk on the Nakasendo Way to Nojiri, after which you can take a train from Nojiri Station to Kiso-Fukushima.
Traverse ahead to Yogawa road, where you take in alluring sights of terraced rice fields and mossy forests with plenty of bear bells to ring in case of approaching wildlife. At the Nenoue Pass, it’s a downhill trail until you reach Nojiri, then catch an onward train to Kiso-Fukushima (30 minutes ride), which is home to many lovely ryokans. Perhaps you’ll find time for a steaming onsen to soothe any aching muscles after a long day too.
You'll spend the night in one of the greatest traditional Japanese guesthouses on the Nakasendo Trail, Kiso-Fukushima, the hotel features both indoor and outdoor hot springs and is surrounded by lush scenery. After enjoying a sumptuous dinner made with locally sourced ingredients, settle into your cosy room equipped with modern amenities completed with plush furnishings for your ultimate convenience.
Level 2, Approx. 6 km (4 miles), 2-3 hours walking
Today, after a hearty breakfast, you can opt for a leisurely stroll to tour Kiso-Fukushima taking in all the excitement it offers. Afterwards, join a scenic 15-minute train ride from Kiso- Fukushima station to Yabuhara station where you get to explore the majestic Torii pass, an ancient trail between Yabuhara-juku and Narai-juku which used to be the most dangerous path in Nakasendo.
You have about 3 hours to discover the trail at your pace before you move further to tour the post town of Narai, also referred to as the "Narai of a Thousand Houses" for the many well-restored old buildings that now serve either as souvenir shops or as local restaurants. Here, you can visit many restaurants that serve local delicacies such as gohei-mochi (sticky rice cakes) and soba (buckwheat noodles). Merry at traditional inns and minshuku that serve as a convenient stopover for hikers en route.
At the end of the day, hop on the train (1 hour ride) from Narai Station to Matsumoto. (if you'd like to head to a different destination, please let us know and we can make alternate arrangements).
Your hotel tonight is Tobira Onsen Myojinkan situated in the heart of the Northern Alps. The tranquil resort offers you beautiful scenery and a great atmosphere to relax in nature. Enjoy the hot spring with an open view of lush landscapes that can be appreciated all year round.
Relish a refined dining experience of Kaiseki-style food which is a marvellous balance of textures, flavours, and colours, and savour organic French cuisine prepared by a talented chef who specialises in macrobiotic cuisine, before relaxing in your opulent room for a wonderful night's rest.
After a long trip, there is nothing better than unwinding in hot spring baths. Take a dip in the soothing alkaline waters and wash your aches away. For centuries these waters have been used therapeutically for various ailments and everyday tension.
After the refreshing morning bath, spend the rest of the morning savouring a hearty meal and toasting to your successful exploration of the majestic Nakasendo trail on foot these past three days. Bid farewell to your host and other travelers and transfer to Matsumoto Station where you can catch a train to your next destination.
Dates & Prices
Daily departure on request. Japanese holiday season surcharge applies. We will confirm the price at time of booking. Please contact us for group bookings.
- The departure point is Kyoto
- The finishing point is Matsumoto.
Departing from Tokyo can also be arranged. We can customise the itinerary to suit your travel needs.
Day 1 Magome to Tsumago Walk
Total Walking Distance: 8 km, approx. 3 hours
Day 2 Tsumago to Nojiri Walk (Yokawa Forest Route)
Total Walking Distance: Tsumago to Nojiri: approx. 18.4 km, approx. 6 hours. Elevation at 723 m.
Easier walking option: walk from Nagiso to Nojiri, 15.3km, 4-5 hours, by using local bus to shorten walking distance.
Day 3 Yabuhara to Narai Walk (Torii Pass)
Total Walking Distance: 6.3 km, approx. 3.5 hours
Japan's weather and climate features four distinct seasons.
Spring is from March to May. It's perhaps one of the very best times to visit Japan as temperatures are pleasantly warm without being too hot, with daytime temperatures ranging between 21°C to 26°C. The country is ablaze with beautiful white and pink cherry blossom and plenty festivals to enjoy.
Summer is from June to August and the country experiences a three to four-week rainy season. It is hot and humid during this time and temperatures are often in the high 30’s. If you plan on visiting Japan during the summer weather, northern areas such as Hokkaido or the mountains of Tohoku or Chubu are the most comfortable places to escape the heat.
Autumn is from September to November and is characterised by light breezes and cooler temperatures of around 8-10°C. It is also a wonderful time to visit Japan. The country turns into a haven of red and scarlet leaves which contrast strikingly against the deep blue clear skies and almost as impressive as the stunning cherry blossoms.
Winter is from December to February. It is a magical time to visit as the landscape is turned white with snow. It's the perfect time to go skiing or check out the hot springs, especially venture to the ski slopes of Hokkaido or Nagano. It's Okinawa is a great place to visit during the winter as it is not quite as cold as the rest of Japan’s weather.
Onlyluxe Travel acts as travel agency and work with different tour operators.
All pricing is in Australian dollars and are quoted on a per person twin share basis. A supplementary price is available (see below). Bookings are not confirmed until full payment and the signed Booking Form has been received by Onlyluxe Travel.
A non-refundable 30% deposit is payable within 7 days of your booking, with the final balance due 60 days prior to departure. If a booking is made 60 days or less before departure, the full payment is payable immediately. Last minute bookings are payable before arrival. Failure to pay on time may result in automatic cancellation of a booking with cancellation penalties payable to Onlyluxe Travel. If you pay by credit card or PayPal a surcharge will be added to the total price.
All accommodation is twin share. Single guests will share with someone of the same gender. If a single room is demanded, a supplementary price of will apply. The supplementary price refers to our quotation and needs to be stipulated at the time of booking.
General Cancellation Policies
- Outside of 60 days monies will be refunded less 30% of full fee
- Within 60 days prior to arrival all monies will be forfeited
- No refunds will be given in the event of non-arrival, any unused services or unused nights due to flight or weather disruption
- We strongly recommend guests protect themselves with travel insurance and medical insurance
Please Note: Cancellations must be advised in email and will take effect from the date they are received.
The participant agrees to indemnify Onlyluxe Travel, and its servant, tour operator and agents, in relation to any liability, loss and damage which the tour operator, or its servants and/or agents may incur as a result of the participants, negligence or misconduct during the tour.
Smoking is not permitted on the bus, or in tents or in other accommodation being used by tour operator at the time that a trip is being conducted.
Please consult travel consultant on age limit.
Changes to Itineraries
Local conditions may necessitate changes to sightseeing, walking and driving routes, camping and accommodation locations. While every effort will be made to provide the services and experiences as offered in our brochure, on our website, and in our trip letters, we reserve the right to vary your itinerary. In the event that we are forced to change your arrangements, substitute arrangements of a similar standard will be provided. The tour operator will not be liable where interruptions to itineraries are caused by weather conditions, technical problems to transport used by the tour operator, industrial action, political or civil commotion or other circumstances beyond our control. We refer you to the conditions regarding travel insurance.
Changes in Prices
While we will do its utmost to honour its pricing unforeseen circumstances may mean that prices may be subject to change without notice.
Pre-Existing Medical Conditions and Age Limits
You need to advise Onlyluxe travel and the tour operator on any pre-existing medical condition, mobility impairment and/or disability that might reasonably be expected to increase the risk of your requiring medical attention, or that might affect the normal conduct of a trip and the enjoyment of other trip members. Onlyluxe Travel and the tour operator may require an assessment of your medical condition from a qualified medical practitioner. If you fail to adequately notify the tour operator of any pre-existing medical conditions and/or disability, the tour operator reserves the right, at its reasonable discretion, to cancel your participation in a trip at any time, including after the commencement of your trip, with no right of refund if your medical condition, mobility impairment and/or disability could be reasonably expected to affect the normal conduct of the trip and the enjoyment of other trip members.
Cancellation by The Tour Operator
The walks take place in very special wilderness settings. The tour operator is at the mercy of nature in all her beauty and all her fury. The tour operator will under no circumstance knowingly place at risk the health and well-being of our guests and guides. In the case of natural threats, acts of God and the like (e.g. bushfires, impassable snow, etc) the tour operator may need to cancel a walk with very little notice. In some cases, this can occur after the walk has commenced. The tour operator reserves the right to cancel any walk up to 60 days prior to departure if a minimum of 4 walkers are unable to meet for a tour. If the tour operator needs to cancel for any reason, the cost of the walk or any other costs associated with travel to the designated pick up point, overnight accommodation, meals, etc will not be covered by the Onlyluxe Travel and therefore we strongly recommend travel insurance be taken out prior to travel.
'Force Majeure' means (without restriction) any event which Onlyluxe Travel or its third party providers could not, even with due care, foresee or avoid. Force Majeure covers events such as, but not limited to, adverse weather conditions, fire and all similar events beyond our control. In the case of Force Majeure Onlyluxe Travel will not accept liability, and reserves the right to change and cancel trips.
In rare circumstances, due to injury or unforeseen illness, the tour operator may need to evacuate you from a remote part of the walk. Helicopter evacuations are expensive and in most cases will be at a cost to the customer.
For Australian residents, under the Australian Government Medicare Act, it is prohibited for any domestic travel insurance product to provide any financial reimbursement with regard to ambulance or air ambulance services. We therefore strongly advise our customers to take specific ambulance cover through their health insurance provider. Evacuation cost will not be covered by the Onlyluxe Travel and therefore it is also strongly recommended that our customers take out travel insurance to cover (amongst other things) the costs associated with evacuation.
In view of the heavy cancellation penalties applied to cancelled reservations in certain circumstances, we strongly recommends suitable travel insurance be purchased at the time the holding deposit is paid. We recommend insurance cover that covers any loss which may be suffered due to cancellation. We also strongly recommend comprehensive travel insurance against loss of baggage and medical expenses.