Want to taste the Japanese cuisine in a traditional Ryokans? Join our Japan journey along the ancient Nakasendo route used by the emperors during the Edo period. Follow in thepaths of Edo Period Emperors as you walk among valleys and forests, explore ancient villages, and dine on authentic cuisine!
This snowshoe tour follows Nakasendo Way, the very path that Emperors once took on their journey to Kyoto. As you take this historic trail, you will encounter the preserved post-town of Tsumago, the peaceful hot-springs at Kiso-Fukushima, and the sacred Gongentaki Falls, whose god – the story goes – brought victory to a Japanese General. On foot and on train, gaze out at the picturesque mountains and weave through enchanting forests of bamboo and Japanese cedar. The route takes you to villages with artisan shops, restaurants and inns with delicious traditional dishes, and even the ancient Matsumoto Castle, one of the country's premier historic landmarks. As you walk in the shadow of the emperors, spend your nights in luxurious Ryokan and family style minishuku, traditional Japanese lodgings for the royalty and lesser members of the entourage.
Classic Inn to Inn: from $5450
December and January are the only time when this trip is available for snowshoeing.
1: Meet in Tokyo, travel by train and bus to Magome
Today you meet your guide for the trip and begin your journey on the Nakasendo Trail by traveling to the post town of Magome. Almost completely destroyed by fire in 1895, the town has been lovingly brought back to life with the combined hard work of the Japanese Government and the local residents. Once checked in to our traditional accommodation for the night, we have the remainder of the day to explore the small shops dotted along the main street of the town or walk up to a viewpoint that offers spectacular views of the area.
2: Walk from Magome to Tsumago
Our journey along the Nakasendo Trail truly begins today with a track 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.
Walking: 5.2 mi / 8.3 km, Elevation gain: 326m / 1,069 feet of ascent and 430m / 1,410 feet of descent , Meals: B L D
3: Walk from Tsumago to Nojiri
The longest day on the trail is a beautiful and varied snowshoe from Tsumago to Nojiri. The trail travels through small valleys and past forests of bamboo and Japanese cedar, through some of the least-developed scenery on the tour. We will then 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: 11.5 mi / 18.4 km, Elevation gain: 723m / 2,275 feet of ascent and 644m / 2,112 feet of descent, Meals: B L D
4: Morning walk to Gongentaki Falls. Afternoon visit to local Sake Brewery
Today we'll take a picturesque but short trip to Gongentaki Falls. During the Heian period, the General Kiso Yoshinaka fought fiercely with the powerful Heike clan. It is said that he prayed to the god of Gongentaki Waterfall, Ontake Daigongen, for victory. The trail will take us along a river path with a steep ascent to the falls, from here we'll enjoy the gentle descent back into the town with its wonderful views. After lunch, we'll visit a traditional sake brewery to learn about how sake is made. Sake is only brewed in the cooler months, when the delicate koji molds can work their magic and provide the necessary fermentation.
Walking: 4.3 mi / 7 km, Elevation gain: 632m / 2,075 feet of ascent and 637m / 2,090 feet of descent, Meals: B L D
5: Walk from Kiso-Fukushima to Narai
The Ryokan will drive us back to Kiso-Fukushima after breakfast for us to take the short journey from Kiso-Fukushima to Yabuhara, the starting point for the snowshoe over the Torii pass to Narai. We'll have a chance to explore this atmospheric village before check-in to our family-run inn in the heart of the village for the evening.
Walking: 3.9 mi / 6.2 km, Elevation gain: 344m / 1,128 feet of ascent and 270m / 885 feet of descent, Meals: B L D
6: Walk from Narai to Kiso-Hirasawa
After breakfast, we'll begin the short trip to the town of Kiso-Hirasawa, famous for its lacquer ware. We'll spend time exploring the small shops selling beautifully-crafted tableware and furniture, learning about the how these are made. From here we board a train at Kiso-Hirasawa station for your onward journey to Karuizawa for your final overnight stay.
Walking: 1.6 mi / 2.5 km, Terrain: flat, Meals: B L D
7: Onward travel to Tokyo
After breakfast we begin our journey back to Tokyo where our tour ends.
Pedalers does not provide footwear or daypacks for this trip. Guests need to arrive with suitable footwear, daypacks and waterbottles. Daypacks need to be large enough to carry clothing for an overnight stop, as baggage can not be transferred daily.
Tour meets in Tokyo, Japan (HND or NRT), fly in before 6 am on Day 1.
Tour ends in Tokyo, Japan (HND or NRT), fly out after noon on Day 7.
Most fight schedules require arriving the day before, hotel provided. Passports required for all guests. Visas maybe required depending on citizenship.
You, your family & friends, your preferred date
Classic Inn to Inn: from $5450
This trip is only available in December and January for snowshoeing.