Follow the foot steps of the feudal lords of Japan - Nakasendo and Kiso Valley

Osaka Prefecture, Japan

Changi Airport Terminal 1

This adventure is: #on the weekend, #tastebud tickling, #scenic

Osaka Prefecture: Follow the foot steps of the feudal lor...

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“Hi, it's u­­­s, Georg­i­n­a, Bri­tt­a, and ­Lee­ Lin­g­”

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Highlights

This walking trip follows the ancient Nakasendo Way through the Kiso Valley of central Japan and also reaches the high alpine Kaida Plateau. Our route takes us into a world far from the modern bustle of Japan’s megacities. We travel through some of the most picturesque and historical villages in the nation, stay in rural, family-run Japanese inns and relax in hot spring baths. Traditional Japanese meals are served, and because we are deep in the rural mountains of Japan, ingredients include many locally grown vegetables, forages from the surrounding mountains and fresh-water fish caught in the nearby streams and rivers.  Let's follow the foot steps of the ancient Japan's fuedal lords.

Highlights
- Hike from village to village walking on the loveliest parts of the old Nakasendo Trail
- Bathe in the thermal waters at a hot-spring (onsen) Ryokan
- See Matsumoto castle, one of Japan's best historic castles
- Visit the exquisitely-preserved villages of Magome, Tsumago and Narai that modern transport has no access
- Walk 5 days in the picturesque Kiso Valley and Karuizawa
- Hike country trails and quiet rural roads, with some moderate ascents and descents

We will begin our hike from Kiso Road section of the Nakasendo Way and follow this ancient road past paddy fields and quiet farmhouses to pleasant Magome post-town. We continue onto O-tsumago, for the classic hike over Magome Pass, through old forests and past pristine mountain streams.

Follow the foot steps of the feudal lords of Japan - Nakasendo and Kiso Valley starting at Osaka Prefecture, JapanA view from Tsumago post village where modern transportation can't reach, photo by James Faulkner licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Follow the foot steps of the feudal lords of Japan - Nakasendo and Kiso Valley starting at Osaka Prefecture, Japan
We will walk through Magome Pass and Forest, photo by Yue licensed under CC BY 2.0

We will walk 5.2 miles (8.3km) over the Magome Pass to the exquisitely preserved post town of Tsumago. Go back in time to the Edo Period (1603-1868) as you stroll through the village streets - cars aren't allowed on the main drag and electrical wires are carefully concealed. We will spend the night at a family-run bed and breakfast, or minshuku.

Follow the foot steps of the feudal lords of Japan - Nakasendo and Kiso Valley starting at Osaka Prefecture, JapanAn evening scenary ofTsumago Street, photo by James Faulkner licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

T
he next day we will continue to Nojiri.This will be the longest hike of the trip, hiking a beautiful section of trail from Tsumago to the post station of Nojiri. The 18km path snakes through valleys, past bamboo and cedar forests, offering some of the most unspoiled scenery of the trip. The walk should take around 6 hours.

Follow the foot steps of the feudal lords of Japan - Nakasendo and Kiso Valley starting at Osaka Prefecture, JapanRiver flowing along the path near to Magome, photo by Cliffano Subagio licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Follow the foot steps of the feudal lords of Japan - Nakasendo and Kiso Valley starting at Osaka Prefecture, Japan
A view of Kiso Valley, photo by DavideGorla licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

The next day will be a 2 to 3-hour 7km walk with an ascent of 632m.  The Torii Pass on a 3-hour hike through the forest to get to the village of Narai. This post station marks the center of the Nakasendo Trail.
Follow the foot steps of the feudal lords of Japan - Nakasendo and Kiso Valley starting at Osaka Prefecture, JapanNarai-juku the thirty-fourth of the sixty-nine stations of the Nakasendo, as well as the second of eleven stations along the Kisoji, photo by 663highland licensed under CC BY 2.5

After a night in Narai, we will wonder to the nearby town of Kiso-Hirasawa, then board the train to the towns of Karuizawa, stopping by the fascinating Matsumoto Castle. The castle is one of five castles designated as ‘National Treasures of Japan’ and the oldest castle donjon remaining in Japan.  The wooden interior of Matsumoto Castle provides an authentic experience unlike many other castles.

Follow the foot steps of the feudal lords of Japan - Nakasendo and Kiso Valley starting at Osaka Prefecture, JapanMatsumoto Castle, the ‘National Treasures of Japan'

Our final stretch of the Nakasendo Trail will take us from Karuizawa to Yokokawa. We will hike over the high plateaus of the Usui-toge Pass then to a gentle descent to one of the most pristine parts of the trail. Enjoying the gorgeous mountain views along this 16km 6-hour long trek.

Follow the foot steps of the feudal lords of Japan - Nakasendo and Kiso Valley starting at Osaka Prefecture, JapanScene of high plateaus Usui-toge Pass

Follow the foot steps of the feudal lords of Japan - Nakasendo and Kiso Valley starting at Osaka Prefecture, JapanWaterfalls along the gentle descent

Follow the foot steps of the feudal lords of Japan - Nakasendo and Kiso Valley starting at Osaka Prefecture, JapanShiraito Falls in Karuizawa, photo by Reginald Pentinio licensed under CC BY 2.0

After our 5 days hike, we will head to Tokyo for 1 day and experience the other side of Tokyo that most tourists won't know about, that is best experience by getting a local to show us around.  After which we will leave for home.

Note:

Please take note this hike will be done on summer and autumn, therefore some photos are of different seasons, we should not expect a summer scene when we are hiking in autumn and vice versa.