Start: Kyoto or Tokyo Finish: Tokyo
Physical rating: Medium, Moderate
Tour code: 4
Group size: 1 - 20
Tour operated in:
Extra tourhub saving: $32
Walk the loveliest sections of the Nakasendo Trail. Start from Kyoto or from Tokyo, spend 4 nights on the Nakasendo trail and travel onwards to Tokyo
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.
Location: Kyoto, Magome-juku, Tsumago-juku
Accommodation: Minshuku (Family-run Guesthouse)
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
Location: Tsumago-juku, Nagiso, Kiso-Fukushima Station
Accommodation: Onsen Ryokan (Hot-spring Travellers Inn)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
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 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: 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!
Location: Kiso-Fukushima Station, Yabuhara, Narai-juku
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 evocative village before check-in at your family-run inn in the heart of the village. Your hosts will serve a home-cooked Japanese dinner and breakfast.
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.
Location: Narai-juku, Kiso-Hirasawa Station, Matsumoto, Karuizawa
Accommodation: Ryokan (Travellers Inn)
After breakfast, walk the short distance to the small town of Kiso-Hirasawa, famous for its lacquerware. There are many small shops selling beautifully-crafted tableware and furniture. Board a train at Kiso-Hirasawa station for your onward journey to Karuizawa or Komoro for your final overnight stay. Both locations have lovely inns with a real sense of history and fine Japanese baths. Ride first to Matsumoto where you can visit the famous castle before connecting onwards to your final stop – total travel time by train is around three hours, not including the optional break of journey in Matsumoto. Arrive at your accommodation in time for a wonderful dinner with local produce.
Walking distance: 2.5km / 1.6 miles
Elevation gain: negligible ascent and descent
Time required: About 1 hour
Location: Karuizawa, Yokokawa Station, Tokyo
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 two hours and you will arrive in Tokyo in the late afternoon or early evening.
Walking distance: 16.7km / 10 miles
Elevation gain: 372m / 1,220 feet of ascent and 862m / 2,828 feet of descent
Time required: About 5-6 hours
The walk can be shortened by 3.3km / 2 miles by a taxi ride at the start of the day.
4 nights at Japanese inns along the Nakasendo Trail
Train tickets from Kyoto or Tokyo to the trail and from the trail to Tokyo
4 breakfasts and 4 dinners
Pay locally for drinks with meals and for lunches
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Yes, please ask at booking.
Tipping is not usual in Japan and is not expected at restaurants.
Yes, this is a self guided tour and you are free to travel at your own pace.
This is a self guided tour and there is no coach on this tour.
Our active tours generally have dedicated days of trail walking, with some days of over four hours and with some ascent and/or descent.
We recommend active tours for anyone who does regular walking or hiking, and is comfortable to walk for up to a full day with some climbing and descending.
This is a self guided tour and can be operated down to 1 person.
Please check with your nearest Japanese Embassy or Consulate. Right now visa requirements for entry are changeable. As per our booking terms and conditions, visas are the sole responsibility of travelers and there are no refunds for guests denied entry into Japan for not meeting the necessary entry requirements.
If Wi-Fi is available at the hotel or inn, it is typically offered free of charge.
Please check with your local Japanese Embassy or Consulate, but generally vaccinations are not required.
Yes. Hiking distances can be modified to be more comfortable. Please enquire.
This is a self guided tour. There are no guides on this tour. Documentation is in English.
Yes, we will send you your itinerary electronically with details of your accommodations at approximately 3 weeks prior to your departure.
This tour includes hand-picked accommodations - a mix of traditional inns and hotels that we have determined to provide the best insights into Japan.
Multiple Room Types
Multiple room types available. Choose your preferred room type when you book.
Extra TourHub Saving: $32