Walking Thru Japan:
Ancient Nakasendo

Classic Inn to Inn » 7 days » Moderate

Do you want to ?  ✦  Walk the pathways of ancient emperors  ✦  Bed down in traditional inns  ✦  Discover Japan's incredible cuisine  ✦  Get an insider's perspective on life in rural Japan  ✦  Immerse yourself in Japanese life

Japan's Nakasendo Way was the traditional route taken by emperors during the Edo Period, as they moved between Edo ( Tokyo ) and Kyoto. To serve the needs of the royal entourage small inns sprung up along its path, giving birth to japan's famed Ryokans. Today much of the path is still there for us to explore. Join us for a walk through history, discovering ancient villages and ryokans, enjoying regional Japanese cuisine, tasting Sake at a brewery. Discover a world of wonder in old Japan.

tours with an insider's perspective

your daily adventures

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.
Meals: L,D

Walk from Magome to Tsumago
Our journey along the Nakasendo Trail truly begins today with a 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.
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

Walk from Tsumago to Nojiri
The longest day on the trail is a beautiful and varied hike 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

Morning walk to Gongentaki Falls. Afternoon visit to local Sake Brewery
Today we’ll take a picturesque but short walk 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

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 hike 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

Walk from Narai to Kiso-Hirasawa
After breakfast, we’ll begin the short walk 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. Traveling first to Matsumoto, we will visit the renowned castle before connecting onwards to our destination Karuizawa.
Walking: 1.6 mi / 2.5 km, Terrain: flat, Meals: B L D

Onward travel to Tokyo
After breakfast we begin our journey back to Tokyo where our tour ends.
Meals: B

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details details

7 days / 6 nights
Fun: Walking
Sleep: Classic
Level: Leisurely
Avg Hike: ∽5 mi / 8 km
Share The Fun
Tour meets in Tokyo Japan ( HND or NRT ), fly in before 6 am on Day 1.

Tour ends in Tokyo Japan, fly out after noon on Day 7.
Most fight schedules require arriving the day before, hotel provided.

You Will Get
  • Expert local bilingual guides
  • Handpicked lodges, ensuite rooms, double occupancy
  • Daily breakfast, packed lunch
  • Dinners featuring fine local cuisine*
  • Train/bus transfer between Tokyo and trail
  • Limited baggage transfer
  • Sake tasting
  • Entrance fees
*as noted in itinerary

your booking

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scheduled dates

datepricesgl supdeposit 
27 Oct 21$5250$0$500BOOK
20 Apr 22$5475$0$550BOOK
26 Oct 22$5475$0$550BOOK

go with just your friends

Book a private departure for your family and friends. Travel sans souci.

Go Private for only $5575 per person for groups of four or more. Contact us for pricing on smaller parties. Book with confidence as dates can be changed if necessary without penalty or fees.

When To Go ?  The tour is available year round, with walking during most of the year and snow shoeing during the winter months. Spring ( March-May ) and fall ( Sept-Nov ) are the best months for walking. December & January for snowshoeing.

where you will sleep

Shinagawa Prince - Tokyo ( pretour ) Hanasarasa - Magome Daikichi Minshuku - Tsumago Komanoyu Ryokan - Kiso Iseya Minshuku - Narai Nakadanaso Ryokan - Karuizawa