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 Ancient Trails of Nakasendo 

TOUR COST from AUD2,145.00** Per Person Twin Share

Day 1: Arrival in Tsumago


Start the journey through Nakasendo in Kiso Valley, one of the “Five Routes” that branched off the former capital Edo and was controlled by the Tokugawa Shogunate from the 8th century.

The short bullet train ride from Kyoto to Nagoya is then followed by the scenic journey on the limited express train Wide View.


Upon arrival in Magome, small carry-on bags can be delivered to any accommodation in Tsumago through the tourist information center (08:30-11:30, from 21st March to 30th November).


The trail that runs from Magome to Tsumago is perhaps the most popular section of Nakasendo. Exit Nakatsugawa Station and catch the local bus to Magome, one of the post towns that flourished in the Edo Period. From Magome Bus Stop to Tsumago, the ancient trail can be completed in about 3 hours, including some quick breaks (i.e. restroom, tea/coffee).


Around 2 hours in, emerge to the well-preserved post town of Tsumago. Just like Magome, Tsumago was in its Golden Era during the time when merchants and other noble and prominent people frequently passed through for trade and other formal appointments. In the latter part of 1970, this small town was classified as a Nationally Designated Architectural Preservation Site, thanks to the collective effort of its locals to preserve most of the remaining historical buildings.


Overnight in Tsumago


Distance and journey time (approximation):

Kyoto Station to Nakatsugawa Station: 2 h

Nakatsugawa Station to Magome Bus Stop: 30 min



Start (guided tour): upon arrival at Nakatsugawa Station

Duration: 4 h

*including pick-up/drop-off and transit times


Trekking information (approximation):

Magome-juku to Magome-toge Pass: 2.2 km; 60 min

Magome-toge Pass to Otaki & Metaki Falls: 2.5 km; 50 min

Metaki Falls to Tsumago-juku: 3.3 km; 60 min

Elevation change (approximation):

Magome-juku (beginning of the trail): at 620 m

Magome-toge Pass: at 801 m

Tsumago-juku (latter part of the trail): at 430 m

Day 2: Tsumago – Kiso-Fukushima


After an early breakfast, head out to Midono-juku, the 41st of the 69 post towns of Nakasendo. It is said that the name of the post town was derived from the old Japanese term for “palace” as there used to be a mansion here, which presumably burned down from the huge fire that 

destroyed the village in 1881.


The present-day Midono is more modern than Tsumago, but the 6-kilometer trail between these two towns promises some of the best sceneries in Nakasendo (for the option of skipping this trail, please see notes).


The highlight of today’s trekking is between the post towns of Midono and Nojiri, a 15-kilometer-long stretch that can be completed in about 5 hours.


From Nagiso Station, head northward to Midono-juku and Tokaku-ji Temple. There are several different approaches to these places, with one that follows a couple of slowly ascending slopes along narrow paved roads, passing through a small forested trail and then emerging to a tiny village.


With the temple on the right, continue forward, following the upward slope in the middle of rice fields. The rest of the trail is mainly along alternating roads – wide, well-paved roads for vehicles and trucks; narrow streets lined with private homes; and dirt paths leading to small forests.


Around 2 hours in, arrive at a resting area called Matsubara O-koyasumijo. Continue along the trail and pass by a small temple called Amidado. After around 15 minutes, cross the white-fenced Rankan-bashi Bridge, which used to be a grand structure during the Edo Period. The trail that leads from the bridge to Nojiri-juku is mainly downhill and along a dirt road that passes through the forest.


From Nojiri Station, catch the local train to Kiso-Fukushima, another post town that was known for having one of the only two barrier stations in Nakasendo.


Overnight in Kiso-Fukushima



Tsumago Bus Stop to Nagiso Station (by local bus): ETD 07:44; travel time 9-10 min

Nagiso Station to Midono-juku: 1.5 km; 30 min



Start (guided tour): 07:30

Duration: 8 h

*including pick-up/drop-off and transit times


Trekking information (approximation):

Tsumago-juku to Midono-juku: 5 km; 1 h

Midono-juku to Matsubara resting area: 6.2 km; 2 h

Rankan Bridge to Nojiri Station: 5.5 km; 2 h


Elevation change (approximation):

Nagiso Station: at 400 m

Midono-juku: at 435 m

Matsubara O-koyasumijo: at 660 m

Amidado Temple: at 690 m

*Highest elevation: 848 m

Day 3: Kiso-Fukushima – Narai, Depart for Matsumoto


Take an optional stroll around Kiso-Fukushima after an early breakfast. Afterwards, catch the local train to Yabuhara, the starting point of the nature and ancient trail between Yabuhara-juku and Narai-juku, which used to be the most dangerous path in Nakasendo.

Facing Yabuhara Station, follow the paved road on the right, continuing onwards until reaching a small park. Walk on the path that goes through the park and onto the other side of the railway. Continue walking northward until reaching a two-way street; turn left on the small paved road between some tombstones on the left and rice fields on the right.


Upon reaching the end of the narrow street, follow the ascending slope on the right, making a soft turn along some stone monuments. Continue walking forward for about 5 minutes and then turn right on a small parking area of a local inn and through a narrow alley. At the end of the street is a short tunnel that leads to a wider paved road. Have the option to trace back and walk up the slope on the right to visit Yabuhara Shrine and Gokuraku-ji Temple.


Walk back and follow the paved road, making right turns in all upward slopes, until reaching a small forest of cedar trees (right side; there is a restroom behind the trees). Cross the road and walk up the slope that leads to the forested mountain (English signage at the corner of the street). From the entrance all the way to Otake Shrine and its torii gate, the trail is constantly uphill reaching an elevation of up to 160 m.


The trail from this point to Narai is mainly downhill. There are some signage along the way (note: the trail that leads up to an observation deck is a dead end and no views). From the foot of the mountain, emerge into a wide paved road that leads to the post town of Narai-juku. Along the way, pass by Joryu-ji Temple, which used to be the praying grounds for ancient hikers who asked for protection and health before climbing the mountains.


From Narai Station, catch the local train to Matsumoto, a small town known for its castle and surrounding rice fields, vineyards, and wasabi farms.


Distance and journey time (approximation):

Kiso-Fukushima Station to Yabuhara Station: 15 min

Narai Station to Matsumoto Station: 45 min



Start (guided tour): 10:00

Duration: 6 h

*including pick-up/drop-off and transit times


Trekking information (approximation):

Yabuhara Sta. to entrance to the trail: 1.8 km; 40 min

Entrance to the trail to Ontake Shrine: 1.5 km; 55 min

Ontake Shrine to temple: 3 km; 1.5 h

Elevation change (approximation):

Yabuhara Sta.: at 10 m

Entrance to the trail: up 40 m

Maruyama Park (before Ontake Shrine): up 160 m

Ontake Shrine: down 20 m *one last climb up 150-160 m

Temple and Narai-juku: down 90-30 m

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TOUR PRICES :  FROM AUD2,145.00 per person

Pricing Notes:

  • Japan experiences dramatic pricing fluctuations based on Festivals, Domestic holidays and in some instances on weekends. Please consult with your Travel Consultant for exact pricing over a specific date. Reservations during weekends, peak season, and Japanese public holidays will be subject to supplementary charges.


  • Notes:

  • As there are not much forwarding services in Nakasendo that can deliver the luggage on the same day, it is highly recommended to pack light (enough for 2 nights). The rest of the luggage can be sent from Kyoto to Matsumoto (please see notes on luggage forwarding).

  • For safety reasons, some public transport may stop operating in case of unfavorable weather conditions.

  • Please inform your Travel Consultant of any special dietary requirements and/or physical conditions that you may have.

Package includes
  • Hotel accommodation in twin room with daily breakfast (for ryokan, minshuku, and other traditional accommodation, rooms are Japanese-style with futon and meals are half board)

  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)

  • PASMO Card for local transportation with 1,500 JPY worth of credits

  • (Note: The pre-charged credit is enough to travel from Narai to Matsumoto via local train. Clients are free to further charge their card should they wish to make use of it during self-guided days).

  • Train tickets from Kyoto to Nakatsugawa (reserved seats, ordinary class)

  • English-speaking guide in Nakasendo from Days 1 to 3 (supplementary charges apply for other languages)

  • All entrance fees and public transportation fees as mentioned in the itinerary

  • Information pack

NOT Included in the tour prices
  • International and domestic flights (quoted separately)

  • Some local transport

  • Meals other than mentioned above

  • Personal expenses (e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone, and other expenditures of a personal nature)

  • Travel insurance (please ask your Aussienet Travel representative to quote a travel insurance policy)

  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above


  • Baggage handling is not included in the above rates, but Japan has a fabulous luggage forwarding service which you can use to send your luggage to your next destination. It will take between 24 and 72 hours to get the luggage to the next point so we recommend preparing an overnight bag when using this service. Luggage can be sent between any two points in Japan and the bell desks or receptions at your hotel will be happy to assist you with arranging this luggage transfer.



  • We strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance (covering emergency medical evacuation).

  • Rooms at hotels are available only from 15:00 on arrival day till 10:00 on departure date. A supplement will be added if early check-in or late check-out is desired.

  • Please note that all of the above services and tours have yet to be booked. They are proposed for your information only and we will not make any reservations before we receive your confirmation to do so.

  • If one or some proposed service(s) is (are) not available at the time of booking, we will try to find other possibilities/options or other similar service(s) in order to avoid changes to the program.

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